Got A Teaching Job In The Middle East? Read This First


So you’ve landed a teaching job abroad in the Middle East? Congratulations, The Middle East is an intriguing region offering a unique insight into the academic world, but it comes with its own set of rules and regulations. Here we take a look at some of the most important matters to consider after you get a teaching job in the middle east.

How should I pack?

Congratulations, You’ve just landed a teaching job in the Middle East. This is an exciting time, but it can also be a bit daunting. You need to think about how to pack your bags, what to do with your house or car back home, and how you’re going to get by while you’re there.

The good news is that teachers have been making this transition for years. Here are some tips that’ll help ensure that your move goes smoothly.

How should I pack?

First of all, don’t panic. It’s natural to feel overwhelmed by the task of packing up your life and moving overseas. But take a deep breath, and remember: you can buy anything that you forget over there.

The best way to approach this task is one step at a time. Start with the essentials and work from there. Make a list of things you use every single day, such as:

  • Toothbrush/toothpaste
  • Face wash/moisturizer/makeup
  • Shampoo/conditioner/hairbrush
  • Glasses/contacts/contact solution (don’t forget extra contacts if you wear disposable ones)
  • Deodorant/razor
  • Medications (including birth control)

What type of visa do I need?

If you are coming to the Middle East as a teacher, you will most likely be coming on a work visa. This is sometimes called a professional visa. To get this type of visa, you will need a bachelor’s degree, at least two years of teaching experience and usually a teaching certificate (TESOL, CELTA or TEFL).

You may also need to apply for a residency permit (iqama) once you arrive in your host country. The iqama is sometimes called an ID card. It will give you permission to stay in the country for one year and is renewed each year. In some countries, teachers are allowed to bring their family with them and receive an iqama for their spouse and children, too. In other countries, it may be more difficult for your family to get an iqama. Be sure to check with your employer about this before accepting a job in the Middle East.

What vaccinations do I need?

You must have Covid 19 vaccine before traveling to the Middle east. Also, it is better to have Hepatitis A and B which can make your life miserable if you get them. They’re both very common in this part of the world, so we recommend getting both shots. We also recommend getting typhoid shots if you plan on staying for more than a year. You’ll find all these vaccines at your local travel clinic or physician.

Should I bring a lot of luggage or just carry on?

The best advice we can give is to travel with just one carry on bag until you see where you’ll be living and shopping. Once you know the lay of the land, you can find out what items aren’t available locally and bring them from home or order them online. We recommend having a small bag of essentials, such as toiletries, in your carry on luggage, just in case your checked bag gets delayed on arrival.

How long will it take to process my work permit?

Once you have accepted your job offer, and signed your contract, your school will begin the process of applying for a work permit. This usually takes between 1 – 3 months, depending on the country.

If it’s been longer than 3 months since you signed your contract and the paperwork isn’t moving along quickly enough for you, contact your school directly and ask about progress. They may need more information from you that could be holding things up.

Can I fly back home during the school year?

Yes, if your school allows it. Most do, but some don’t. If they don’t, then you can only go home when they give you time off. This is usually 2-4 weeks in the summer, 2-4 weeks at Christmas time and 2-4 weeks for spring break. Some schools will also allow you to take leave in case of an emergency and even paid leave after two consecutive years of employment. So make sure to ask about this before you sign your contract.

How much will my monthly paycheck be?

Middle east teaching jobs pay well. The average salary of a teacher falls between 2500 USD to 5000 USD per month, depending on the institution. This amount is more than enough to cover living expenses and other necessities. In fact, since most schools shoulder your housing and transportation costs, you will be able to save a big chunk of your paycheck every month.

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