Your new international teaching role

Settling into your new role in an international school

Embarking on your first teaching adventure abroad is both thrilling and nerve-wracking.

Here are some valuable tips to help you navigate the transition smoothly and make the most of your exciting experience!

Preparation is key

Even before you board the plane, take time to research and get to know your international school’s country. It’s invaluable to study its culture, customs, and local norms. This will not only make you feel more confident upon arrival but also help you avoid unintentional cultural missteps.

While fluency in the local language might not be necessary, knowing a few key phrases can go a long way in building connections and showing respect to your new community.

Do gather all necessary documents such as your professional qualifications, passport, visa, work permits, and any other required paperwork well in advance a some may need to be certified in advance and this will take time. Finally, do also keep both physical and digital copies in a secure location.

When securing an international teaching position with an agency your accommodation will be a significant part of the package and knowing where you are setting up your new life will ease your initial transition. It is important before arriving in country that you know there is safe and comfortable place to stay to help you adjust to your new surroundings.

Try to engage in community events, join social groups, and attend networking gatherings to meet new people. A trusted international teacher recruitment agency will signpost a support system, whether with fellow expatriates or knowledge of the school’s onboarding system to give you a confident start for work life balance.

Teaching abroad offers opportunities to embrace cultural differences. It’s important to approach these experiences  with an open mind and be willing to learn from the new environment and adapt to local customs. Remember, your openness will help you connect with your students and colleagues.

Now let’s turn to the key reason why you are there – to thrive in the classroom! It’s important to familiarize yourself with the curriculum, teaching methods, and classroom expectations of your new school. This understanding will help you deliver effective lessons and connect with your students. Furthermore it will support the development of positive relationships with your students, colleagues, and administrators and create a welcoming and inclusive classroom environment that will set the tone for a successful teaching experience.

Being away from family and the challenges of teaching abroad can be demanding and self-care must be a priority. It is advisable to engage in activities you enjoy, maintain a healthy work-life balance, and seek support if you’re feeling overwhelmed. Stay healthy by taking care of your physical well-being, eating nutritious meals, staying active, and getting enough sleep. Familiarize yourself with local healthcare options as well.

This is an important time to keep a journal or blog to chronicle your experiences as the time will go so quickly and the challenges and triumphs will not only serve as a personal keepsake, but it could also inspire others who are considering teaching abroad.

Finally, teaching abroad for the first time is a unique opportunity for personal and professional growth. By preparing thoroughly, embracing cultural differences, connecting with your community, and focusing on your well-being, you can make the most of this transformative experience.

FAQ’s from International Teachers
  1.  Do I need to be fluent in the local language to teach abroad? While fluency is beneficial, many international schools offer programs in English. Learning some basic phrases will be helpful, but you can still succeed without complete fluency.
  2. How can I overcome homesickness while teaching abroad? Stay connected with loved ones through video calls and social media. Engage in local activities, make new friends, and give yourself time to adapt to your new environment.
  3. What’s the best way to immerse myself in the local culture? Participate in cultural events, try local foods, and engage in community activities. Building relationships with locals will provide you with insights into their way of life.
  4. How can I handle the challenges of a different education system? Attend professional development sessions offered by your school, seek guidance from experienced colleagues, and maintain an open dialogue with your students and administrators.
  5. What resources are available for handling unexpected situations abroad? Familiarize yourself with the nearest embassy or consulate, have emergency contacts saved, and learn about local emergency services. Your school’s administrative staff can also provide guidance in case of unexpected situations.

Teaching abroad is a remarkable journey of cultural exchange and personal development. By approaching it with curiosity, flexibility, and a willingness to learn, you’ll not only excel in the classroom but also create lasting memories that will shape your teaching career.



Introducing our international teacher recruitment team

Compass Education was first founded in 2011 by Tom Arnold, and through his vision, quickly became a leading international teacher recruitment agency. Today, we remain a small, family-run business that gets to know our clients and candidates to ensure that we continue to deliver outstanding service.

With that in mind, it seems only fair, that you get the opportunity to get to know us too. In this blog, we will introduce our consultants, so you can learn a little about the team working hard on your behalf.

Name: Kathryn Kirk

Role: Director (& Owner)

How long have you been working with Compass?  2 years

What are your primary responsibilities? Managing the day-to-day running of Compass

What is your preferred method of communication (e.g., email, in-person, video call)? Video Call

What is one thing you hope to achieve as part of this team? I want to grow the team further and build on the excellent foundations already in place, whilst supporting the team as best I can. 

What is the greatest tip you can give to applicants that want to teach abroad? Research, research, research! Be as clear as you can about your expectations and ambitions, and follow your dreams! 

What is your favourite thing about your job? Interacting with schools and candidates and supporting them. Listening to the consultants report back on their work, and seeing the progress we make as a team.

Outside of work, I love spending time with my family, travelling and walking my dog. I am definitely more of a morning person, and to unwind I tend to put on my running shoes. I take my running quite seriously these days, and you will often find me training for a triathlon. 

I am a strong believer that life is a journey and not a destination, and my favourite quote is: “Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.” – Maya Angelou. 

