I look back on the three years I spent in the United Arab Emirates as the best years of my life.
I made friends for life and got to live next door to them, I had a lot of extra money for the first time because I didn’t have the pressures of paying rent, and it was always hot.
Before graduating in 2015 I pondered what my next move would be once I finished my undergrad.
I was used to the college experience; living with my best friends, counting every penny, and just taking each day as it came while cramming in lectures and study where possible.
When SABIS came to my university, I was immediately drawn in by the idea of living in a hot country, getting professional work experience, and having an expendable income – something I was not used to as a college student.
If you’re thinking of packing your suitcase and jetting off to the UAE after you graduate (no one would blame you after the lockdowns we’ve endured), there are some key facts worth knowing before you do.
I sent off my applications and went through the interview rounds. SABIS handles all the visa work and requirements, so the effort put into the application pays off later.
There are seven beautiful Emirates in the UAE: Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Fujairah, Ras-al-Khaimah, and Umm al-Quwain.
You will be asked what your order of preference is, so it’s a good idea to do your research on the Emirates ahead of time.
Things to consider before taking the plunge:
In the lead-up to my new adventure, elderly family members had concerns about the culture or whether I would be accepted there.
Fellow college students, on the other hand, had more serious concerns: “Can you even drink there?”
Yes, there are some things one should know before making the big move.
It is important to respect their culture, for example, public displays of affection and drunken disorderly behaviour should be avoided, and covering up a little more for work or public spaces like the Dubai Mall is very much an unspoken rule.
To answer the other question, there are an array of brunches to attend every weekend.
Brunches maintain their popularity as it is an excuse to get dressed up to hang out at the most luxurious hotels in Dubai and enjoy an all-day buffet of food and alcohol with your friends in a safe and controlled – but fun – environment. No night out at home will ever be the same once you get a taste of brunching.
Teaching was new to me, and I had no experience. SABIS recruits students fresh out of college and flies them out two weeks ahead of the returning teachers so they can be trained before the term begins.
The type of degree you have will influence what age group and subjects you will teach while in the UAE. For example, I had a BA in English and Sociology and I taught Social Studies to ages 7-8 and English to ages 3-4.
Every year more and more expats arrive in the UAE to work. The community of Irish people is a tight-knit one and people become friends very fast. You work together, live together, and party together. It doesn’t get much closer than that, does it?
SABIS house their staff in rent-free accommodation, and everyone has a roommate.
Compounds are always together so that the school bus can bring you to and from work, so you’ll be seeing a lot of your colleagues which creates a close bond that can only bloom away from the pressures of the working day.
If you are thinking of moving and teaching in the UAE, I highly recommend it and think it’s a brilliant next move straight out of college – especially if you’re unsure of what career path to take yet, or just need a break from education for a while.
It’s also important to know if you decide to stay working for SABIS for two years you receive a handsome bonus, and the longer you stay the more gratuity pay you will receive when you do leave so you’ll always walk away with some savings.
SABIS are currently recruiting for the academic year 2022/3. More information can be found at on their website.