Introduction - working as an ESL teacher in Saudi Arabia
Teaching English in Saudi Arabia offers you the chance to live in one of the world's wealthiest countries, in the centre of the Middle East. The culture of the middle east is radically different to anything the average westerner has experienced and can be at the same time compelling and daunting. Places such as Saudi Arabia, Dubai and Bahrain are becoming more westernised and have quite large expat communities. One thing is for sure: even in Saudi Arabia, which is quite well developed, you will still experience cultural shock when you first arrive.
Over the years, Saudi Arabia has opened its doors to the western world, especially in terms of business, and this has resulted in an influx of English teachers as companies and indivuduals try to develop themselves further. Schools, universities and companies all employ teachers to fulfil their needs and large recruitment campaigns are quite common. Salaries can be very attractive, and even an averagely-paid TEFL teacher can save money easily. Certified teachers can earn between $3000 and $4000 a month, tax free.
However, there is is generally less support offered to teachers than elsewhere and so you need to be quite strong and independent if you want to succeeed as an ESL teacher in Saudi.
Supply and demand
The demand for experienced ESL teachers in Saudi Arabia typically outstrips supply. This is largely due to the different culture, fear of punishments under sharia law and a wide range of generally inaccurate preconceptions. Although you will need to adapt to life there, it is a worthwhile experience.
If you are a confident teacher and can ignore the media scare stories, you may well find you love living and working in Saudi Arabia.
Qualifications and visas
To get a good job you will require a degree and TEFL certification, and a visa is obligatory. If you find a job, your employer will usually deal with the visa burocracy for you.
Becoming an ESL Teacher
Teaching English Abroad
- A guide to Teaching English in Brazil
- A guide to Teaching English in China
- A guide to Teaching English in India
- A guide to Teaching English in Italy
- A guide to Teaching English in Japan
- A guide to Teaching English in Saudi Arabia
- A guide to Teaching English in Spain
- A guide to Teaching English in Taiwan
- A guide to Teaching English in Vietnam