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Working as a Trailing spouse teaching abroad

Discussion in 'Teaching abroad' started by mbroadbent6, Sep 25, 2016.

  1. Hello!
    I've seen a few posts on here with lots of advice and help for trailing spouses heading abroad with their partner and I was looking for some more specific advice regarding our situation and whether it is plausible or we need to have a big old re-think!!

    My boyfriend is a fully qualified teacher and has good experience even though he is only a few years qualified. (I doubt he would struggle to get employed) but he has his heart set on Dubai mainly for the money and benefits or other middle eastern countries. I've read a lot of blogs that have suggested it would be increasingly difficult for me to go with him. As I would be a trailing spouse (girlfriend- not married!) I am quite worried about how/if/where I would fit in out there!? I am an unqualified teacher but I have a BaHons degree in dance and drama and 2 years experience as a HLTA, cover supervisor teaching PE and dance etc... and also experience with early years education.

    What do you think? Would I perhaps find an international school who would be willing to offer me work alongside? Or would I just have an un-feesable visa battle on my hands along with the many other complications of cohabitation etc??

    Any advice from ME countries or teachers with trailing spouses would be greatly appreciated! There is so many conflicting information out there I'm a little lost!

    I also like the look of Thailand and Asia! Would we have any better luck searching for work and living there together ?

  2. percy topliss

    percy topliss Established commenter

    You wouldn't have any problem at all living together in Thailand, Mrs T and I did it for years before she made an honest man out of me. I am also not sure that the Middle East is quite the place it used to be for large contracts, mainly because it also costs quite a lot to live there, whereas you may get paid more there but live a lot better life out here in Asia and get to save cash and not have the religious police tracking you! Doubtless others will advise on this but I am also not sure about the visa regulations, as in, will you get one?
    People who do as you do here in Thailand often pick up work at their spouses school and eventually the school looks after their visa requirements.

    Good luck anyway...

    grdwdgrrrl likes this.
  3. february31st

    february31st Established commenter

    Just avoid the hassel and forget working in the ME!

    The ME has lost its advantage of money compensating for living there. More money to be earned in China and at the moment and you don't need a teaching qualification to get a job as a teacher! You can also get a visa with your bf with or without a job, so double advantage to Shanghai.
  4. ejclibrarian

    ejclibrarian Established commenter Community helper

    You're better off looking elsewhere I think. Unmarried couples don't go down well in the ME, plus the packages there aren't what they used to be. It looks like you've got some good experience though. If you were a trailing spouse at my school you'd find work no problem. You'd be snapped up. However, it does depend on the school. If you want some more info on being an unmarried couple working in Asia, send me a message.
    Redparrotfish likes this.
  5. gulfgolf

    gulfgolf Established commenter

    Unmarried cohabitation is illegal in the ME. At any point, anyone with a grievance against either one of you could report you to the police, and if that happens, the best case scenario is that you will both be fired and deported. Worst case scenario would involve jail time, though realistically that's not probably not going to happen unless you did something to exacerbate the situation once you were detained.
    I've known people to live this way, though personally I cannot understand why. Pick a country where you won't have the risk. Or get married.
    Redparrotfish likes this.
  6. dumbbells66

    dumbbells66 Lead commenter

    Wise words as usual from @gulfgolf .why even bother living like that when you can move to a country where you will earn just as much, and as with many cases in Asia actually earn more than the ME. perhaps 15 -20 years ago it was the place to be. now it is definitely at the middle to lower end of the scale.

    in my experience most trailing spouses get snapped up by most schools do something (this is obviously MY experience, it may not be the view of others). you will have no problem in Asia, especially as you have teaching experience.
    Redparrotfish and ejclibrarian like this.
  7. binaryhex

    binaryhex Lead commenter

    The Kefala-loving ME and Arab mentality is backward and hypocrytical and as the above poster said, try to get round the marriage thing at your peril. The ME is expensive and the days of great salaries disappeared 20 years ago. You can earn good money in China but more importantly, your quality of life will be so much better and you won't be exploited.

