5 Reasons you are not landing that teaching job…

and what to do about it. There is no doubt the overseas teaching market is competitive, but have you ever thought about what could be preventing you from setting sail? This week we cover 5 common reasons why you are not be getting a look in and tips to overcoming them.

1. Your cover letter

monika-kozub-1284133-unsplashAre you sending out a generic covering letter to the school? You have 50-300 words to use in your covering
email on an application so make sure they count. This is an opportunity to make a connection between you and the school. Read up on the school and think about how your
experiences, qualifications and beliefs fit with the school’s requirements and vision. Make sure you are applying to schools that you have the qualifications for and that you clearly emphasise them.

2. Gaps in your application

ben-white-998822-unsplashThis is more important than you may think. Often schools will not give your application a second glance if there are gaps missing between your teaching gigs. Even if you have spaces between jobs you must make sure these are accounted for. In fact, the extracurricular activities or that time you spent volunteering or honing a new skill is especially useful in creating a good character reference of yourself and highlighting your passions and purpose.


So you made the interview but now you must get equipped with the right questions to ask. Read this post, here.

3. Limited experience
jordan-rowland-1127671-unsplashCertain countries require at least 3-5 years teaching experience so you won’t make the cut if you haven’t got this yet. Countries in the Middle East and Asia, such as those in the UAE and Indonesia or China require more teaching years than others like South Korea. so apply for jobs that are in line with the experience you have and work your way up
4. Irrelevant curriculum
If the school is requiring IB experience and you don’t have it you will just be wasting time for both parties. Do your research to find out what curriculum the school is using. Is it a UK, US or IB school and how does your experience match up? Naturally, the schools will want teachers who are familiar with their system.  Building your way up and taking some positions as a stepping stone in your career is a good attitude to have. First, you can work on gaining experience in the curriculum you want, maybe in a place less desirable  than your dream location and over time you can start to put together all the pieces and be hired in the perfect place, in that popular school teaching the curriculum you know and love–but it won’t happen overnight. Remain strategic.


Interested in how to gain IB experience? Find out more here

yousef-alfuhigi-357033-unsplash5. Age

This can be an incredibly frustrating scenario—you have years of experience and feel like you could offer a lot
to the school but they have age restrictions in place. Or even more frustrating, you already complete the application only to find out afterwards this is the reason. Many countries in Asia and the Middle East keep age limitations for over 60 which are often in connection with the visa, so it is hard to budge. The best thing to do in this case is to look beyond these places and explore more liberal options in Africa and Europe. Furthermore, do the research and ask beforehand about the age limit so that you don’t waste your time on the lengthy application process.

Have you had experience with any other factors preventing you from a job? Let us know your stories at editor@teacherhorizons.com





Written by Alexandra Plummer

Lighten your load: how to pack for your teaching job abroad

We are in the midst of a “stuff” revolution—the likes of Marie Kondo “Sparking Joy”, the rise of minimalism and fashionable tiny houses, as well as an increased awareness around environmental sustainability, means many of us are decluttering and rethinking what matters to us in terms of what we consume.

stil-336189-unsplashMoving abroad is the ultimate chance to de-clutter and downsize, but it is not easy! Trying to put our lives into a suitcase can feel incredibly daunting.  Luckily, we have put together a list of the must-haves and tips so that your both your luggage and conscience can stay light.

A large part of packing is the organization and the way we think about the process. If we are able to simplify and organize our minds around the move prior, the physical act of packing up our belongings will become much easier.

Arrange your documents, make lists and reach out to people.

One thing that has always enabled me to feel less anxious and more confident when embarking on a new transition abroad is having all important documents with me in a folder that I can reach for immediately in my carry-on. Important documents include your Passport, first and foremost! You don’t want to attempt to leave without that one. Beyond this, I make sure I have copies of insurance, visa, teacher contracts, phone numbers for contacts in-country like the school, and some addresses written down. I prefer to have a hardcopy of these items, but a backup cloud version is a good call, too.

Before you start deciding on packing your favourite coffee table centrepiece that you just can’t live without, find out what your allowances are. Does your contract include an allowance for relocation? What airline are you flying with and what are their weight and size allowances, including fees for additional luggage? The airline websites will have all the information there.

Unsure about if the country you are moving to will stock a medication you need or your fix of a favourite brand of peanut butter? yousef-alfuhigi-357033-unsplash Now there are multiple online forums and expat pages, so you can pose any questions in advance, saving you from doubling up unnecessarily. The school might also put you in touch with someone there who has been through the same transition so they are a useful resource and great for calming the nerves. Maybe there is a departing teacher at the school? This can be useful in preparing some hand-over of items so you don’t have to by brand new and they don’t have to plan getting rid of them-win win!

About to go teach at an IB school? Skip over to one of our previous blog posts all about IB.

So now we have decluttered our minds, what items do we pack?

We can never be prepared for all scenarios, and sometimes we just have to go with the flow. However, having some familiar items and some goods to get you started and comfortable for the first few days could be useful. For me this is teabags and a blanket from home, transforming the most difficult situation into a more cosy one! Taking some sheets, some cutlery, plates & a cup is also a good tip.