Name: Heather Thompson

Role: Recruitment Consultant

How long have you been working with Compass?  8 years

What are your primary responsibilities? The recruitment of excellent international teachers

What is your preferred method of communication (e.g., email, in-person, video call)? Video Call

What is one thing you hope to achieve as part of this team? I hope that my experience both as a recruitment specialist and also as someone that has relocated many times can benefit others. My husband is an international headteacher, so I have a wealth of relevant knowledge and help to impart.

What is the greatest tip you can give to applicants that want to teach abroad? Be open-minded and flexible. 

What is your favourite thing about your job? Placing someone in a job they are thrilled to have been offered. 

I am another morning person, who loves spending time with my family and walking the dog. To unwind, you often find me cycling or tinkering in the garden. I also love meeting friends and new people, which bodes well for my line of work.

Name: Honoria Arnold

Role: Administrative Consultant

How long have you been working with Compass?  13 years

What are your primary responsibilities? I am first in line when responding to candidate registration. This usually involves screening newly registered candidates, maintaining the candidate database, uploading new job adverts and maintaining the vacancy website.

What is your preferred method of communication (e.g., email, in-person, video call)? Video Call

What is one thing you hope to achieve as part of this team? My main goal is maintaining an excellent database, to help the recruitment team match the right candidates with the right international teaching jobs.

What is the greatest tip you can give to applicants that want to teach abroad? Seize the opportunity of a position that suits you and your profile.

What is your favourite thing about your job? Being involved in helping dreams come true.

A fun fact about me, that not many know, is that a photo of me was featured in the Beatles Museum in Liverpool. To find out why, you will have to register! To unwind after a busy day or recruitment season, I will often snuggle up and watch a good murder mystery. Always open to a recommendation or two. The motto that drives me is: “To do little things well.”

Name: Nicola Hemingway

Role: Senior Consultant

How long have you been working with Compass?  A year (in September)

What are your primary responsibilities? Recruiting brilliant international educators, and developing teacher & leadership recruitment.

What is your preferred method of communication (e.g., email, in-person, video call)? Video Call

What is one thing you hope to achieve as part of this team? To be able to work together to support international schools, their teachers and their leaders build the best educational teams possible. 

What is the greatest tip you can give to applicants that want to teach abroad? Take time at the start of the search, to look into locations and the differing types of schools available. This is where an education consultant can be invaluable as they will be able to provide you with the information needed to support you in making the decision that is right for you and your career and life aspirations.

What is your favourite thing about your job? Hearing updates from candidates about how much they are enjoying their new careers and country.

I am definitely a morning person, especially in the summertime. Outside of work, I particularly enjoy travel and cookery and especially enjoy combining the two and learning about a country via their local food! The quote that motivates me is from Jane Goodall – “What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.”

We work very closely with international schools and international teachers and leaders. For our clients, which include some of the best international schools in the world, we work alongside you, to best understand your needs and provide you with the best-fit teachers and leaders.  For our candidates, we take pride in dedicating as much time as possible to supporting you on your international teaching journey and finding the right role for you, in the right school.

As a leading education recruitment consultancy, Compass has been successfully supporting international schools since 2011. With a wealth of experience in education and recruitment, our dedicated team of consultants ensures that we meet the challenges of fast-paced teacher recruitment and navigate the intricacies of leadership appointments. 

Get in touch, if you would like to work with us.

We would love to hear from you.


Tips for tackling the international school job application

Your curriculum vitae or resume is most likely to be the first impression you make on potential employers, so when applying for an international school job, it is essential that it showcases your skills, experience, and qualifications in the best possible light. But with so many job seekers vying for the same positions, it can be challenging to stand out from the crowd. That’s why in this blog, we’ll be sharing some essential tips and tricks to help you improve your resume and increase your chances of landing your dream job. Whether you’re just starting your career or looking to take the next step, these tips will help you create a resume that gets noticed and sets you apart from other applicants. So, let’s dive in and learn how to make your resume shine!

As a teacher applying to international schools, there are several key items you should include in your resume to make it appealing to potential employers. Here are some suggestions:

Professional experience

Start with your professional experience, which should be listed in reverse chronological order (most recent job first). Include your job title, the name of the school or organisation you worked for, the dates of employment, and a brief description of your duties and accomplishments.

Educational background

List your highest degree earned and any other relevant coursework or certifications. If you have any specialised training or certifications, be sure to mention them here.

Languages spoken

In the international school community, being able to communicate in multiple languages is often seen as a valuable asset. Make sure to include any languages you speak fluently or at a conversational level.

Teaching Philosophy 

Many international schools are looking for teachers who are passionate about teaching and have a strong teaching philosophy. Include a brief statement about your teaching philosophy and what you believe are the most important aspects of teaching.

Experience teaching international curricula 

If you have experience teaching international curricula such as the International Baccalaureate (IB), Advanced Placement (AP), or Cambridge International Examinations (CIE), be sure to highlight this experience in your resume.

Technology skills

In today’s increasingly digital world, international schools are looking for teachers who are comfortable using technology in the classroom. Make sure to highlight any technology skills or experience you have, such as using educational software or online learning platforms.

Cross-cultural experience 

International schools value teachers who have experience working in cross-cultural settings. If you have lived or worked abroad, have experience teaching students from diverse cultural backgrounds, or have experience of immersing yourself in other cultures on home soil – be sure to mention this in your resume.

