Why Dubai? Part 2

My post about The World's Fastest City seems to have attracted a lot of views. Recently I had yet another e-mail from a teacher, via TES, asking me about what it is like to teach (and live) in the UAE, so here is one of my replies. This time I have included a few photos from our time in RAK.

Lunch at the excellent "Green Valley" Indian restaurant
Dear Danielle,

Quite a lot of teachers have written to me recently, to ask me about teaching in the UAE. I have put several posts about this on my blog, bulgariawithnoodles.blogspot.com

In a nutshell, I would say that salaries for teachers in the UAE have more or less stagnated in the last six or seven years. During this time, the cost of living in the Emirates has definitely gone up quite a bit. Yes, some schools do still pay quite well, but not that many. This means, of course, that there are relatively few teaching posts available at the better schools and there will be a lot of competition for the posts that do appear. Many schools are looking for ways to cut costs and to shave off some of the benefits that they have given to their teachers in the past.

At the Hiton Beach Club
Another problem that you need to consider is the matter of school fees. Yes, some schools do give two "free" places to their teachers, but many give only one and then they offer a percentage reduction on the second child. 

The very LOUD mosque that was close to our apartment

Secondly, you should also bear in mind that "free"school places might not be actually free. You might find yourself paying for all kinds of unexpected and outrageous "extras", such as registration fees, testing fees, school uniforms, lunches, stationery, textbooks, transport etc., etc. Even if you are only paying 30% of the school fees, this could still be a lot of money. 

The road from Dubai to RAK

In the TES, I have written quite a lot about what has euthemistically been called "comprehensive medical insurance" in the UAE. Yes, it is true that you might be covered by the school's medical insurance, but your children probably will not be. At an interview, the school's principal will no doubt make encouraging and positive noises when the subject of medical cover is mentioned, but anyone teaching in the UAe must understand that the medical insurance company will actually go by the terms of the contract, not by what was said (or implied) at your job interview. When I applied for a teaching job in the UAE, I was told that the insurance cover was "comprehensive" and "very good". It was nothing of the kind. 

As a teacher, the school should provide you with flights to the UAE and back, but I doubt if they will also pay for your children's flights.

The road to Oman (the best thing in the UAE!)
On top of these little problems, there is also the matter of becoming "non-resident for the purposes of taxation". As I understand it, if you are not a non-resident, then the UK Taxman can tax you on any income, whether it was earned in the UK or not. On the other hand, there might be some serious implications for you and for your children if you decide that you do want to become "non-resident". Well, I am not an accountant or a lawyer, so really you need to get some professional advice on this one.

After the fish, you sit in the chair
I am sorry if all of this seems to be a bit negative, but I think that it is better and more honest to paint a picture that is a bit too dark, rather than one that is rather rose-tinted and too optimistic.

Best wishes and stay in touch!

Simon Hill

(aka the hippo)


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