You can’t possibly pack all your teaching and motivational books, but you can digitize them. I ended up getting a Kindle e-book and this was a game changer for me. Also, find out what items your school already has. It is nice to take some home-country items like stickers and posters to a new classroom environment—but don’t go overboard. Rather than having physical items taking up unnecessary space you can also make a photo slide show of your life online that you can show students. Saving space and jeffrey-hamilton-571428-unsplashstill sharing a piece of home.

Necessities, cultural norms and staying connected.

Having necessities like medication and a small first aid kit is a good idea for anywhere that you go and gives you a bit of reassurance. Other supplies will depend on your environment—don’t go shipping your fancy road bike when you know there will be no chance to use it, for example. Country-specific plugs and other electronics are a must have! It is disheartening to arrive at your destination only to find out you cannot connect anything due to having the wrong plug. I suggest getting hairdryers and shavers in the country if you can, that way you don’t have to deal with the different voltage issues.

I speak for myself here that clothes always end up taking up most of my luggage. It is that thing about wanting to be prepared for any scenario.  The priority is to make sure you have something appropriate to turn up to work in. It is best to air on the conservative side, that way you can adhere to any cultural norms easily. It is likely you can find what you need clothes wise once you are, but the forums and expat pages will be able to help with this. Try and reduce the number of the same items, too. You won’t ever need 10 bikinis, no matter how much you love the beach.

Travelling abroad is a great opportunity to reinvent yourself but it is also a great opportunity to let the real you shine.  Pack something that makes you feel at home in yourself and that you can do alone or with your family, wherever you are. For marnel-hasanovic-673679-unsplashe, that is a journal, a pack of cards and some herbs for my foodie dreams.

 Use this transition time as an opportunity to declutter both your mind and belongings and start your next adventure feeling lighter.  Have you got any tips for moving to a new country? Anything you wish you’d known before you left? Let us know editor@teacherhorizons.com

Written by Alexandra Plummer

What makes China a top teaching destination?

Ever wondered what it would be like to live and teach in China? When we asked one of our current teachers, Petros, about his experience he was enthusiastic and eager to give us the low down. Drawing on his short and concise insights, this blog is full of reasons why teaching in China is a great option! Being unfamiliar with China myself I was delighted to hear from Petros and his positive experience of being there so far. It was hard to resist sharing more information on such a diverse and interesting place.

1. Where are you teaching and what’s your school like? What made you choose that specific location?

Petros: I am teaching Mathem20190319_102620atics at Maple Leaf International School- Dalian, China. Our school follows the Canadian curriculum blended with the Chinese curriculum. The curriculum is so rich and prepares the learners very well towards their high school graduation and university education. We chose this location because the school system also has a foreign National school where our children who haven’t reached high school level are learning.


Read more about teaching in China with Maple Leaf Education and watch videos about MLES here.

2. How did you get your job? What was the process like?

Petros: I got the job through Teacherhorizons. My recruitment adviser guided me throughout the process.

TH:  As teachers ourselves, we know how daunting travelling to teach abroad can be, and also how many exciting things there are to look forward to. We believe in the joy of new experiences, and that they will overcome the nerves you have. Our support enables the process to run smoothly so you can focus on the important things – like getting excited about your new home!

Read how another teacher of ours also experienced China, here. 

3. What is the city like? Is there an active expat scene? What do you do in your free time?

Petros: The city is so nice with the beach just a 5 minutes walk from the school! I like to visit The Golden Pebble Beach in my free time. IMG-20190416-WA0023

TH: Rather than having to see and do it all in one week, you have months – or longer – to explore your new city and country. From the imperial architecture of the historical sites to the breathtaking views of some of the most beautiful scenery you can find in parks and other surrounding areas, you will develop a great sense of appreciation for your new environment.

Browse our international schools in China for information and current vacancies.

4. What is the food like? Is international food available? Have you tried any unusual local dishes?

Petros: International food is available but we have tried a lot of local dishes and we like them.

TH: You are probably familiar with Chinese food back home, but traditional Chinese food is likely not very familiar!  Some top dishes recommended by teachers are roasted duck and delicious vegetable and noodle dishes. There really is something for everyone here. We unique smells, textures and tastes the food in China is an experience in itself.

5. How is the culture different from your home culture? Have you experienced any culture shock?

Petros: No, I haven’t experienced any culture shock yet.

TH: Culture shock might be inevitable but if you have the right attitude, like Petros, it becomes more exciting than overwhelming. Take with you a sense of curiosity and you will experience more wonder and awe than ever. It is a fascinating place to be, embrace it.

20190321_1816016. What’s the cost of living like? Are you able to save money?

Petros: The cost of living here is affordable. We are going to be able to save money.

TH: In China, it is really possible to find a position that offers great hours, good pay and great benefits. You can often get a good salary in addition to great benefits.  Sick leave, paid holidays, a generous house concession or rent-free furnished local apartment, and an airfare allowance or even flight reimbursement are sometimes offered.

7. What’s the best thing about living and teaching in your chosen city? What have been your highlights so far?

Petros: The weather is nice. I love teaching Mathematics in the Canadian curriculum.

TH: China is huge and so there is no shortage of destinations for teachers looking to work in the country.  From Shanghai to Guangdong, and several other areas in between – you can choose the setting that suits you!

