Two and a half years ago, I changed our lives forever. I changed our direction, our finances, our opportunities and our vision of the World. People don't believe me when I say I answered an ad on Craigslist for my first position overseas. Not only was it Craigslist, it was for a position in the Middle East...in Abu Dhabi to be exact. Here's the ad that moved myself and my family across the ocean.
Location: Abu Dhabi, UAE
Monthly Salary: AED 12,300-20,400 tax-free (approximately $3400-$5400 USD)/month
Contract Duration: 2 years
Estimated Start Date: August 2010
Working Hours: 07:30-15:00, Sunday to Thursday
Flight: Return airfare provided for candidate, spouse, and up to 3 dependants
Housing: Single housing provided (furnished or furniture allowance given)
Health insurance: Provided for candidate, spouse, and up to 3 dependants
Visa Sponsorship: Sponsored by the school
Vacation: Summer vacation; national holidays
Additional Benefits: 1 month salary per year completion bonus; 2-5 foreign teachers per school; tax-free salary; annual flight allowance
We packed up our home and put it in storage, we rented out our home and we left the United States with fifteen suitcases. The Middle East had us now, and we were committed to making it work. Of course we went with some apprehension and wondered if we'd return on the next flight back, but we wanted to make sure we weren't missing an opportunity. I've written many stories for Traveling Mom about our early adventures here, the culture, settling in and the ups and downs of being here. But everyone still asks me how to apply and start a journey overseas. Below are four sources I highly recommend for getting you started on your career overseas. Click on any of their names to take you to the site.
This is the company behind the Craigslist ad I answered back in 2010. I adore them and we still talk to this day, even though I am now with a new employer. The process was easy thanks to the personalized attention you get. If you choose this route, make sure to say hello from me!
This is the company that brought me to where I am now. They were very professional, easy to use and provided one stop shopping for teaching around the world. The database is easy to use and it offers you the ability to check out compensation packages as well as emailing schools directly with your CV. They hold job fairs around the world in centralized locations, and representatives are assigned to each area. I can't speak for other areas, but the Middle East representative was on the ball and easy to reach when needed.
tes is a way to look up jobs around the world easily, free and anytime you want. Jobs are listed as they come with instructions on who to email with your CV.
My current position has me teaching in an IB school. Now that I know this is the education system I want to stick with, I will continue to use their website in the future to find jobs in areas we'd like to be. Like tes, it's free, easy to use and it gives you instructions on who to email with your CV.
If you choose to take the leap and move overseas, I can't promise it will be hassle free, perfect or even enjoyable. Let's face it, everyone has their own comfort zone and tolerance levels. We love the Middle East, two and a half years later we're still here. But I know plenty of people who left after a year, a few months, even after a few days. Research your area, have a realistic view of the culture, understand your compensation package inside and out, ask about your housing conditions. Basically, don't take it lightly that you are moving around the world, but do have fun and enjoy the endless possibilities outside your front door step.