Professional development

Show that you are committed to continuous learning and improvement by listing any professional development courses or workshops you have attended, whether these are through your current job or under your own initiative. This will demonstrate that you are willing to adapt to new teaching methods and stay up-to-date with the latest trends in education.

Community spirit

Hiring managers at international schools are looking for applicants that will be able to settle into life in a new host country, teaching abroad is not for everyone, so don’t be shy about hobbies that might help you integrate with the wider community. 

Once you have your framework, and are happy with the content, there are two more things to consider. 

  • Have you tailored it to the school in question? 

If you really want a role, you must be prepared to show it in your application. Reflect the school’s own language in your resume and covering letter, ensure that your teaching philosophy aligns with theirs, demonstrate your experience with their curricula, show an interest in the culture of the host country. Speak directly to your future Headteacher. 

  • Check your spelling and grammar.

There is nothing more infuriating for a hiring manager, then finding a candidate that has all of the appropriate experience, on a resume littered with obvious mistakes. You can ask a trusted friend or colleague to check it for you, or you can turn to one of the many tools available online instead: Grammarly, Language Tool, or Microsoft Word to name but a few.  

Your resume is the most important tool you have in your toolkit, particularly in the early stages of your job search. It’s your chance to showcase your skills, experience, and accomplishments, and to make a strong first impression with potential schools. They will also refer back to it throughout the interview process, so take your time to get it right. By following the tips and strategies outlined in this blog, you can improve your resume and increase your chances of landing your dream job teaching abroad. Remember to tailor your resume to each job you apply for, highlight your most relevant skills and experiences, and use clear and concise language to make your resume stand out. With a well-crafted resume and a commitment to continuous improvement, you can take your career to the next level and achieve your professional goals.

Don’t forget, the team here at Compass are here to help. If you are a qualified teacher who is interested in teaching abroad, then get in touch, we would love to hear from you. 

We would love to hear from you.


Living and teaching in Milan

Milan is a vibrant city located in the northern part of Italy and is the capital of the Lombardy region. With relatively inexpensive and direct flights readily available from the UK through multiple airlines, Milan’s easy-to-reach location is one of the many features of this city that appeals to international teachers. 

Milan is a major economic hub and a centre for industries such as fashion, design, finance, technology, and media. The city provides a wealth of job opportunities, particularly for those in creative fields, making it an appealing destination for expatriates. As a result, there are a number of international schools catering to the educational needs of expatriate families.

Teaching abroad in Milan can be a rewarding and enriching experience provided you find a school that is right for you. International schools in Milan cater to a diverse community of expatriates, offering a variety of curricula such as British, American, and International Baccalaureate (IB). Remember, each international school is unique, so it’s important to thoroughly research and connect with the specific school you are considering to gain insights from current or former teachers.

International schools in Milan typically offer a range of benefits and support to their teachers. While the specific offerings can vary between schools, competitive salaries that are commensurate with the teacher’s qualifications and experience should be expected. Occasionally, the salary packages may also include additional benefits such as transportation allowance, and health insurance.

As an international teacher, it is also fair to expect support in settling into your new environment. That may be through a cultural integration programme, mentorship or buddy programme, and/or a well-integrated school community. If this is your first international teaching post, it should be reassuring to learn that a good international school understand the challenges that teachers may face when adjusting to a new cultural environment, and make every effort to welcome you appropriately.

Through a professional lens, the international schools that we work with, provide teachers with access to well-equipped classrooms, teaching resources, and professional development opportunities. All with the central ambition of delivering high-quality instruction and engaging students effectively. 

In fact, Milan is a hub for many educational conferences, workshops, and professional development opportunities. As a teacher, you may have access to these events to further enhance your teaching skills and stay up to date with educational trends.

Outside of school

Expats can take advantage of the city’s excellent transportation links to explore neighbouring countries, visit surrounding beauty spots, or take short trips to popular cities like Venice, Florence, and the Swiss Alps. Milan’s central location in northern Italy allows for easy access to other European destinations. 

But there is plenty to see and do around the city too. Milan is in close proximity to several beautiful lakes, such as Lake Como, Lake Maggiore, and Lake Garda. These lakes offer stunning natural scenery, water sports, and leisure activities. They are popular destinations for locals, expats, and tourists. To the north of Milan, the landscape transitions into the Italian Alps. While not directly part of the city’s geography, the proximity of the Alps provides easy access to breathtaking mountain scenery, hiking, skiing, and other outdoor pursuits. If you like open green spaces but don’t want to travel too far, the city itself has plenty of parks providing residents with recreational spaces and opportunities for relaxation amidst the urban environment.

The city is also home to iconic landmarks such as the magnificent Duomo di Milano, La Scala Opera House, and numerous museums and art galleries. It offers a lively cultural scene with fashion events, design exhibitions, and artistic festivals, attracting those with an appreciation for art and culture. Expats with an interest in fashion and luxury find the city particularly appealing, with a plethora of high-end boutiques, designer stores, and fashion districts to explore.

Italy is, of course, famous for its cuisine, and Milan is no exception. The city offers a wide array of culinary delights, from traditional Italian trattorias to Michelin-starred restaurants. Expats are spoiled for choice when it comes to authentic Italian flavours.