8. Are there any drawbacks? What kind of person would not be suited to this location? Any advice?

Petros: I think any professional teacher can fit here. My advice is to go through Teacherhorizons, they will place you in a very nice and reputable school around the world.

TH: Teachers in China can choose from public schools, private schools, private language institutes, a university, international schools, kindergartens, or even tutoring. You can make teaching in China what you want it to be!

Thank you, Petros, for your concise feedback and kicking off this blog for us. Do you have comments about teaching in China? Do you want to know more? Please get in touch on editor@teacherhorizons.com to tell your story.

Written by Alexandra Plummer

Not what you do, but who you are: shaping Global Citizens in schools

Is ‘Global Citizenship Education’ just another fad or tagline in international schools? Aren’t international school students by default Global Citizens, and if not what role does the school or teacher have in creating or shaping Global Citizens?

There are many questions surrounding the subject of what it means to be a Global Citizen and even more on what this might look like in the classroom.  This week we hear from d’Arcy Lunn, an expert on using the United Global Goals for Sustainable Development in schools and the founder of Teaspoons of Change- personal choices, decisions and actions that have a positive impact on people and the planet.

d’Arcy’s here to support us in navigating the muddy waters of Global Citizen Education.  From buzzwords to learning about bees in the classroom, he gives us valuable insight into how we can use Global Citizen Education to shape critically aware, 21st-century learners who are globally minded.

Blurb-dArcy-pic-3What is your background in Global Citizen Education?

d’Arcy: In the past 19 years I’ve been fortunate to travel to more than 90 countries working in aid and development with UNICEF, WHO, Gates Foundation and others as well as being a trained primary school teacher in Japanese! These components have led me to give over 1000 presentations to more than 100,000 people on global citizenship. The talks cover what it means to be a global citizen, especially an active and effective one.

Is Global Citizenship just a buzzword?

d’Arcy: “International schools, educators and students are striving to be plastic-free, have meaningful and effective community engagement, incorporate service into their classrooms and lessons and ultimately live up to many of their visions, missions and marketing slogans of internationally minded students or 21st-century learners. Global citizenship is not just a nice thing to say but something that holds real value to young learners, educators and school communities.”

Blurb-dArcy-pic-12What tools do you use to achieve this?

d’Arcy: “I use the United Nations Global Goals for Sustainable Development as a collective context for any subject in the school that has a positive impact on people and the planet. That could be wellbeing and kindness programs, sustainability policies or a class learning about bees. I also make sure whatever positive change they might be involved with has both a personal and practical context, something I name Teaspoons of Change. Teaspoons of Change are personal choices, decisions and actions that have a positive impact on people and the planet creating positive change.” 

 How do you teach something that is a little difficult to define?

Blurb-dArcy-pic-5d’Arcy: “It’s about context. In any lesson, we should be able to move the lens out to think about what that might look like in a global context – relating to the Global Goals or the Goodlife Goals (a more practical and personal adaptation of the Global Goals). We should also enable students to bring this to a personal level and think about what it means to the individual learner and their choices and actions and how it fits into the world. For example, if we choose the subject of bees. If we look after bees and promote their environments what impact does that have on our global community and which Global Goals and targets might it be associated with? If we want to support the ecosystems of bees and having them thrive what can
we do at an individual level?”

What does success in Global Citizenship Education look like? 

d’Arcy: “The best successes of global citizenship education are when an educator or a whole school doesn’t make global citizenship as something they do but makes it a part of who they are.  Therefore there is very little explicit teaching of global citizenship, it isn’t just another subject or an extra burden for educators to have to put on their already-full plate. I see global citizenship as a wonderful lens that can be added to whatever educators and schools are doing already. It is adding value to their craft, rather than being an additional chore.” 

Any advice for teachers and schools?

d’Arcy: “My first and highest recommendations for any educator and school wanting to dig a little deeper starts with a couple of questions: what is a global citizen? and are you a global citizen? From this point forward it will be a personal journey of discovering and thinking about what global citizenship actually means to you. To support that journey there a lot of great resources from good people doing good things with fun, accessible and welcoming approaches to integrate the lens of global citizenship education into their school, classroom and life:

  • Teaspoons of Change – some basic resources to gain some concepts and approaches to global citizenship
  • World’s Largest Lesson – one lesson each year for the whole world dedicated to learning about the Global Goals, plus a huge amount of lesson plans and resources
  • JUMP! Foundation – an experiential learning organisation that facilitates fun and inspiring learning opportunities around global citizenship
  • Goodlife Goals – a more personal and practical adaptation of the Global Goals to support easy integration of personal action in a global context.” 

Thanks d’Arcy for breaking it down for us into accessible and achievable actions. Teachers –we want to hear from you! How do you currently integrate the lens of Global Citizenship Education into your classroom? Please reach out to me at editor@teacherhorizons.com 

Written by Alexandra Plummer

Ask The Expert: Emily

Continuing our new series of Ask the Expert posts, we chat with the Teacherhorizons team who share their valuable insight into the world of international teaching.  This week I chatted with Emily, the Operation Manager, who enjoys the simple things in life like hanging with her friends and family over a cup of tea, has an unrivalled passion for dance and a lot of love towards her adopted Cambodian dog. Read on for the low-down on what happens behind the scenes at Teacherhorizons, living in Cambodia and the importance of taking time to reset and consider your priorities in life.    

