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Middle East Vs Far East

Discussion in 'Teaching abroad' started by Mrs_CS, Aug 10, 2019.

  1. Mrs_CS

    Mrs_CS New commenter

    So whilst looking at different places to work I have noticed that people who have only lived in ME (e.g Abu Dhabi) have loved it there. However people that have worked in both, prefer Far East (Singapore or KL). I often hear and read comments such as "Singapore over Abu Dhabi every time" or "I would rather bring up my children in KL or Singapore rather than Middle East" but not exactly sure for what reasons. Could anybody shed any light? Thank you in advance!
  2. makhnovite

    makhnovite Established commenter

    Generally its a matter of personal preference. I have many friends and ex-colleagues who have been in Bahrain, Dubai and Abu Dhabi for many years and wouldn't dream of leaving, despite the despotic regimes, the heat and the cost of living. I also have friends who have been in HK and Singapore for many years and view it similarly, despite the despotic regimes, the humidity and the cost of living.

    For me the essential difference is it is a much more relaxed lifestyle in S.E. Asia, the availability of a range of goods and services, and finally the people are a lot nicer and more welcoming. I am sure that many of the usual suspects will be a long in a minute to explain their viewpoint in more detail.
    SPC2 likes this.
  3. gulfgolf

    gulfgolf Established commenter

    I’ve done both and loved both for very different reasons.
    Mr_Frosty likes this.
  4. Powergnome3

    Powergnome3 Occasional commenter

    I have been a huge advocate of Abu Dhabi since our arrival 5 years ago... to us, it has been a wonderful place to live - very clean, safe, and enjoyable - and if you are in the right school (there are only 3 or 4 I would work for/suggest) then allows a teacher a great lifestyle...
    However, we would still look further east potentially - many friends are there, and enjoy the greater personal freedoms (in essence, two things - the ability to wear what you want when you want, and the ability to watch the world go by while drinking a beer in a roadside bar - two things you cannot do here).
    Although, the climate of humidity throughout the year in most of these places does worry me - I enjoy the stability of knowing that there is 4 months amazing weather, 4 months of “oh it’s a bit hot” and 4 months of “flippin hell, get me out of here”!!
    Mr_Frosty likes this.
  5. SPC2

    SPC2 Occasional commenter

    Done both, and agree one person's (halal) meat can be another's poison. Horses for courses or, for some, a career meal of different courses based on evolving preferences.
  6. gulfgolf

    gulfgolf Established commenter

    ME: very safe, family friendly, everything available in the shops (sometimes for a steep price), salary packages range from average to awesome
    FE: safety ranges from very safe (Singapore) to downright dangerous, with most places at a moderate level; most things but not everything available, many things are cheaper, family friendly until you wander into the wrong tourist street, not safe to send your children out on their own (in most cities), more activities and concerts on offer than the ME (in certain cities) and you'll pay for the privilege, salary packages range from paltry to awesome, work pressures tend to be higher

    But it's depending on exactly which city, country and school.
  7. SPC2

    SPC2 Occasional commenter

    While agreeing with all of the above, would add that the ME's greater proximity to the UK is a big factor for some.

    When I was in the ME anyway, there was a culture for some, of varying circumstances, of earn it in the ME/spend it in the FE...so it's perhaps not an entirely either/or proposition.
  8. harpplayer

    harpplayer Occasional commenter

    Dubai is fantastic, if you are tolerant, easy going, and when being really honest with yourself, you can say that you can cope well, thrive even, with groups of (secondary) pupils who often have little desire to learn and whose behaviour can frequently be pretty much Friday period 6 bottom set type stuff. You also have to be generally happy to live in a racist, disfunctional, corrupt country, and not worry about morals, how unfair the world is etc. Donald Trump doesn't so why should you!

    I like it here because it is half way between the UK and Asia, so great for going back home and going on my holidays (nearly always somewhere in Asia). I landed a good well paid job three years ago but also do private tutoring to extremely wealthy families and get paid a small fortune for doing this (almost doubling my already good school salary every month!!) It's a safe place, clean, can be fun for a price (I'm into sailing, gym and diving), good beaches, great food, medical and apartments, and if you want something, you just pay someone off and it's done. I also have a cleaner for my apartment and have all my clothes washed and ironed each week.