While living and teaching in Milan as an expatriate can be exciting and rewarding, there are some challenges that you may encounter. It’s important to be aware of these and prepare for them:

Language barrier

Italian is the primary language spoken in Milan, and while many people, especially in international schools, speak English, there may still be instances where language barriers arise in day-to-day interactions. Learning some Italian can help you navigate daily life and communicate with locals.

Housing and cost of living

Milan is known for its higher cost of living compared to other Italian cities. Finding suitable accommodation within your budget can be a challenge, particularly in desirable neighbourhoods. It’s important to research housing options in advance and budget accordingly.

Bureaucratic processes

Navigating administrative processes, such as obtaining work permits, visas, and dealing with local authorities, can sometimes be complex and time-consuming. It’s essential to familiarise yourself with the necessary paperwork and seek guidance from your agency, school or employer to ensure a smooth transition.

Final thoughts

Milan offers a high standard of living with a well-developed infrastructure, efficient public transportation, quality healthcare, and a range of amenities and services. The city’s parks, recreational facilities, and diverse entertainment options provide a well-rounded lifestyle for residents.

It’s important to note that the cost of living in Milan can be relatively high compared to other Italian cities, particularly in terms of housing and dining out. However, for many international teachers, the advantages and opportunities the city offers outweigh the associated expenses.

Ultimately, the appeal of Milan as a destination for teaching abroad lies in its cultural richness, lifestyle amenities, and the opportunity to immerse oneself in the vibrant Italian way of life.

It’s important to research and consider the specific international school in Milan you are interested in, as each school may have its own unique environment, curriculum, and community. As always, we are here to help, so please do not hesitate to get in touch if you would like to know more about opportunities to live and teach in Milan.

Our current vacancies:

St. Louis School – MYP Teacher

St. Louis School – Early Years Teacher

International School of Milan – Primary Teacher

We would love to hear from you.


Global Citizenship Education

Preparing Students for Success in a Connected World

In today’s interconnected world, it is more important than ever for students to develop the skills and knowledge needed to be active and responsible global citizens. By incorporating global citizenship into the curriculum, we can prepare students to navigate the complex challenges of the 21st century and to make a positive impact on the world. A critical component of this includes helping students to develop a sense of empathy, respect, and responsibility for people from different cultures and backgrounds. In this blog, we’ll explore the value of global citizenship education and share some examples of how international schools successfully build it into their curriculum.

What is Global citizenship and where did it come from?

The idea of global citizenship is not a new one, it has its roots in ancient Greek philosophy, with the Greek philosopher Diogenes being credited with coining the term “cosmopolitan” in the 4th century BCE. The concept of cosmopolitanism emphasised the idea of shared humanity and the importance of recognising and respecting cultural diversity.

During the 20th century, the idea of global citizenship emerged in response to the growing interconnectedness of the world and the need for a more inclusive and collaborative approach to addressing global challenges. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1948, is often cited as a key milestone in the development of global citizenship, as it recognised the inherent dignity and worth of all human beings regardless of nationality, race, or gender.

Since then, the concept of global citizenship has gained increasing recognition and importance in international policy and education, with organisations such as UNESCO and the International Baccalaureate promoting global citizenship education as a means of building a more just, peaceful, and sustainable world.

Today, global citizenship refers to the idea that individuals have a responsibility to engage with the world beyond their own communities and to understand and act on global issues. It is the recognition that we are all interconnected and that our actions, both positive and negative, have an impact on the world around us. Global citizenship involves a sense of belonging to a larger community, beyond national borders, and a commitment to promoting the well-being of all people and the planet. Being a global citizen is not just about having knowledge of global issues but also taking responsibility and taking action to make a positive difference.

Why is global citizenship important to international schools?

Happily, global citizenship education fits very naturally into an international school setting. International schools often have a diverse student body representing many different countries and cultures. Promoting global citizenship is a common part of fostering a sense of community and belonging among their students, despite their differences. This can create a more inclusive and welcoming learning environment for all students, their families, and international school teachers as they settle in.

International schools often have a mission to prepare students for a globalised world. Teaching abroad prepares educators to easily incorporate global issues such as poverty, inequality, climate change, and human rights into lessons across different subjects. This helps students to develop a better understanding of these issues and their impact on the world. For some students, depending on their setting, they may be able to witness the impact of these issues first-hand, making them acutely aware of the interconnectedness of the world and their role in it. This can help prepare them to be active and responsible global citizens.

By promoting global citizenship, international schools can encourage students to take action on issues such as poverty, inequality, and climate change. Some might encourage community service as part of their curriculum, enabling students to develop a sense of responsibility and the skills and knowledge needed to make a positive impact on the world.

When you are teaching abroad at an international school, promoting intercultural understanding and respect is important. Global citizenship education insists that students learn about different cultures, traditions, and customs from around the world. This can help students develop empathy and respect for people from different backgrounds and promote intercultural understanding. Ultimately, this can help students become more effective communicators and collaborators in a global context.

Beyond the walls of your classroom, global citizenship can be encouraged through the safe use of technology to connect with other cultures. Students can use technology to connect with students from other countries and cultures, promoting intercultural communication and collaboration.

