Updated 2012-05-15 14:33

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A TEFL job in the United Arab Emirates is a fantastic way to live overseas and get paid to travel the world! There are lots of good deals with local airlines (e.g. Emirates, Fly Dubai, Air Arabia, Etihad etc) to travel to the nearest places. As for me, having worked in the UAE for about 3 years, I have travelled to Maldives, Sri Lanka, Africa, Lebanon, Iran, Nepal, Thailand, Oman, Qatar, Yemen and other places.. Working as the EFL teacher in the UAE you can easily afford it and many other things! You can live a decent life just remember to observe the rules not to get into trouble (as it is also possible..).

Teachers interested in working in Abu Dhabi must be licensed to teach in their country. As the highest salaries are in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, not surprisingly, jobs in these Emirates tend to require higher than average qualifications 'MA, TEFL Certificate and a substantial work experience.


Abu Dhabi is the capital of the United Arab Emirates and is one of the most exciting, fastest developing cities in the world! The capital city of Abu Dhabi offers residents and visitors diverse lifestyles options as Abu Dhabi has evolved into a millennium standard metropolis that continues to grow in every sector continuously.

The culture may be the biggest aspect to be aware of and adapt to for many teachers. Many of the expatriates experience a culture shock having moved to the UAE. Adapting to completely different culture is not that easy as many things could seem unfair or just not right. Therefore, being open-minded and tolerant is certainly a must. However, if you cope with that, then you will be rewarded! Teaching in Abu Dhabi and the UAE can be one of the most challenging experiences you will have! You will definitely enjoy it!

Whilst it's true that the UAE is an Islamic country, it's relatively tolerant so you won't be expected to cover up completely. During Ramadan, it would be appropriate to dress more conservatively.

The Code of Conduct is not just a paragraph in your employment contract, you should really observe the rules, otherwise misconduct can become the reason of the termination of your employment if we talk about the UAE. Appropriate dress code, tolerance to the culture and its rules are vital in the Emirates.


Men should always show respect to women, general courtesy should be applied. '¢ Men should never visit, attend or go to places that are marked 'For Ladies Only'.
'¢ As a male, do not stare at or compliment females.
'¢ Do not enter an elevator if you are a male and a single female is inside.
'¢ Men can shake hand while greeting with a male, but never with a female, unless she offers her hand first. Females usually also shake hand between themselves.
'¢ Keep in mind that the concept of personal space is different than in the West. A man should not be surprised if he is touched, hugged or kissed by other men. Although this concept does not apply to male'female relation, and any public physical contact between the two should be avoided!
'¢ Remember that holding hands by two men is a sign of brotherly bonding, not that of a homosexual tendencies. Friends of the same sex kissing on the cheek, doing 'nose kissing' or hugging in public is normal, it is a sign of friendship.
'¢ Bear in mind that people of different sex should never kiss in public. It is socially unaccepted and also against the UAE law.
'¢ Remember that sexual relations outside of marriage are illegal and carry a prison sentence.
'¢ Do not comment or criticize Islam, ruling families, local dress or traditions of the local people.
'¢ Try not to express admiration for another person's possessions as an owner may offer this item to you. This situation may oblige you to present something in return.
'¢ Do not point the sole of your foot in the direction of an Arab, or other Asian for that matter. The foot is considered dirty and this gesture is highly offensive.
'¢ Do not turn your back on someone who is speaking to you. It is seen as rude.
'¢ Do not swear in public and do not show any threatening gestures, especially your middle finger, as it is punishable by law.
'¢ Do not lose your patience or temper in front of an Arab; it is a sign of being rude and of a weak character.
'¢ A hand signal such as fingers joined together with a thumb means 'wait a minute', or it can also be a sign of impatience.
'¢ Remember to touch, pass or accept anything only with your right hand. The left hand is considered dirty. Also, eat with the right hand only.
'¢ Accept hospitality by accepting offers of drink or food. Leave a little food on your plate if you are a guest, as a sign that you had enough.
'¢ Remove your shoes when entering an Arab house.
'¢ Remember that after the meal, if coffee is served it is a sign that it is time to go.
'¢ Do not enter a mosque and do not touch the Qur'an if you are not a Muslim.
'¢ In case you are allowed to enter a mosque (two mosques in the UAE are open to the public), you should attend in proper clothing. Long sleeves and trousers are appropriate for a man. Women should be completely covered including their hair.
'¢ Do not eat, drink and smoke in public in the day time during Ramadan.
'¢ While on the public beach, all swimmers should wear conservative swimwear. Topless and bikinis are not proper. Never wear swimwear in streets or other public places.
'¢ Dress code: both women and men should refrain from wearing very short pants in public. Women should not wear any shorts or skirts that are above the knee. Do not wear clothing that exposes stomach, shoulders or back, or is tight and transparent.


In contrast to other regions, It is relatively rare to conduct a job search in person in many parts of the Middle East. My advice advise would be to apply online and find the suitable position before moving.
The first thing you are going to need if you are moving to the UAE is a residence visa, if you are not a GCC national. If you got the contract, your company should have your visa application sent to the airport at the time of your arrival. If so, they will stamp a residency visa in your passport. If you are planning to bring your family members to live with you, then you will need to get a family residence visa. This visa will allow you to sponsor your spouse, children, and parents, if they are coming with you. All applicants must also provide a criminal background check.


Having taught Emirati Soldiers and Navy Cadets I cannot imagine the better job! These students are the best: they are disciplined and motivated to learn! Although getting into the Military Sector is not that easy. Usually universities have subcontracts with the Military, so to get this position you need to apply directly to the University at first. Abu Dhabi University, Zayed University, Veti and HCT are the ones to consider if you choose to get into Military.


In the UAE it is common for housing to be included as part of the package. You can be given a housing allowance if you choose to rent your own living place.Generally, new expats receive a furniture and relocation allowances upon arrival. However, UAE employers tend to hire single men and women as the housing they provide is often shared unless you both are employed by the same company or they really want you and are willing to sponsor your family. You can be placed in the Villa Compound featuring a common kitchen and a living room and a separate room with the en-suite bathroom for yourself.

Be aware that unmarried couples are not allowed to live together by law and women are usually separated from men if we talk about accommodation. It is also unusual to have mixed classes in your educational institution, usually you will find a women's and men's flow.

Good teaching positions pay around 15.000-20.000 Dhs monthly. Medical care is typically paid by your employer. If we talk about the medical care, I must admit that it is of a very high standard.


If you have a driver's license from countries in America, Europe, a few other countries, you can easily transfer there driver's license to a UAE driver's license.


Cars and Taxis are the main forms of transport in the UAE. It is possible to rent a car on a weekly or monthly basis. It is easily affordable with a salary of a teacher/p>

Teacher's job is of a high respect in the UAE. Therefore, you are well paid and can afford all the life joys and even have some money saved.

Saving is possible because many expenditures are covered. Commuting to and from work is usually provided and in some institutions you can even have free meals. One more important thing is that THERE ARE NO TAXES in the UAE!!! However, saving money will mean not spending it on all the joys around...


How they usually look like

One of my favourite students

Navy Cadets


The University I worked for - highly recommended


The University I started with


The best place to work in


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