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Travel & Teach - Saudi Arabia


Teachers generally come to Saudi Arabia for one of two reasons: either they are attracted by the prospect of lucrative pay and benefits or they are accompanying a partner who is working in the region. Saudi Arabia has some of the most enviable contracts on offer in the world. Positions are numerous within private schools, petrochemical industries and the army and air force. Return airfare, 2 year contracts, paid accommodation and generous holidays are not uncommon.

In terms of where you live and work, there is a significant difference between the main centres.  The coastal climate, both Dhahran and Dammam in the Eastern Province and in Jeddah on the Red Sea, is warm even in midwinter, and hot and humid from June to September.  The interior, Riyadh especially, is hot but dry in summer and much cooler in winter, with even occasional early-morning frost. Many expats find Jeddah the most congenial centre, more relaxed and cosmopolitan than many Saudi towns and centres.  As on the East Coast, there are swimming and other water sports to enjoy.

Those that succeed in securing a contract in Saudi Arabia will need to be able to live within the strict laws that govern everyday social interaction. Some limitation on one’s freedom of movement also has to be accepted. Permission is needed to leave the Kingdom, for example, as well as to enter it.  As long as you are aware of the potential pitfalls, the financial rewards are definitely there, allowing you to save money and live comfortably.

Tips for teaching English in Saudi:

* choose the 250-hour TESOL Level 5 Advanced course >> for the Middle East
* consider adding a 30-hour Business TESOL >> as this specialism is very much in demand
* dress for business and present a professional CV/resume >>
* ask any contacts you have in the Kingdom to find out about working opportunities there  

Useful Contacts

British Council http://www.britishcouncil.org/

British Council in Saudi Arabia: http://www.britishcouncil.org/saudiarabia.htm   

Saudi Arabian Embassy UK: http://saudiarabia.embassyhomepage.com/

Saudi Arabian Embassy USA: http://www.saudiembassy.net/

Saudi Arabian National Tourist Office: http://www.sauditourism.gov.sa/

Useful: http://www.eslbase.com/advice/saudi-arabia.asp

Schools: http://www.eslbase.com/schools/saudi-arabia

Global English students are working all over the world with their accredited TESOL certificates. Find out
how TESOL training from Global English has made a difference to their lives:


Philip Ingle
Philip Ingle

My work in Saudi involved something of a contrast, with tightly regulated conditions in the military and a more laid-back life in civilian teaching. TEFL in the Air Force under British Aerospace was highly programmed, ‘by the book’ and exam-oriented. There was little scope for creativity, and the routine was quite strenuous for both teachers and students, so a dedicated TEFLer is likely to find the work frustrating.
In Jeddah, a more relaxed environment, I taught ground staff for the civil aviation authority. There was scope for a more personal and creative contribution here, with materials writing and an early (for me) foray into the world of materials for ESP (English for Specific Purposes).

It just goes to show – there can be substantial variation in circumstances within a single area, even one country. It’s as well to keep an open mind about ‘where to go’, because jobs (and employers) do vary, and there may be both interest value and useful experience in some unpromising situations, even if one does not in the end stay on too long.

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Travel and Teach

Unless you reside amongst the growing expat community and are able to pick up work locally, such benefits are not open to just anyone. You will normally need to be exceptionally well qualified (usually up to diploma level and beyond) and experienced (often 5 years or more). Adverts will also probably specify that you need to be male, sometimes that you must be under 50 or 55. Most EFL teachers are likely to fall short of at least one of these requirements.

If you are a spouse of an expat worker, it should not be too difficult to pick up some local work. Qualifications are not always requested at by parents who would like their children to learn English from a native speaker and this practice is well established. But you must always be culturally sensitive in terms of the content of your teaching material as it can be easy to unwittingly offend.  But the good news is that people are very keen to learn English and so enthusiastic students are often the norm.

It is not advisable to travel to the country and find work on spec and there are no tourist visas. The company who employs you will make the necessary application for visas and work permits. Contact your local health centre for up to date advice on any inoculations necessary. If applying from abroad, ensure everything is absolutely secured in writing before leaving.

If you do decide that Saudi Arabia is for you, then there is considerable financial compensation. You can expect a tax free salary of around £20,000 - £26,000. To avoid a large tax bill on return to UK, obtain a ‘working overseas’ form from the tax office. Accommodation often comes with the job and can be luxurious. If you have secured work as a married couple, the contract will often provide free health care and school fees, otherwise you will need to make sure you have some form of health cover before you go.

It is strongly recommended that you take:

* the 250-hour TESOL Level 5 Advanced course >> for the Middle East
* the 30-hour Business TESOL >> for Saudi

since few in TESOL have a specialism and so this can be very appealing to employers and ensures you have the key skills for the market.

You may also be able to find work teaching English to children privately. In this area being on the spot may be more important than degrees and certificates. If this is something you'd like to do, we suggest you add the 30-hour Teaching English to Young Learners >>.

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Key Comparison data
Courses Level 1 Level 1 + Young Learners Level 1 + business Level 1 plus 1-2-1 Level 2 Level 2 + Young Learners Level 2 + business Level 2 + 1-2-1 Teaching business English Teaching English to Young Learners Teaching English 1-2-1 Grammar course Weekend face-face
Price £195.00 £295.00 £295.00 £295.00 £315.00 £395.00 £395.00 £395.00 £140.00 £140.00 £140.00 £50.00 £170-£190
Duration (hours) 70 100 100 100 150 180 180 180 30 30 30 20 20 or 28
Time limit (months) 6 6 6 6 18 18 18 18 6 6 6 6 n/a
Modules 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 2 2 2 1 n/a
Content General English General English + Young Learners General English + Business General English + 1-2-1 General English General English + Young Learners General English + Business General English + 1-2-1 Business Young Learners One to One Grammar General


Yes . ACTDEC Yes. GE Yes. GE Yes. GE Yes. GE Yes.20 or 28 hour
Course book provided No Yes Yes No* No Yes Yes No* Yes Yes No* No No
View live teaching excerpts Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No No No. n/a
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* includes 1 years subscription to materials provider 'handouts online'