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South African teacher story - Amy in Bahrain

Exploring the stories and real-life adventures of teaching in the Middle East as a South African educator can be truly enlightening, offering valuable insights for those considering international teaching roles.


In this blog, we're keeping it authentic by asking teachers we've placed a few straightforward questions and letting them share their experiences in their own words. Our aim? To give you a good idea of what teaching in the Middle East entails.


Amy was placed by SA-Recruitment at a top IB school in Bahrain in September 2023 and has graciously agreed to participate in this Q&A-style blog. She'll be sharing her advice, anecdotes, and perspectives on what it's like to teach as a South African in an international school setting.


Why did you contact SA-Recruitment to assist you in securing you a position abroad?


I had been teaching in the same environment for too long, and I wanted a change. I had been following SA-Recruitment for a while, and their page seemed quirky, yet informative and professional. I emailed them after a particularly bad day in the classroom, and had a great connection with Nicole from the start!


From there, the process was quick and smooth. Nicole stood by me every step of the way and made sure that everything was handled for me to be able to leave feeling confident and comfortable.

sunset and palm trees
Bahrain sunset

What do you enjoy most about teaching abroad?


I enjoy being immersed in different cultures. Teaching abroad and making a country your home for a year or more really allows you to get a feel for a country so much more than just a vacation allows. I enjoy meeting new people, and finding the amazing hidden gems and connections of a place that one would not usually stumble across on a quick tourist visit!


What has been the most challenging thing about living in a new country and teaching in a new school environment?


It is challenging leaving home and starting over. You miss things that are familiar to you, and simple things like spotting a South African product in a shop becomes really exciting and can make your day!

It is both fun and challenging to explore new friendships and new connections with the people around you.

Another challenge is simply that very little is familiar, and so you feel like you are starting all over again.

In international schools, systems and hierarchies can be quite different. Children and parents often also have different relationships with us as teachers, to those we have in our home countries. It's challenging learning to navigate these, but it's also a wonderful opportunity to grow in one's practice and sharpen one's skills both personally and professionally.



How does the cost of living compare to South Africa?


The cost of living abroad is significantly higher than it is South Africa. However, one needs to remember that you are earning the local currency, which makes a huge difference and allows for everything to be affordable, with extra opportunity to save significantly more than you ever could back home.


What are some of the best things you enjoy about the lifestyle abroad?


Everyday is an adventure. Everyday you experience something new. Everyday you feel as if you have grown a little more and achieved new things.


How have you grown as a teacher and as a person?


Most definitely! I have grown in ways that I never imagined I would, and whenever I visit family and friends at home they are able to see it immediately. It makes for some great conversations!


How do you feel about safety?


I don't have to worry about safety whilst at home or at school.



What is the best advice you can give to teachers considering the move?


Take the leap of faith and do it! If you realise you are not enjoying it, home is a flight away. But if you never take the chance, you will never know.


Any apps etc. you could recommend to new teachers coming over?


Talabat! It will allow you into a world of all sorts of foods!


Any further comments or information you feel might be useful for a new teacher to know.


Try your best to find someone to speak to who is already living in the country that you are moving to. They will be able to give you all sorts of inside information that can help you with navigating budgeting, car rental, eating out, beaches etc.



Amy's honest portrayal of the pros and cons of teaching at an international school as a South African educator is refreshingly candid and grounded in reality. As an agency, we consistently stress the importance of thorough research and preparation for such opportunities, and this blog serves as an invaluable resource for those embarking on this journey.

If you're eager to delve deeper into the requirements, available teaching positions, the application process, and how SA-Recruitment can guide and support you every step of the way, simply hop over to our website and reach out to us via the CONTACT US section.










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