Nearby the majestic Angkor Wat, amidst a stifling heat and surrounded by rice paddies and the abundantCambo Mekong river a team are hard at work bringing magic to life. Emily who heads up this behind the scenes dream team in Siem Reap, Cambodia describes the operations team as the “nuts and bolts” of Teacherhorizons.  The company, which provides advice and support to over 200,000 teachers to build their experiences in international teaching, requires a team of incredibly passionate, hard workers to make this happen. Working actively with over a thousand schools in over 50 countries this is no small feat. The Operations team based in Siem Reap, Cambodia take on varied roles from the technology of the online platform, finance and HR, centralizing the work of Teacherhorizons, making sure teachers are support
ed and ensuring that a happy team of staff thrive…and this barely scratches the surface.

Meet Emily!

Emily, from the UK, lived in Lblog pic 2ondon after University. Inspired to travel the world she worked hard to save and plan for a dream trip to Southeast Asia and beyond. However, this changed as her close friends shared their experiences of teaching and living abroad. Emily decided to follow suit and soon she found herself in Cambodia as a teaching assistant. There she met Anisha, a Teacherhorizons staff member, and she learned of an opening for a Teacherhorizons role.  It all worked out wonderfully and as Operations Manager, Emily lived in Siem Reap for 3 years before heading back to the UK six months ago where she continues heading up the operations while connecting back with friends and family in England.

Life in the shadows of Angkor.

Emily talks about her time in Siem Reap with great affection. She loves the relaxed lifestyle, the opportunity for easy travel, the low cost of living and the multiple cafes and bars. However, she isn’t wearing rose-tinted glasses and acknowledges the challenges that come with living there from missing family, scary motorbike accidents, the lack of free and good quality healthcare and the mosquitos –“I do not miss them!” she proclaims.

Are you interested in teaching internationally? Sign up to Teacherhorizons to see school profiles and salary packages– it’s free.
Louie for blog

Emily was busy over in Siem Reap. As well as heading up the ops team she also set up a dance school, adopted a Cambodian street dog and travelled a lot. I chatted to Emily while she was in Somerset, England where she reflects on the transition. “Siem Reap can be a bit of a bubble, you have to step out of it,” she says as she describes how it can sometimes feel like an escape from real life. In Somerset, Emily is reconnecting with friends and family and adjusting back to life in the UK. She believes in the importance of taking a step back and taking the time to evaluate where you are and where you want to go. The familiarity and quietness of Somerset life allow her to do this. Emily reflects on time in SR – “everything is very present and you don’t really get a chance to plan anything past the following weekend”.  Recognizing the charm in that she is also happy to have the time for space and consideration now.  She keeps connected to Siem Reap, not just through her work with the TH team but also because she has her dog, rescued from the streets of Siem Reap, with her in the UK now! After an arduous journey of travelling back with a pet to England, she is over the moon to have her dog with her. You can read more about travelling with Pets here

 The power of Dance.

blog picsEmily has always been a dancer since around the age of 2 or 3.  When she went out to Cambodia she really missed it and didn’t see any opportunities there so she decided to set up her own school, kind of like a Franchise of London school she worked at.  The experience was nothing like she expected. It was really eye-opening and has relaxed her into a new way of dancing beyond the constraints that often comes with the Ballet world.  Far from the uninformed and meticulous Ballet dancers in London with their pulled back hair and shiny, new leotards from high-end establishments, here the kids donned hand me down ballet suits and sported orange dust from playing outside before class. This was ballet like never before and so much fun!  She saw the kids change from toddlers into bright young children and marvelled in the moments where all of a sudden they would get a move that they had been working on for some time.  Emily describes the dialogue that can happen through dance, the vulnerability needed and how it creates a space for building trusting relationships.

It has been wonderfully inspiring chatting with Emily about the TH team, her hobbies, Siem Reap and beyond and over the next month we will continue our Ask the Expert series.

 Is there something you want to know from our experts? We would love to hear from you!  Please feel free to reach out to us at editor@teacherhorizons.com


Written by Alexandra Plummer

6 Hacks for Settling into Your New Teaching Job Abroad

I remember the first time I arrived in South Korea to teach at 23, feeling completely overwhelmed and underprepared. Jet lag also doesn’t help with the nerves! I look back on this daunting feeling of being submerged in new surroundings with great fondness, with each new place nothing is quite the same as the first time you set up your international teaching gig. I remember having to find a phone box (yep, they still had those) to make a call to my mum in the middle of the night for some reassurance. Fear not, being as connected as we are now you are always a call, text or social media post away from support!

Your mind is probably overflowing with questions: What is the school like? What will happen when I arrive? How will I meet people? What if I don’t speak the language?  Our Teacherhorizons advisors talk to hundreds of teachers each week who are thinking of embarking on a new life abroad. The fear of the unknown can be anxiety-inducing, but we are here to reassure you with tips to enable you to embrace the roller coaster, so you can buckle in and enjoy the ride.

1) Use Social Media

Use Social Media to get to know what is happening in the area you will move to. There are now so many expat groups, and probably groups specifically for teachers – maybe even your school- so do your research and get connecting! Taking advantage of social media is a great way to build your support network to help you before you even set foot there, it also increases your likelihood of having someone to meet in person when you get there.

