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.



Compass Education Consultancy specializes in recruiting exceptional talent for international schools. We provide services in leadership search, teacher recruitment, and consultancy.

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