Above all else, it is important to encourage students to think critically about global issues and to consider different perspectives and solutions. This can help students develop a sense of agency and empower them to take action on issues they care about.

By building global citizenship into your curriculum, you can help prepare your students to become active and responsible global citizens who are equipped with the skills and knowledge needed to make a positive impact on the world.

Global citizenship education is a powerful tool for preparing students to succeed in an increasingly interconnected and interdependent world. By incorporating global perspectives into the curriculum, we can help students develop empathy, respect, and understanding for people from different cultures and backgrounds, as well as the critical thinking and problem-solving skills needed to address complex global issues. Whether through service learning projects, cultural exchange programs, or interdisciplinary coursework, there are many ways to integrate global citizenship into the curriculum and inspire the next generation of global citizens. By doing so, we can empower our students to make a positive impact on the world and to become agents of change in their communities and beyond.




Teaching Abroad in Dubai

Dubai (or Dubayy) is one of seven territories that make up the United Arab Emirates (UAE), situated in the Persian Gulf. It is the second largest city in the country and is well-known for its iconic skyscrapers, luxury shopping malls and an increasing number of international schools.

There are a significant number of international schools in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), with many located in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. The exact number can vary depending on the source, but according to the UAE Ministry of Education, there were approximately 624 private schools in the country in the 2019-2020 academic year. Many of these schools are international in nature and offer a range of curricula, including British, American, International Baccalaureate (IB), and other national systems. It is expected that the number of international schools across the UAE will continue to grow, as the country seeks to expand its education sector and attract more foreign students and teachers.

Teaching in Dubai

Teaching at an international school in Dubai can be a unique and rewarding experience, but as with any international teaching experience, cultural differences can present a challenge. Stringent research into the region, school, and community is highly recommended.

Dubai is known for its modern facilities and infrastructure, and international schools are no exception. Many schools have state-of-the-art technology and facilities, which can enhance the teaching and learning experience. Of course, with exceptional resources comes high academic expectations. International teachers will need to be prepared to work hard and maintain high standards in order to meet the expectations of their schools and students.

Earning potential is significantly increased in Dubai because your income, as a foreigner, can be enjoyed tax-free and salaries for international teachers are generally competitive. However, it is important to know that the cost of living in the city can also be high, depending on your lifestyle. Importantly, most international schools in Dubai will offer additional benefits in their teacher contracts, such as; housing, health insurance, and annual airfare allowances.

Life outside of school

As a foreigner, living abroad in Dubai offers a unique blend of modern amenities, cultural diversity, and a high standard of living.

Known for its modern and innovative architecture, transportation systems, and other infrastructure, Dubai is an easy place to get around. The city’s transportation system includes a metro, buses, taxis, and ride-sharing services like Uber and Careem. The city’s modern amenities, world-class healthcare and education systems, make it a comfortable and convenient place to live and work. Therefore, it is an attractive destination for expats from around the world.

It is a melting pot of cultures and nationalities, with people from all over the world living and working in the city. The expat community in Dubai is welcoming and inclusive, and is estimated to be around 90% of the total population! This diversity is reflected in the city’s food, culture, and social scene, with a number of expat clubs and organisations that offer social events and networking opportunities. You can also take advantage of online forums and social media groups designed to help expats to connect before you arrive in the country.

Outside of school, international teachers can enjoy a wide range of activities including world-class shopping malls, beautiful beaches, and a range of recreational activities. If you are not relaxing on  Jumeirah Beach, why not take in a traditional souk (market), or get your adrenaline fix at one of the many theme parks. As the sun sets, there is a chance to take full advantage of Dubai’s vibrant nightlife. There is a range of bars, nightclubs, and entertainment venues. Some of the most popular venues include Zero Gravity, White Dubai, and Barasti Beach Bar.

Local laws

In the context of the United Arab Emirates, an emirate is one of the seven constituent regions or territories that make up the country, each with its own ruler or prince. Each emirate has its own government and laws, but they all work together under a federal system led by the President of the UAE, who is elected by the seven emirates.

As a foreigner living in Dubai, it is important to keep in mind that the laws and regulations in Dubai can be strict, and punishments for breaking the law can be severe. You should always do your own research before travelling but here are some key laws and regulations to keep in mind:

  • Islam is the dominant religion in Dubai, and it is important to show respect for local customs and religious practices. This includes avoiding eating, drinking, or smoking in public during Ramadan, the holy month of fasting.
  • While alcohol is available in some bars and restaurants in Dubai, it is illegal to consume alcohol in public places, including beaches and parks. Drinking and driving is also strictly prohibited.
  • Dubai is a conservative city, and it is important to dress modestly, especially in public places. Men and women should avoid wearing revealing clothing, and women should cover their shoulders and knees.
  • Public displays of affection, including kissing and holding hands, are considered inappropriate and can result in legal action.
  • Possession and use of illegal drugs is strictly prohibited in Dubai, and offenders can face severe penalties, including imprisonment and deportation.
  • Photographing government buildings, military installations, and airports is prohibited, and taking photographs of people without their permission can be considered an invasion of privacy.

Final thoughts:

If you’re considering teaching in an international school in Dubai, we are most certainly here to help. But, we always advise that you do a little research of your own too. 