2) Familiarise yourself with the language

At the very least learn key phrases like hello, thank you, goodbye. The locals really appreciate it and it will fill you with more confidence. If you have time to enrol on a course or do some online language learning beforehand hand that will also support you immensly in fitting in.


Thinking of moving to China? For helpful tips on applying for a Chinese visa go here. 

3) Familiarise yourself with the culture

Do your research and familiarise yourself with the culture. Going in completly blind to a new culture will only increase that feeling of being overwhelmed. Learn their cultural norms and get set to adopting them straight away. The locals will appreciate that you are trying and it will help you feel welcomed.

4) Bring some items from home

Bring some familiar items that will offer you comfort in those moments of culture shock or home sickness. This might seem a little silly, but settling in with some old favourites will enable you to feel more relaxed and more on the path to building that homely feeling. For me, it is always tea bags, some photos and a blanket from my travels.

jeshoots-com-722888-unsplash5) Give your body time to adjust

Be gentle on yourself and your body in the time of adjustment, new places will often play havoc on our bodies while we adjust to new foods, temperatures, water etc. Your school will likely help you get set up with healthcare but also bring some of your pharmacy staples with you…nothing worse than trying to navigate some paracetamol with a migraine, only to learn they don’t sell them off prescription.

6) Organize your important documents

One thing that has always helped me feel more confident before setting off to a new job abroad is having a documents folder. Airport travel before even arriving at the destination can already ignite those anxious feelings, so it is wise to have all your essential documents neatly together.  Even though now electronic copies can suffice, I always like to have a back-up just in case. I always have a folder in my carry-on with a copy of my passport, all itineraries and tickets, insurance, vaccination book, and sometimes my CV or contract for the job just in case.  Even if you don’t have to pull them out on your way there it makes for easy reference whenever you might need them.

And finally, a bonus mind hack for you. Give yourself a break, you are going to feel overwhelmed, nervous and homesick but it’s okay! You’ll soon settle in. You will look back on this in years to come with a sense of awe and achievement.

Did this make you reminisce  – whelement5-digital-645841-unsplashat was your first month in a new place like? Please let us know by emailing your story to editor@teacherhorizons.com. We would love to share it.  Has this post inspired you to join hundreds of other Teacherhorizons teachers on a new adventure? Set up your free profile here.

Written by Alexandra Plummer

The 4 most common questions about teaching in the UAE, answered!

So, you have heard the rumours of the magical place with tax-free salaries, lucrative saving potential and a convenient hub to explore the rest of the world—now how do you filter out the rumours from the facts? 

It can often be confusing to know what you need in order to move to the United Arab Emirates but worry not, we have you covered. This week we have pooled together the most common questions our budding international teachers ask about the UAE and have set to work answering them in a simple and digestible way… read on.

The UAE is made up of 7 Emirates. Dubai hosts the biggest population and is likely the most popular among international teachers. With a huge amount of expatriates living in the UAE, there is also a large number of International Schools—fantastic! However, this probably raises the question “how do I pick a school that is right for me?”. Teacherhorizons has covered the basics as well as a list of schools and current vacancies, here.

Search the latest teaching jobs in the Middle East. If the idea of teaching in the Middle East excites you, why not get the wheels in motion and create your profile page today (it’s free)?

Question 1: Is the UAE Tax-free?

This is the most common question posed to our advisors at Teacherhorizons. The answer is yes. The UAE is an extremely attractive place to work due to its high potential for earning and tax-free salaries. There is no income tax, so you won’t be taxed on your salary. However, you will be taxed on goods and services. Many teachers opt for the UAE as a way to save money to travel or towards securing savings for when they return to their home country.

There are many IB schools in the UAE. Skip over to one of our previous blog posts all about IB.

camelQuestion 2: Can I live with my partner if we are not married?

Short answer, no.  If you are unmarried you are unable to live with your partner in the UAE, it is illegal under Sharia Law. People of the opposite sex are only able to live together if they are married or family members.  The “Tawajed clause” in Sharia Law also prevents people from the opposite sex staying together in house-shares and even hotels. It’s important to remember that it’s a conservative Muslim country with strict laws. Expats must respect the local culture or face harsh penalties. The UK government website outlines the rules, here.

stationQuestion 3: Do I need a Bachelor of Education to work in the UAE?

Researching requirements for teaching in the UAE yields varied results which can be quite frustrating. The lack of clear answers available means it is one of the most common questions we receive at Teacherhorizons. As it stands, all teachers need a minimum of a bachelor’s degree or higher and it must be in the field you are going to teach.

The rules in the UAE are not static and recently the UAE is in the process of introducing a new licensing system for teachers.  The Teachers’ Licensing System (TLS) which was introduced in 2017 as a pilot, will apparently become a requirement by 2020. The Teachers’ Licensing System (TLS) will become a requirement for education professionals in the UAE by the end of 2020. Teachers, management and schools will all require the licence to work legally in the UAE.

Question 4: How much money can I save?

q3The general allure around working the UAE has centred around it’s earning potential. Not surprisingly, we get a lot of questions regarding saving and the cost of living in the UAE. This will vary between the Emirates. The website Numbeo is a good source for the breakdown of general costs.  The cost of living, in general, can be quite high but this is mostly down to high accommodation costs. Some international schools will provide or subsidise this allowing for further saving potential. Groceries and gas are reasonably priced. Transport is relatively affordable but if you get a car though be warned of the heavy traffic. Taxis are commonly used and inexpensive.  It will depend on your lifestyle as to how much you can save, try opting for traditional markets or bazaars to hunt down a bargain.

