There are far more than 7 reasons to become a TEFL teacher in Saudi Arabia, but here are our favourite:
While the heat can be extremely scorching from July to September, for around 9 months of the year the country experiences reliable and consistent weather conditions which many considered to be idyllic. Things hit perfection during the winter months when conditions are mild, with warm evenings and a refreshing cool breeze either side of the working day. Even during the hottest months things are far less humid than one might expect with almost no significant rainfall throughout (less than an inch per year). TEFL teachers heading to Saudi Arabia should pack a light jacket for the morning and evening breeze, and short sleeves and suntan lotion for all other times.
TEFL teachers in Saudi Arabia will get the opportunity to live in safe and secure housing compounds. While they may sound like army camps they are more like luxurious fortress, with high standards of housing and facilities as good as anything you could wish for back in the west. These compounds typically include gyms, pools, saunas and lots of other sports and entertainment facilities, allowing foreign teachers to mix and socialize with other expatriates while living in an environment more relaxed towards local traditions and customs.
At the heart of the Middle East and with lots of low budget airlines and traveling options, Saudi Arabia is one of the best hubs for global travel, and the perfect home base to explore the Islamic nations. Flights aren’t quite as cheap as parts of Southeast Asia but they are very much affordable and cheaper than you would expect to find back in the west, while airports are typically clean, modern and hassle free, making long weekends away a constant temptation.
While pork and alcohol are banned, TEFL teachers in Saudi Arabia can expect to find just about all their favourite foods from back home in the numerous international restaurants and large supermarkets, with many imported foods cheaper than you might expect. However, the local food is the real treat with lots of strong flavours and spices. Arabian cuisine is based around rich dishes of meat, rice, wheat, vegetables and spices, with some of the most unique flavours you will every taste.
For many foreigners teaching in Saudi Arabia one of the highlights of local cuisine are the delicious wraps filled with shaved lamb, beef or chicken, warm and dripping with tasty tahini and hummus, know locally as shawarmas. You can buy shawarmas just about everywhere and at almost all times of day, with restaurants and food carts serving them fresh from large heated spits of meat. Not only are they tasty and filling, they are also very cheap!
With certain things prohibit in Saudi Arabia, from pork and alcohol to bars and movie theatres, many choose to spend their long weekends across the border in Bahrain where things are far more liberal and tolerant of western lifestyles. Bahrain has all the pork and alcohol you can handle, with somewhat wild nightlife and cinemas showing the latest blockbuster movies. Bahrain also allows woman to drive and they are not required to wear the abaya.
The teaching packages
While there maybe be some small challenges and cultural aspects some foreign teachers in Saudi Arabia will need to adjust to, the financial rewards waiting for them in this safe, warm nation are among the best in the world. Many TEFL teacher in Saudi Arabia leave the country will earn far more than they can spend, with tax free earnings and housing and health care typically covered as part of your teaching package. While there are many other positives about teaching in Saudi Arabia, including the experience of working with local children and the respect given to teachers, there are few other places in the world where the financial rewards of teaching English are so great.