Abu Dhabi is one of the seven emirates which make up United Arab Emirates (UAE). Aside from being the most populous and wealthiest emirate of the seven, Abu Dhabi also serves as the political, legislative and judicial seats of the UAE government.
Abu Dhabi, like the other sheikdoms in the federation, originated from nomadic Bedouin tribes which have inhabited the region from antiquity. However, they only attained nation state status in 1820 when tribal leaders signed a treaty with Britain and became protectorates of the British Empire. Abu Dhabi, alongside six other protectorates, declared independence in 1971, and they have been ruled by the Al Nahyan royal house since then.
Although its economy is dominated by oil exports, Abu Dhabi has arguably the most diversified economy in the Middle East after Israel. The forward thinking Al Nahyan’s have been working hard over the past four decades to reduce the country’s dependency on oil and gas, and the country now can boast of significant international presence in a wide range of industries ranging from aviation to renewable energy.
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Abu Dhabi has a relatively large presence of expatriates from many countries. Due to this, the international schools and private schools here adhere to a wide range of curriculum adapted from many countries, including the United States, Britain and Australia, tailored to meet the expectations of the expat groups.
As such, foreign teachers working in Abu Dhabi usually have to adapt to the unique curriculum of the school they are working at. Even the syllabi of public schools differ between one another. Abu Dhabi also has a shortage of schools, so teachers should be prepared to teach classes that are filled to the brim.
On the plus side, the large number of expat communities found here means foreign teachers have readymade groups to socialise with. This is quite useful, since teachers enjoy a five-day, 40-hour week, and there is really little to see and do after the first couple of weeks.
Nevertheless, it is important to remember that while Abu Dhabi is a relatively liberal Islamic state, the social norms here differ significantly from western countries. Public displays of affection can literally land you in jail!
Abu Dhabi has a strict minimum requirement that all foreign teachers must meet before they are issued with a visa and work permit.
• BA degree holder, minimally
• Accredited teaching certification from country of origin
• Native English speaking and writing fluency
• Two years teaching experience, minimally
Please note that many schools will have higher requirements, most notably in terms of teaching experience.
Foreign teachers in Abu Dhabi are paid quite well. A BA holder with teaching qualification and experience can look forward to earning AED200,000 annually (about £42,000). In addition, most schools will provide accommodation (or housing allowance), basic healthcare, annual airfare and annual bonus.
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