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.



Applying for International Teaching Jobs: Find the Best Positions

In the UK, the end of October marks the point in the year where the dark nights start to creep in, and with it, the cold weather that serves as a conversational backdrop to the next few months. For teaching professionals and school administrators, it marks the beginning of the end for that long first term. But the weather is not the only reason that qualified teachers are considering a move overseas.

In April 2022, the National Education Union surveyed its members. 1,788 respondents participated, and the results make for stark reading. 44% of England’s state-school teachers plan to quit by 2027. Half of those (22%) intend to leave within two years. When asked, the workload was the overwhelming motivation for 65% of teachers in English state schools who expect to go within two years.

The profession, in the UK at least, is struggling. Struggling to recruit new talent, and to retain it once it is in post. According to the same research, schools struggle to fill vacant posts, leading to a doubling up of roles. 73% of teachers say this has worsened since the start of the pandemic.

Leaving the profession is certainly one option. But another is to take your sought-after skillset and use it in another part of the world.

UK-trained, qualified teachers, with 3+ years of experience are ideally placed to take advantage of global opportunities in some of the very best international schools around the world.

January/February is the perfect time to start applying for international teaching jobs! With the end of the school year now in sight, many schools overseas are looking to fill their teaching positions as soon as possible.

Teaching abroad offers a unique and life-changing experience that can benefit you both professionally and personally.

Here are 8 benefits of teaching abroad but remember, this list isn’t exclusive!

  1. Immersion in a new culture: Teaching abroad allows you to gain a deeper understanding and appreciation of the world around you. Living and working in a different culture provides an incredible opportunity to learn a new language, improve your communication skills, and expand your palate.
  2. Career advancement: International teaching experience is highly valued by employers and can open up new career opportunities. Not only will you gain valuable teaching experience, but you’ll also have the opportunity to build your resume and network with others in the education field from all around the world.
  3. Professional development: Teaching abroad exposes you to different teaching styles and methods, allowing you to develop new skills and improve your teaching practice. When you teach abroad, you’ll be pushed out of your comfort zone in the best possible way.
  4. Personal growth: The challenges and experiences of living abroad can help you develop valuable life skills such as adaptability, independence, empathy, and resilience. You will be challenged in unexpected ways, and in turn, will see yourself through a new lens.
  5. Travel opportunities: Teaching abroad gives you the chance to explore different countries and cultures while also earning a living.
  6. Financial benefits: Many international teaching jobs offer competitive salaries and benefits, in some geographies, the package might include free housing, school places, gym memberships, and airfare.
  7. Make a difference: As a teacher, you have the unique ability to make a real difference in the lives of your students. When you teach abroad, you’ll be able to share your culture,  knowledge and skills with students who may not have access to education. This is an incredible opportunity to make a lasting impact on someone’s life.
  8. Life-long memories: International teaching is an adventure that you will never forget, and the memories and experiences you create with new-found friends and family, will stay with you for a lifetime.

Take advantage of this opportunity to make a positive impact in the lives of students and experience the world in a new way. Start applying for international teaching jobs now!

How to apply for an international teaching position with Compass Teaching

To apply for a teaching job with Compass Teaching, simply register on our website and submit your CV.

Once your CV is received, one of our experienced recruiters will be in touch to discuss your specific requirements and preferences. We’ll then start the search for your perfect role, matching you with schools that fit your needs. It’s as simple as that.

Why not take a look at what’s on offer? You can view the various positions we have across the world by visiting our vacancies page.

To register, simply complete your details on our registration page. You can also contact a friendly member of the team at info@compassteaching.com.

If you’re ready to take your teaching career to the next level, start by registering on Compass Teaching today!


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