When you think about Teaching English as a Foreign Language you probably think of Thailand, don’t you? Or Spain or Russia or Argentina. There are a lot of possible destinations where you can go to Teach English as a Foreign Language and some tend to be more popular than others. Countries like South Korea, China, and Japan consistently rank as the top destinations for TEFL teachers, but there are a number of countries that are growing in popularity that you might not have thought of before. One of those regions is the Middle East.
Have you ever considered the Middle East?
Didn’t think so.
But that’s a mistake. Teaching in the Middle East is an experience like no other. It is an adventure into countries which are so different from any others. Truth be told, the Middle East is an intriguing mixture of barren desert, centuries-old traditions, futuristic cities, and modern tastes. A clash of modern and traditional like nowhere else. We understand you might be hesitant to live in the Middle East if you are coming from a very different cultural background, but we urge you to consider this region – for so many reasons!
Read more: Teaching in Saudi Arabia as a Woman
Teaching English in Qatar
Now of course many people have heard of teaching in Saudi Arabia, but you should give some thought to its smaller, younger neighbour: Qatar. Qatar is a tiny country with a big heart. Qatar is now what Dubai was twenty years ago, so it is on the brink of serious development and innovation, yet it still has the look and feel of an ancient Middle Eastern state.
Because it is so small, there aren’t a huge amount of opportunities for TEFL teachers, but those that are available are well worth looking into. The cost of living in Qatar is undeniably high, so your salary will be high and your school will provide you with (usually furnished) accommodation. Your water and electricity bills will be paid for and you will be remunerated for an annual flight home. Plus in summer most schools only operate four days a week, which means – yes! – a three-day weekend, every weekend!
Things to do in Qatar
The general heat is another reason schools might start early in the morning and end early in the afternoon, or you might even find yourself teaching only in the evenings. Which means a lot of free time in which to spend your hard-earned money.
In Qatar, it seems like shopping is the national sport, with amazingly huge malls down every street. The malls have everything – cinemas, ice rinks, bowling alleys, rollercoasters, even a Venetian-style canal system with gondolas.
If shopping is not your vibe, you can take a stroll down the Corniche (the waterfront promenade), or hang out at the Museum of Islamic Art. If you’re feeling adventurous, jump into a 4X4 and go on a dune safari through the desert to the Inland Sea, where you can swim in the warm waters while catching a glimpse of Saudi Arabia.
The real reason to work in Qatar, though, is the travelling opportunities. Qatar has become an international transport hub with loads of flights coming in and out of Doha every day. In fact, you’ve probably already stopped over there on your way to somewhere else! It’s extremely easy to jump on a flight and head to Sri Lanka, Austria, or Morocco. Or, if you prefer to stay in the area, you can hop over to Dubai, Saudi Arabia, or Oman. There are very few places where travel is so quick and easy.
Qatar is a strictly Islamic country, so you need to be aware of what is and isn’t socially and culturally acceptable. Women especially need to be conservative in terms of dress. Also, unmarried couples of the opposite sex cannot live in the same house or apartment. But yes, it is possible to go to a pub, though you need to know where to go and what time happy hour is! Alcohol is very expensive in Qatar but there are many specials you can take advantage of. There is only one shop in Qatar where you can buy alcohol and bacon for home consumption, but you will need to apply for a license to be able to shop there.
Teaching opportunities in Qatar
In Qatar, the majority of TEFL opportunities are in language schools, international schools, and universities. It’s also possible to teach in the military. Qatar is a very multicultural country because it has a large expatriate population, so you can expect to teach Young Learners, teens, and adults from a range of different countries. Students in Qatar (both Qatari and foreign) have a bit of a bad reputation but this is the same everywhere – you may need to adapt your teaching methods to find the most effective way to teach your students.
Read more: Finding EFL Materials For EFL Students
Most of the teaching vacancies can be found in the capital of Doha but Ar Rayyan is another possibility. Qatar is a very small country so no matter where you are, you won’t be far away from any other spot in Qatar!
Because the teaching conditions are so favourable to teachers, you need to be an experienced teacher to teach in Qatar. You also need to have a Bachelor’s degree. Some schools may require you to have a teacher’s license but many will accept a TEFL certificate, as long as you have a few years of experience.
Teachers in Qatar typically earn $2 500 to $3 500 a month, tax-free. Generally speaking, the more qualified you are, the higher your earning potential. And don’t forget that with all the included extras, your salary will go a lot further than normal.
Read more: Top Paid TEFL Destinations
Requirements for teaching English in Qatar
All in all, Qatar is an interesting destination for TEFL teachers, but definitely, one worth looking into. So, if you think you’ll be able to handle a bit of heat (and by a bit we mean a lot!) and a load of culture, consider Qatar as one of your job options. It truly is the experience of a lifetime.