Research the schools and try to find a shortlist of schools that align with your teaching philosophy and experience. Research the culture so that you understand a little more about the expectations around dress, behaviour and social interactions. Consider the cost of living particularly when negotiating salary. Be prepared for the weather. Dubai is a hot and arid climate with temperatures often exceeding 40°C in the summer. 

Finally, teaching abroad can be a truly enriching opportunity for personal and professional growth. Do your research, prepare for the challenges, and embrace the experience.




The global rise of international schools – and what that means for You

The demand for international schools has been steadily increasing for the last forty years.  According to a recent report by ISC Research, the number of international schools worldwide increased from 8,700 in January 2013 to 13,190 in January 2023. The reasons behind the growth are varied, but some of the primary drivers include globalisation, increased mobility of students and families, and a growing demand for high-quality education.

According to data taken from ISC Research Whitepaper: Why more international schools keep opening, February 2023: Asia as a total region currently represents 57% of the entire market for the number of international schools, in comparison, Europe represents 18%. 

With the world becoming more interconnected, international schools have emerged as a way for parents to ensure their children receive an education that is recognised globally. International schools tend to follow recognised curricula such as the International Baccalaureate (IB) or Advanced Placement (AP) programs, that are well respected and valued by universities and employers around the world. This means that students who attend international schools can continue their education, or entry to the workplace, seamlessly, no matter where they are in the world.

Another reason for the growth of international schools is the increasing mobility of students and families. With the rise of expatriate communities and the ease of international travel, many families are choosing to live and work overseas. International schools provide an opportunity for these families to ensure their children receive an education that is consistent with their home country’s curriculum and standards. Conversely, there is also a desire by more young people to study for higher education, which will take them beyond their home country.

Many parents are willing to pay a premium for high-quality education. In many countries across Asia, international schools are often seen as a priority investment for families that can afford private schooling. The schools often offer smaller class sizes that allow for differentiated and individualised attention for students, and more resources than local schools. Furthermore, international schools are often staffed by highly qualified and experienced teachers who bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to the classroom.

What does this mean for international teachers?

For qualified teachers who want to work overseas, the growth of international schools presents many opportunities. International schools are always in need of qualified and experienced teachers, particularly those who are fluent in English and have experience teaching international curricula. 

However, the process of finding a job in an international school can be challenging, and there are several factors that teachers should consider before pursuing this career path. Firstly, it is important to note that competition for jobs in international schools can be intense, and schools often receive hundreds of applications for each position. Therefore, it is essential for teachers to have a strong resume and cover letter that highlights their experience and qualifications.

In addition to the competition, teachers also need to consider the potential challenges of working in an international school. For example, teachers may need to adapt to different teaching styles and cultural norms, they may need to be flexible and willing to adapt to different curricula and teaching methods, as international schools may follow different educational systems than those in their home country. Furthermore, teachers should consider how they would feel being away from their immediate support network. A good international school, will go to great lengths to help new teachers settle in and establish connections within the community, but inevitably there will come a point when they miss home, so it is important to feel prepared for that too. 

In conclusion

Despite these challenges, there are many benefits to working in an international school. For example, teachers have the opportunity to work with students from diverse backgrounds and cultures, which can be highly rewarding. Furthermore, teachers in international schools often have access to more resources and technology than they would in local schools, which can help them become more effective educators. Additionally, teachers in international schools often receive competitive salaries and benefits packages, which can make a move overseas financially attractive.

It is important to remember that whilst there is a growing number of international schools offering opportunities to teach abroad, not all international schools are created equal. There are many factors that can influence the quality of education and the working environment at an international school. When considering job opportunities, there are several things that applicants should look out for to ensure that they are applying to reputable and high-quality schools. These include things like the school’s reputation, teacher turnover rates, resources and facilities, curriculum and teaching methods. 




Living and teaching in Kuwait

Nestled in the Arabian Gulf, Kuwait may be considered small compared to its neighbours, but this little oasis packs quite the punch for international school teachers.

Around 70% of Kuwait’s total population is made up of expats, meaning that there is a strong western influence in the country. That being said, teaching at an international school in Kuwait can be a rewarding experience for educators looking to teach in a multicultural environment. And there are plenty of schools to choose from.

International schools in Kuwait typically follow either an American, British or International Baccalaureate (IB) curriculum, so teachers with experience in these curricula are currently in great demand. Some of these schools are also accredited by organisations such as the Council of International Schools (CIS), the Council of British International Schools (COBIS), the Association of British Schools Overseas (AoBSO) and the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC).

Typically, an international school in Kuwait will offer competitive salaries, accommodation or housing allowances, health insurance, and other benefits. Kuwait is also a tax-free country, which means that teachers can potentially save a significant amount of their income. Making it a very attractive location for teachers that are new to overseas education or those that come with a wealth of experience. Outside of school, Kuwait offers a unique cultural experience with a mix of traditional Arab and modern Western influences. The country is also known for its hospitality, and expatriates are often welcomed and supported by the local community.

However, it is important to understand that living and teaching in Kuwait can also come with its challenges. The country has a hot and arid climate, which may not be suitable for everyone, particularly if you are travelling from cooler climates. The culture and customs may be different from what teachers are used to, and there may be language barriers to overcome. Expatriates living in Kuwait also need to be aware of the country’s laws and regulations, which can be strict and conservative. For example, alcohol consumption is strictly prohibited in public, and there are dress codes and other social norms that foreigners need to follow.

