I had not previously been presented with the opportunity to travel or work abroad. As I began to research opportunities, I became fascinated with the options available and culture of schools in the Middle East. It seemed an excellent context to develop professionally and personally and, so far, has not disappointed me.
I am an American educator with 28 years experience, the last 5 years working as a school principal. I am currently working as a principal for for a private primary school in Kuwait. This is my first year teaching abroad.
Why did you choose this program?
What did your program provider assist you with, and what did you have to organize on your own?
My program provider, Teach Away, assisted me with technical and personal support in selecting positions to apply for that were the best match for my experience and skill set. With their guidance, I organized my resume and gathered documents that would be anticipated for visa processes.
I arranged for my own transportation (flight, car rental) and accommodations that enabled me to attend interviews in my home country at sites that were not near my local residence.
What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?
I encourage any educator to initiate the process by selecting a service agency, browsing their listings, and setting up your online profile.
What does an average day/week look like as a participant of this program?
Once I used Teach Away's services to locate and secure my position, I became employed as an individual with a private school company. My work week is a 5 day week from Sunday to Thursday, 7 am to 2:30 p.m most days, with some extra time devoted to planning outside of school hours.
We are required to facilitate and participate in a limited number of evening activities that are normal and necessary for the education of the children. Examples of these are parent information presentations, conferences, and arts program performances.
Going into your experience abroad, what was your biggest fear, and how did you overcome it and/or how did your views on the issue change?
My biggest fear was safety and adjusting to the culture. My fears were alleviated as I connected with other teachers online and expats abroad in my destination country to find out what to expect, what to bring, and details about daily life.
What do you think is most important for a prospective traveler to know?
I think prospective travelers want to know as much as possible about the school day, accommodations, transportation, what to pack, and what items to purchase at destination.
Also, as much information about the visa process as possible. The immigration process is lengthy, confusing, and often frustrating. It is important for a new candidate to know as much as possible about what to expect, support provided to get started in accommodations and at school, and having patient point of contact is most helpful.
Reassuring candidates that it is okay if they arrive after the school year/contract has started. It happens often as the visa process cannot be controlled.