You can take a look at our current vacancies in the UAE here


cityscapeDo you have experience of working in the UAE? We would love to hear about your experiences.  Please feel free to reach out to us. Email us at editor@teacherhorizons.com

Written by Alexandra Plummer

Ask The Expert: Meet Jo!

Continuing our new series of Ask the Expert posts, we chat with the Teacherhorizons team who share their valuable insight into the world of international teaching. Teacherhorizons staff are teachers themselves, so they’ve been in your shoes.  This week I chatted with Jo, a Teacherhorizons Recruitment Advisor with a penchant for simple-living, wild landscapes and improving education systems around the world. Read on for a beautifully positive outlook on what it is to truly be a Global Citizen. Jo’s story is filled with valuable advice on settling into new places, the importance of being part of the local community and embracing both the highs and lows. Jo’s story simultaneously makes you want to embark on a wild adventure while also bringing to life the importance of community.

Meet Jo!

Jo is currently based in Port Moresby, Papa New Guinea with her h20170423_143119usband and their son. Their son, who is only two is already an intrepid explorer
having travelled to the UK, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Australia, Bali, Bougainville, and PNG—what a well-travelled little man. In PNG, Jo works as a Schools Advisor and Teacher Training Advisor for a group of 19 schools and education establishments in the country.  Working with predominantly local staff and some expatriates Jo focuses on performance management, school reviews and professional learning opportunities for middle management, alongside Teacher training.

A Global Citizen

After completing her PGCE, she left the UK for Tanzania and never looked back. Her professional career really flourished, alongside her love for travelling the world and really getting to know places and people. When asked about what prompted a move into international teaching her first response was escapism, but she also stated she always knew
she wanted to be a teacher. International teaching was a natural option. Embracing the unknown, which I quickly learn is the norm for Jo and her family, she went from Arusha, Tanzania to Moscow, Russia. Talk about a contrast! From there she jumped over to “sensuous Brazil” of which she adds the guidance—don’t just go for the party, take the school life seriously, too!

Jo speaks about all the places she has been to with a great fondness, not skimming over the challenging parts but instead bringing those into the charm and allure of the place. When speaking about Russia she describes it as “misunderstood”, claiming Moscow as an innovative and forward-thinking city in an extremely polarized but fascinating country.

She speaks highly of the schools and establishments she has worked with. She has had great colleagues and Professional development opportunities.

Are you interested in teaching internationally? Sign up to Teacherhorizons to see school profiles and salary packages– it’s free.

Jo’s chat was overflowing with valuable advice. Her own journey is a testament to hard work, flexibility and embracing the unknown. Her international journey started with little more than the PGCE training and now she is training teachers in PNG. She speaks highly of the opportunity that international school teaching allows including getting to work with interesting and developing schools, learning as you go. She states: “Have faith. Don’t be scared of the unknown. Don’t believe the media completely. Talk to people there. Talk to the schools.  Ask to be put in touch.  Speak to advisors at Teacherhorizons,  we all know the schools and areas so well.”

Are you adventurous about teaching in Africa? Browse our schools in Africa. You can also Read more about teaching in Tanzania, here .

Beyond the Classroom.

Jo felt a great sense of social responsibility,  born from the places she had been in. Take Russia for example, with its vast inequality that is often masked from the world. Living and working internationally definitely has its way of sparking or igniting a fire within to do something greater than just earning a salary. It is impossible not to when faced with stark realities often in contrast to home comforts. Education in emergencies was of interest to Jo, so she did a masters in international management focusing on Education development. This has led her to her current role.

Embrace the highs and lows and welcome difference.

Jo’s advice just keeps on coming. She mentions the importance of demonstrating your potential, so work your waicy mountainy up in the roles. Hard work really does pay off. A standout piece of advice is to take the highs with the lows. The highs of international education are real cultural immersion, excellent saving potential and living a truly international experience. But the lows are there, too. You are far from familiarity, family and friends. Jo and her family manage this by making the most of the holidays and travelling for visits then. There are always goodbyes, but you also become part of an international family.

Being On the Move

20170712_065921Although global citizen life involves moving, it isn’t fleeting. Jo mentions the importance of demonstrating
staying power in schools. Don’t move so often it can be disruptive.  Jo’s moves have been centred around professional improvement and promotion and averages around 4 years or so. She urges the importance of building capacity in the local area. With some work permits, you have to show that you are either training locals or there is not a local who can do your job, but even if that is not legally stated it should be your moral obligation. While you are home from home, get to know the local culture and the people this will be of great benefit to you. Don’t let language barriers get in the way. “One time in Russia on a train ride we spoke with vodka, cards and pickles! You can communicate in other ways than words!”  Don’t let language scare you off from connecting and gaining new experiences. And on that note, I will leave you with a favourite quote of Jo’s, and one her family live by:

“So never refuse an invitation, never resist the unfamiliar, never fail to be polite and never outstay the welcome. Just keep your mind open and suck in the experience. And if it hurts, you know what? It’s probably worth it.” Alex Garland






Written by Alexandra Plummer

Recent school visits

Last year we posted a blog about our recent school visits here.  In this week’s blog, we continue to share this valuable feedback. Our team at Teacherhorizons have a thorough understanding of what makes a school desirable from a teacher’s perspective. We travel to our schools and check in with the quality and environment of the place often so that we can share this wealth of information with you. We know how useful it is for teachers in making a decision about whether they would like to work there. Here are some of the schools we have visited recently, and what we found out.


british school jakarta


School name: The British School of Jakarta
Country and city: Jakarta, Indonesia 
Curriculum/s: British

Who visited?: Alex




How did you get to the school? 