It is crucial that you do your research so that you are prepared for the cultural differences and potential challenges that may arise. It is essential that you also spend time researching the specific international school that you are considering applying for. If possible, try to talk to current or former teachers to get a better idea of what to expect.

More about Kuwait:

Kuwait is a country located in the Middle East, on the northeastern coast of the Arabian Peninsula. It is bordered by Iraq to the north and west, Saudi Arabia to the south and west, and the Persian Gulf to the east. It is a small country, with an area of around 17,820 square kilometres (6,880 square miles), making it one of the smallest countries in the region.

Having come through rapid development and plenty of political turmoil in the 1980s and 1990s, Kuwait is now a stable country with an oil-rich economy and a booming expat population. The country has a population of around 4.5 million people, with a large expatriate community living and working in the country.

The official language of Kuwait is Arabic, which is widely spoken throughout the country and lessons are mandatory in all schools. Kuwaiti Arabic is the local dialect spoken by the majority of Kuwaitis and is distinct from other dialects of Arabic spoken in the region. However, due to the large expatriate community, English is also widely spoken and understood, particularly in international schools, businesses, and government offices. Other languages spoken include Hindi, Urdu, Tagalog, and Bengali, among others, which are primarily used by expatriate communities from South Asia and the Philippines.

Between the end of October and mid-April, the temperatures in Kuwait are usually somewhere in the twenties (degrees C). From May to September, however, it’s not uncommon to see highs of 45 degrees Celsius. Due to the intensity of the summer heat, the international school term finishes in mid-June, giving teachers approximately 10 weeks’ holiday over the summer.

Teaching in Kuwait with a family

If you are travelling with a family and have children of school age, you may want to consider whether the international school setting is the right fit for them.


Kuwait’s international schools are usually large in size. Some schools have over 2000 students on campus; where the average class size is 25 students or less.

Final thoughts:

Make sure you have the necessary qualifications to teach in Kuwait. This typically includes a degree in your subject specialism and a Bachelor’s in Education for Primary teachers, as well as relevant teaching experience.

Be open-minded: Kuwait is a culturally diverse country, and you will likely encounter customs and practices that are different from what you are used to.

Learn some Arabic: Even basic phrases and greetings can go a long way in building relationships and showing respect for the local culture.

Embrace the experience: Teaching in an international school in Kuwait can be a unique and rewarding experience. Use the opportunity to learn and grow as an educator, immerse yourself in a new culture, and make lasting connections with people from all over the world.




The rise of sustainability education in international schools

Although sustainability has been an important policy topic for governments and international organisations for many years, it has become an increasingly significant topic to school aged children more recently. With the likes of Greta Thunberg and others providing the example and inspiring change, children are proactively seeking to lead environmental initiatives that create the necessary impact for a better world.

The international school community, with its global perspective, is highly likely to incorporate sustainability into their core curriculum. In particular, international schools that follow the International Baccalaureate (IB) curriculum will place a strong emphasis on sustainability education across a range of subjects as the IB requires schools to demonstrate a commitment to environmental sustainability in their operations. Reducing energy and water consumption, especially in countries with a high heating/cooling demand or water scarcity, is considered an easy win in terms of initiatives. This need for greater energy and water efficiency has been a primary driver for schools to embrace sustainability – but there are others.

Reasons to teach sustainability:

Global Awareness: International schools proudly boast widely diverse student bodies, with children drawn from many different parts of the world. One of their main roles being to foster global citizens who are aware of the challenges that the world faces and sustainability being a critical issue that affects the planet, international schools have an opportunity to help students understand the impact of their actions on the environment.

Responsibility: In many jurisdictions, international schools are built in and around a large and privileged community. As such, they exert significant influence in the wider community and therefore act as role models for sustainable practices in their community. By practising sustainability, they can lead by example and inspire others to adopt sustainable practices.

Health and well-being: For some international schools, particularly across the sprawling mega-cities of Asia, urban air quality has reached a crisis point. Teaching students to understand the impact of sustainable practice on such issues, is a necessity for their wellbeing.

Future-proofing: With the increasingly clear impact of climate change and environmental degradation, sustainability is becoming a critical issue for the future. By emphasising sustainability, international schools are preparing students for the challenges they may face in the future and equipping them with the knowledge and skills to address them.

Curriculum: Some schools may simply build this into extra or co-curricular activity, whilst for others, sustainability may be a core focus of the school. Green School Bali, for example, paved the way over 10 years ago when they announced their commitment “to create a global community of learners, making our world sustainable”. Since then, more schools have made the subject matter a core part of their mission.

Spotlight on The Arbor School in Dubai:

The Arbor School in Dubai is a example of a school that is focused on sustainability education. The school’s mission is to educate and inspire students to become environmentally responsible and sustainable global citizens.

Sustainability is integrated into all aspects of school life, from the curriculum, to extra-curricular activities and the day to day running of the school. The school has developed its own sustainability framework which is based on the UN Sustainable Development Goals and covers topics such as waste reduction, renewable energy and biodiversity conservation.

