An oil-rich country with a tumultuous modern history, Kuwait experienced a speedy economic turnaround after its participation in the Second Gulf War. Currently one of the wealthiest nations in the Middle East, Kuwait is home to a great deal of foreigners looking to snag a piece of the action. This small country, made of desert and beach landscapes, is an ideal destination for those interested in Arab culture and do not mind year-long sunshine!Photo credit: Aziz J.Hayat
In recent years, Kuwait’s Ministry of Education set goals to create a more inclusive education system. It strives to provide educational resources to all social classes, students with special needs, and particularly women. The government hopes to see a greater role of women in the professional workforce in the future. In 2008, Kuwait achieved the highest literacy rate in Arab region: 94%.
A former British colony, Kuwait established several international schools, such as Kuwait International English School, adopted a British curriculum; American schools are also quite prevalent today. Teaching jobs are not limited to English language classes, within these schools, as they need instructors of all subjects.
Some local schools, like Kuwait Bilingual School, teach a bilingual curriculum, in order for students to gain fluency in both Arabic and English. Bilingual schools hire native English speakers, although some knowledge of conversational Arabic would be extremely helpful for instruction as an ESL instructor.
When and Where to Look for Jobs:
Schools typically recruit semi-annually. Kuwait City is the capital and home to many of the hiring schools.
English teachers are required to have about 1-2 years of experience, as well as a teaching certification (TEFL/TESOL). Most employers require a BA/BS. Native English speakers are preferred.
Salary & Cost of Living:
A typical yearly salary ranges from $35,000-$50,000 USD/year (tax-free). Flights, accommodation or accommodation allowance, and health insurance are all included in contracts. It is possible to save some of your salary since rent is often compensated.
Classroom & Work Culture:
Kuwaiti culture is very family-oriented and it is not uncommon to witness families sharing stories as entertainment. Even though there are numerous foreign workers and expats living in Kuwait, you will not find Western amenities, particularly bars and nightclubs. Don’t expect to have many options in terms of nighttime activities in Kuwait!
Women should have their shoulders and knees covered while teaching or in public. The Islamic dress code is not mandatory here, like it is in Saudi Arabia. However, it is suggested to dress conservatively while out and about.