    Have a look in the Jobs section in Tes and the Guardian for ME jobs - they are absolutely desperate for teachers to go, starting in a week or two. There are real reasons why teachers won't go to these backward places anymore. Wake up!!!
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2016
  8. davidbowiefan

    davidbowiefan Established commenter

    If I were you I would look into doing a CELTA. There is a lot of advice about the CELTA on this forum, some of it written by me, so do a search first and then ask any questions you might have. And no, an online course isn't the same. No-one recognises them and they are a waste of time and money.
  9. GeordieKC

    GeordieKC Occasional commenter

    I agree with previous posters, definitely look at Asia. Unmarried in the Middle East is not legal, apart from the potential legal problems, it means where schools can select staff (i.e. the good schools) they are very likely to avoid you.

    As an unmarried partner in any country you could be looking at needing visa runs. That problem disappears if you can get employment and a work permit in your own right, a CELTA may help get that. You certainly appear to have the experience and qualifications that would interest a school.

    Before your partner accepts any position it is important that you are clear what the benefits and conditions are for you. Key points do you as an unmarried partner get flights, and medical insurance. There is no consistency between schools.

    Obviously getting married would simplify everything and give you more options.
    Redparrotfish likes this.
  10. Leebeez

    Leebeez New commenter

    If you have your heart set on the ME then, as previously mentioned, you will have to get married. If you are prepared to make that step then you may be surprised at the opportunities which open up, I have seen many trailing spouses in the ME gain posts which are of a higher calibre and better paid than their previous posts in the UK. However, in SE Asia (I have no experience of China, only Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia) you may find that trailing spouses are in direct competition with locally trained professionals. Moreover, if you are willing to offer primary age homework/English tuition in the ME then you can gain a hefty bonus tax free - I have even seen drama teachers gaining extra cash with drama clubs.

    I work in SE Asia and prefer living here, although I do see many trailing spouses here struggling, for example engineers and other non teachers. Of course if you wait until you get to SE Asia before you gain employment, you will probably have to contend with a local contract which are probably, in most cases going to be worse than local contracts in the ME. If your boyfriend/future spouse is in a high demand subject then you will undoubtably have better bargaining powers in any scenario.
    Redparrotfish likes this.
  11. sydneyamberrich

    sydneyamberrich New commenter

    Hi! My partner is currently applying to positions in Asia, and I am looking for the best way for me to come with him. I am an urban planner (with an undergraduate degree) with a job here in the US. I have no experience teaching but I am quite certain I could be helpful in some way. I'd either be interested in looking for a job in my field in Asia (although I have no idea how that would work) or working at whatever school my partner ends up at (if that is an option). Do you have any advice for us as to what programs are the best for him to be applying to right now as well as what I should be looking into for myself? ANY information would be most welcome.

  12. ejclibrarian

    ejclibrarian Established commenter Community helper

    I'd be happy to help! Shall we start a private conversation?
  13. sydneyamberrich

    sydneyamberrich New commenter

    sure! How?
  14. norwichred

    norwichred Occasional commenter

    There is a lot of negativity about the ME on this forum, some of it justified for sure.

    I got a job in Kuwait earlier in the year, and my trailing partner who is a qualified teacher who has never taught picked up a job out there as an LSA (earning more than she does here as a high band NHS nurse) through networking.

    We’re going to be earning nearly twice as we do in the UK, with virtually free Accomadation, and more time to spend together as a family.

    However, I would echo what others have said. We are not married and it has been suggested to us that we can circumvent that rule, but why should we? Surely a bit part of moving somewhere is respecting their customs and cultures?

    So we will be getting married before we go.
    Sebbenn likes this.
  15. february31st

    february31st Established commenter

  16. frogusmaximus

    frogusmaximus Occasional commenter

    In my experience, bored spouses - especially husbands - are the cause of most teachers to leave the school at the end of their contract. We even had relationships break down and partners return home. It is not possible for the spouse to get paid local work in many countries and whilst many school try to help out, the cheap cost of local staff can also make that unlikely. There are so many opportunities to work online BUT your partner has to have the skills suited to that.

    So much easier the other way round, with a trailing teacher qualified spouse having a bundle of options should she follow her working partner overseas.
  17. chalet_fan

    chalet_fan New commenter

    Sadly, the days of loadsamoney are gone in Dubai.

    School accommodation will be small (one bed) as your partner will be classed as single and you cannot legally live together if you’re not married, though lots of people do.

    You would need a job where you would get your own visa, medical insurance and flights as no school would offer him these for you unless you were married.

    I agree a CELTA would be useful.

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