I took a taxi to the school early in the morning – still slightly jetlagged from a long flight from London. Traffic in Jakarta is famously bad and there’s a saying that it ‘takes two hours to go anywhere in Jakarta’. That is a slight exaggeration and I wasn’t staying too far away but we still managed to bump into a motorbike, luckily he was fine – he hardly turned back to look (seems pretty standard for Jakarta!) It helped wake me up though and it was amazing watching hundreds of people, children and animals all rushing around starting their days as we drove through the hot busy streets in the morning sunshine.

Where is it located? 

The British School of Jakarta is located in the outskirts of town which is why the campus is so big and green. The area is called Bintaro, in South Tangerang and it’s a quieter more residential part of town, away from the madness of the city centre. Jakarta has a population of over 10 million so being based in a quieter neighbourhood makes it a much more appealing place to work than other parts of the city.

How big was the school? 

The school was founded in 1973 and has become one of the mgardenost established and highly regarded schools in South East Asia. It has grown considerably over the years and now has almost 1,500 students from nursery to eighteen. Students are from all over the world.

What were the buildings and facilities like? 
The campus is one of the biggest I have visited – set in a fourteen-hectare campus and with beautifully designed buildings and gardens. Classrooms are spacious and well equipped. The school even has its own clinic on the campus!
Did you speak to any staff members? If so, how were they finding it? 
Yes – I know a few teachers there from previous visits. I also visited a friend of mine from back in the old days when I used to teach in Japan. He lives in a place called Country Woods Residences which is a housing area where lots of BSJ teachers live. It’s a relaxed and comfortable place to live with gardens, a pool and a cafe where residents can socialise. It’s also really safe for children to play which is an added bonus.
What was the best thing about the school in your opinion?

There are many great things about the school but I think one of its big draws is the package they offer. As the cost of living is low in Indonesia, most teachers are able to save considerably. I think the other great thing about the school is that it is located about half an hour from Jakarta’s international airport so teachers can easily get to a wide range of destinations around South East Asia for holidays and even places like Bali for weekends



School name: Deira Private School
Country and city: Dubai, UAE. 
Curriculum/s: UK national curriculum
Who visited?: Laura


How did you get to the school? Where is it located?
 DePS is located in Dubai and it is easy to get to and well connected to the city. Staff live all over the UAE and the school provides a free bus service for them every day to and from the school.
How big was the school?
The school had a very community-based feel and there are 28 teachers employed from a variety of countries. The main theme connecting these teachers is their strong understanding of UK national curriculum pedagogy and practice. The school embraces different cultures but all the teachers have a very good understanding of the UK NC. The Head has over 20 years’ experience from the UK and has a great relationship with staff and students which is evident to see when walking around on the tour with her.
What were the buildings and facilities like?
The buildings are not typically flashy with extensive facilities but the space is utilised very well and the corridors and classroom displays are wonderfulIMG_7098
Did you speak to any staff members? If so, how were they finding it?
 No,  but the staff seemed happy and the Head said the staff team are very friendly and collaborative.
What was the best thing about the school in your opinion?
The children first and foremost were wonderful, some even came to shake my hand whilst on the tour! They are clearly very happy at their school and enjoy school life. The school will allow teachers opportunities for promotion and career development. One teacher who joined with the Head as a regular teacher is now a Senior Leader
Were there any downsides that teachers should be aware of?
 The salary is only able to support a teacher without dependents and teachers must be able to happily integrate into the culture of the UAE as nearly all of the students are from various Arab countries including 30% local Emirati students

Have a read of our Happy Teacher Archives, for more happy teachers in Europe and other locations.

Country and city: Beijing, China
Curriculum/s: Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate (DP), International Baccalaureate (MYP), International Baccalaureate (PYP), SAT Reasoning Test
Who visited?: Maggie
How did you get to the school? 

Travelling in China can be a little tricky because you can’t access Google maps, so it is a good idea to plan your journey the night before. I usually take lots of screenshots so that I can navigate without the use of the internet! The metro is easy to use though and there is an app called Didi which is the Chinese version of Uber. When visiting schools, I tend to get to the nearest metro station and take a Didi the rest of the way so that I don’t get lost. A good tip is to have a Chinese version of the school’s address because most taxi drivers don’t understand English. 

 Where is it located? 

The school is located in the Chaoyang District of Beijing which is one of the largest districts, but the school itself is tucked away from the hustle and bustle of the main city. 

How big was the school? 

The school has an amazing campus and it is incredibly well-resourced. There is a river that runs through the campus and to get from one part of the school to the other, you have to walk over a huge bridge which has a fantastic view. Despite the size of the campus, it still has a friendly feel and I felt very welcome. The school was founded in 1994 and has over 1,500 students. 