The Arbor School’s campus is designed to be sustainable as well, with features such as a green roof, bespoke biodomes, solar panels, and a rainwater harvesting system. The school has an organic farm on campus, where students learn to grow and cook food, which allows them to take an active role in the “farm-to-fork” cycle.

Ultimately, eco-literacy, sustainability and environmental justice form the three pillars at the core of the Arbor School vision, “Enough for all, forever.” Eco-literacy is different from earlier trends in environmental education, which viewed humans as a destructive force in nature and pursued education as a path to curb destruction. The aim at Arbor, is to cultivate an ethos of ecological understanding and environmental mindfulness that drives innovative, creative problem-solving for a more sustainable world.

What’s next?

In recent years, there has been a growing recognition of the importance of sustainability education. Many countries and regions have developed curriculum frameworks that incorporate sustainability, including the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) initiative. In addition, there are many non-governmental organisations and educational programs that provide resources and training for teachers to integrate sustainability into their lesson plans.

However, sustainability education can take many forms, and some international schools are realising that they need additional resources to deliver their intended environmental curriculum effectively. With that realisation comes the advent of new sustainability-focused roles that work to integrate sustainable practices into the school’s operations and curriculum.

Keep an eye on our vacancy listings to discover the perfect, sustainable role for you.

Find your Sustainability dream job




Want to teach abroad? Have you done your homework?


Applying for a teaching position at an international school can be a daunting process, especially when you haven’t done it before. But it doesn’t have to be. Understanding what to expect during the recruitment process can help alleviate some of the stress and uncertainty. Here are a few pointers on what to expect along the way. 




Step 1: Research and Apply




The first step in the recruitment process is a bit of desk research. It’s time to find out what’s out there, and remember to look early. Recruitment for teaching overseas starts early in the calendar year. An optional, but easy way to do this, is to speak with the experts. There are international teacher recruitment agencies that have long-established relationships with schools around the world. They would be well placed to find a suitable setting that aligned with your interests and qualifications, as well as prepare you for the application process. Of course, many international schools have their own website where you can find information about the school, its mission, and the types of positions they are currently hiring for. You can also find international teaching job listings on more general job boards. Once you have found a school or position that interests you, you can submit your application, which typically includes your resume, cover letter, and references.




Step 2: Interviews




Similarly to a teaching role in your native country, if your application is short-listed, you will be asked to participate in a series of interviews. These interviews can take place over the phone, via video call, or in person. In some cases, depending on the role that you have applied for, you may be asked to meet with key stakeholders across the school community. These could include groups of parents or students. The school may also ask for additional documentation such as your teaching certification, transcripts, and proof of language proficiency. During the interview, you will be asked questions about your qualifications, experience, and importantly your teaching philosophy. They may also ask you to demonstrate your teaching skills by giving a mock lesson or lesson plan. It is important to remember that they are not just looking at your professional teaching ability, but also, your suitability for living in the host country. Don’t be afraid to ask questions that show you have considered this.



Extra: The international teaching profession is a small, well-networked community, try to avoid missing an interview with little or no notice. It could be remembered. 




Step 3: Pre-Employment Checks




Once the school has selected a candidate, they will conduct usual pre-employment checks. These checks may include background checks, reference checks, and verification of your teaching certification. The school may also ask you to submit a medical form and provide proof of your health insurance. It may sound obvious, but it is also worth checking that your passport has a suitable length of time left on it. You may be needing it soon!




Step 4: Offer of employment




If the school is satisfied with the results of your pre-employment checks, they will extend an offer. The job offer will include details such as the start date, salary, and benefits. The school may also provide information about housing, relocation assistance, school places for your family if needed, and the school’s policies and procedures.




Step 5: Visa and Work Permit




Once you have accepted the offer of employment, the school will assist you with obtaining the necessary visa and work permit. They may even book your flight. The process for obtaining a visa and work permit can vary depending on the country and school. The school will provide you with the necessary forms and instructions, but it is ultimately your responsibility to ensure that all the necessary documents are submitted and processed in a timely manner. This is your first real opportunity to show how organised you are, and these early impressions count.




Step 6: Arrival and Orientation




Once you have obtained your visa and work permit, you can make arrangements to travel to your new host country. Before your arrival, the school will provide you with information about practical matters. When you arrive, the school will typically provide an orientation program to help you acclimate to the new culture and environment.This will likely take place a week or so before the returning staff come back. It is a great opportunity to get to know your new environment and bed in before the real work begins. If the intrepid explorer in you wants to get to know your new location, before you join the school community, it is sometimes worth travelling ahead of schedule and enjoying some holiday before term starts.  



The recruitment process for international teaching positions can take several months, so it’s important to be patient and persistent. Keep in mind that the process will vary depending on the school and country, so it’s essential to stay in communication with the school throughout the process.



In conclusion, applying for a teaching position at an international school can be a rewarding experience. Understanding the recruitment process and what to expect can help you navigate the process with confidence. Remember to research and apply to schools that align with your interests and qualifications, participate in the interviews, and follow through on the pre-employment checks. Once you receive a job offer, assist the school in obtaining the necessary visa and work permit and prepare for your arrival and orientation. With the right mindset and preparation, you can secure a teaching position at an international school and embark on an adventure of a lifetime.


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