    I love both areas of the world, but for me, Asia is for hols and the ME is the place to earn top dollar. BUT, you have to have a nice lily white face that fits, you must be super easy to get on with and chat to, be totally professional when working, always calm and smile a lot and have a personality that is lovable, just like me :)
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2019
    Fiona8318 likes this.
  9. makhnovite

    makhnovite Established commenter

    Donald Trump doesn't so why should you! - most surreal comment of the day/week/year/ever.

    A narcissistic, racist, sociopath doesn't care so you should be like him? Hmmmmm
    Bill8899 likes this.
  10. harpplayer

    harpplayer Occasional commenter

    "Donald Trump doesn't so why should you!"

    Just stating the obvious attitude by the vast majority of teachers who work abroad in a tongue-in-cheek kind of way.

    If teachers like me who work abroad started to really care about racism, abuse and rights of women, political rights, the rights of Muslims in e.g. China etc, we'd all stay at home in Little England. The truth is, none of us really care enough to actually make a difference; I think all middle eastern countries have poor records as far as abuse of Asians, women's rights, freedom, democracy, racism etc etc go. Go to China (a major recruiter of English-speaking teachers), and support the subjugation of Muslims, Tibet, Hong Kong, Taiwan, freedom of expression, military expansion and land / sea grabs. Go to Vietnam and Cambodia, or have a holiday in Thailand and you are supporting some of the most corrupt and repressive countries going (see corruption indexes by any of the global watch organisations). Having a holiday in Turkey? Really? They sacked and imprisoned tens of thousands of teachers who opposed the president only a few years ago.

    My point is, why should you care? Donald Trump doesn't and is open about it. He should be praised for being honest. At least we know where he stands. Perhaps it is worse not caring and going to these places. Perhaps it is even worse actually really caring (which I suspect to be honest most teachers abroad do) but making a point to keep very quiet, and just going anyway, and taking the money and sunshine?

    Best not to take things here too seriously. If you are going to go abroad, the ME for money and Asia for hols is my view.
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2019
  11. gulfgolf

    gulfgolf Established commenter

    Not so much.
    Those who care, engage. A policy of retreat and isolationism is not the answer
  12. Mrs_CS

    Mrs_CS New commenter

    Would you mind PM'ing me the 3 or 4 schools you would recommend please? I can't start any conversations yet I'm afraid.
  13. Powergnome3

    Powergnome3 Occasional commenter

  14. the hippo

    the hippo Lead commenter Community helper

    I have sent you a TES Conversation, Mrs_CS.
  15. makhnovite

    makhnovite Established commenter

    'The truth is, none of us really care enough to actually make a difference'

    Speak for yourself.
  16. frogusmaximus

    frogusmaximus Occasional commenter

    Personal choice.

    To me, more freedom, more choices and so many opportunities for travel to places with amazing history. Even though I lived for 4 years in the ME, I was still cautious in what I chose to do throughout my stay, and to be fair did not have much of a social life because of it, for fear of kidnapping, due to the location is which i lived.
  17. Powergnome3

    Powergnome3 Occasional commenter

    Flippin heck Frogs, where did you live?? Certainly wasn’t the UAE!! (Although I may or may not have been kidnapped by members of one of the rugby clubs for an all day bender, my memory is a bit sketchy!!)
    Fiona8318 likes this.
  18. frogusmaximus

    frogusmaximus Occasional commenter

    Indeed it was not. I spent a while in the rather large kingdom to the west.

    Three months before my arrival, a westerner had been kidnapped from the mall carpark where i did my weekly shop. He was later beheaded. As such, I ventured out rarely, though in reality there are't that many attractions. I did once attend, with four 'minders', an annual celebration of culture event on the day set aside for men; me the western guy and about 8 thousand locals, all of who prayed in the street when it came to prayer time, which was a sight to behold. My minders also took me to a World Cup qualification game; free entry, gates locked an hour before kick off. Mental.
  19. taiyah

    taiyah Occasional commenter

    Prefer the FE, spent three years there. But to be totally honest, for the moment and the next three years (will make it 8 years in total), the teacher couple £€$ the ME offer is fast tracking certain financial goals which in turn benefits the family.. After that, the aim is to go back to the FE where thinking about the £€$ package won't be as important.

    Everyone's priorities and goals are different. I guess that's why both regions do have its positive perspectives and experiences.
  20. agcb256

    agcb256 New commenter

    Hijacking this thread to see if anyone can tell more about the differences in student behaviour, attitude, desire to learn etc. I have had mixed experiences so far in my current school not too far from the ME so am trying to glean as much info as I can before I leap further into Arab lands or go much further afield. Thanks in advance!

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