What were the buildings and facilities like? 

IMG_1058The buildings are pretty huge – they are modern, clean and well-maintained with fully equipped classrooms as well as a theatre, gym and swimming pool. There is an air purification system in the whole school (every class, gym, auditorium, offices, corridors etc) that keep the indoor air very clean and purified. There are also tranquil areas such as the Chinese Garden, Secret Garden, Peace Park and Duck Lake. I was lucky to visit on a clear, sunny day and the outdoor areas were vibrant and colourful. 

Did you speak to any staff members? If so, how were they finding it? 

The staff at the school were very friendly, happy and welcoming. There is a very low staff turnover and most teachers stay for several years often extending their contracts. To have this school on your CV would definitely open the doors to most international schools around the world! 

What was the best thing about the school in your opinion?

The campus was one of the best that I have ever seen! A great mix of spaces dedicated to learning as well as areas that can be used to relax and take in the scenery. Beijing is an amazing place to live; the capital city of one of the world’s fastest-growing countries with easy access to many cultural attractions and endless food options as well as great public transport and a cheap cost of living

Were there any downsides that teachers should be aware of?
The school is a little way out of town, so it may be too quiet for some teachers. However, it is pretty easy to get into the centre of Beijing. When I was in Beijing most of the days were sunny and clear, on other days the pollution was quite bad. The pollution has definitely improved in recent years, but it is still something to consider when moving to Beijing.

We have over 2000 schools in over 160 countries, so it might take us a while to get around them all, but we endeavour to! We visit new schools every month, so keep an eye out for more blogs like this one in the future.

Written by Alexandra Plummer

Teaching abroad with your pet

You are all set for embarking upon pastures new—you are picturing the new lifestyle, maybe you even have an international teaching position in the pipeline, but there is a vital consideration that leaves you feeling uncertain. What happens to little Muggins, your cat? Or Dodger, your dog? Travelling with pets as an international teacher is becoming much more common but there are still a lot of questions floating about. Therefore, we have decided to consolidate these into key considerations for moving with your pet.

Travelling with your pet requires detailed planning. It is also a challenging subject as it changes depending on the country you are moving from and, too. When I was in Japan I met Roger, the cat. Roger was a beautiful British Shorthair and I fell in love with him. The owners, both international school teachers, were moving to Nairobi, Kenya and decided it was better if Roger resided in the land of Sushi for a little longer rather than make the journey and battle with the minefield of pet-relocation. However, had they known of the right avenues to take maybe they would have reconsidered.

Thinking of moving to Japan? Hop on over to our previous blog on living in Japan. 

1: Location, location, locamarion micheletion. 

The most import thing is to find information that is relevant for your location, the one you are moving from and the one you are heading to. Embassy websites are actually a big help here. Another key consideration is not just how to get your pet out of the country with you but what to do when you return. Often this is where issues arrive as you might be struck with long quarantine times. For the UK, the government website has a section on returning pets to the UK.

2: Transportation options.

There are actually many options for having your beloved furry creature with you. Some airlines allow you to take your pets with you as carry-on luggage. But again, be sure to check the countries that do allow this as not all do. When pets are travelling with you as carry-on it is required that they remain in the case for the duration of the flight. There are strict rules pertaining to this of which the specific airline you are flying with can instruct you. An alternative, though not quite as reassuring, is taking them on the same flight, but in the baggage cargo hold. If you contact the Airline specifically they might also be able to arrange a service for your pet, and they can travel under the category of “live animal cargo”.

3: Prerequisites.

Despite which options of shipping you decide on, make sure all the prerequisites are taken care of of-vaccination and permit requirements being the most crucial. Your pet needs to be proven healthy and fit for travel before you leave, this means having had all the relevant vaccinations. Depending on where you are from visiting your country of residence’s government website is your bpatrick hendryest bet. For UK citizens you can visit Gov.UK for a comprehensive list of what you need. Also, as a UK citizen bear in mind that a no-deal Brexit will affect the rules for travelling with your pet to other countries in the EU as they will become classed as an unlisted country. You can read more on that, here. It is most likely that in addition to vaccinations you will require a vet certificate that states your pet is in good health for the relocation. Both the airline and destination country will require the certification to fit within a specific time-frame. Some countries are 1 month, some might require a more last minute trip to the vet, around 10 days.

Tip 4: Culture.
timothy meinberg

Now that you are mostly set and prepared for the trip, it is time to get clued up on pet etiquette of the country you are moving to. Having a pet-friendly place is obviously of high priority, so check in with the place you are going to be. If you are on the campus of the school, reach out to them directly to find out if they allow pets onsite. If your accommodation is not yet sorted you could always find an interim pet-friendly Airbnb until you get your bearings.  Beyond the logistics of them living with you, it is worth asking yourself some questions like the following. How do they consider pets as part of the culture and how do they treat them? For example, will there be other people with pets and will you be able to walk, or house your pet easily?

Moving with your pet can be done but requires organization. Hope this helps!

Do you have experience of moving abroad with your pet? We would love to hear about your experiences with this.  Please feel free to reach out to us and share your story at editor@teacherhorizons.com

Written by Alexandra Plummer