Teach English in the UAE (United Arab Emirates)

Thank you for your interest, but our program in the UAE is closed for the foreseeable future. Please review the Reach To Teach Job Board for a list of open positions. 

Teaching English in the UAE can be an amazing experience, but knowing which of the seven emirates to go to can be a tough decision. We’ve compiled some information for you on the seven emirates which comprise the United Arab Emirates. 

The UAE is fast becoming a popular teaching destination for ESL teachers. With great pay packages, inviting weather and its diverse and multicultural society the UAE becomes an inviting home to many wishing to teach English abroad.

Almost all contracts include an apartment, insurance, and flights so that the pay you take home is only really spent on food and leisure.Teachers can expect to earn between $2000 USD and $3000 USD per month, meaning that there is plenty of room in which to save, travel, and enjoy the local delights.

Emirate of Dubai

Dubai has one of the largest populations in the UAE at 2,106,177 people. It is located on the northern coastline of the UAE and neighbors Sharjah and Jebel Ali. Today Dubai is described as a cosmopolitan metropolis drawing in people of many races to create a very multicultural society. It is also the business and cultural hub of the Middle East and the Persian Gulf area. It draws in much of its economy through tourism, real estate and finance. It is world renowned for its ambitious sky scraper projects and man-made islands; the most famous of these islands is Palm Islands which is built just off the coast in the Persian Gulf.

Dubai has been steadily developing its tourism to bring in a high economic turnover. In 2010 Dubai was the 7th most visited city in the world bringing in 7.6 million visitors a year, making it a great place to live in terms of leisure.


Emirate of Abu Dhabi

The Emirate of Abu Dhabi is the capital of the UAE; it holds the largest land mass out of the seven and it also has the largest population estimated at 2,120,700. It is not to be confused with the City of Abu Dhabi, which is located within the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. The city of Abu Dhabi is the UAE’s largest city. Within the Emirate of Abu Dhabi you can find the location of the presidential seat of the United Arab Emirates, plus many of the foreign embassies and the federal cabinet.

Steeped in a history of various trades, including camel herding, date and vegetable trade and even pearl fishing Abu Dhabi had a great economical beginning which has only continued to grow and now sees Abu Dhabi contributing 60 percent of the UAE’s GDP.

Here you can find many attractions, including the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, which really lives by its title as being grand. There is also the Emirates Palace and the Yas Marina Circuit where you can go and watch race cars battle it out for the top spot. ESL teachers and certified teachers from around the world teach English in Abu Dhabi because of the excellent teaching packages that are on offer here.

Emirate of Ajman

Ajman is the smallest of all of the seven emirates coming in with an area of just 260 square km. It is bordered on its north, east, and south by Sharjah. With great transport connections to the rest of the UAE,  modern ways of life have inevitably seeped in, however Ajman still retains a lot of its traditions.

Ajman is primarily agricultural and 95% of its population lives within the city of Ajman. There have been plans for further development of Ajman, with plans to even build a new city completely from scratch. The city would include property villas, shopping malls, and high rise buildings. Following the financial crisis of 2008, however, these plans came to an abrupt end. Plans to build an airport are now only half finished and the completion date has been pushed back to 2015.

Sunset on the beach - Ajman, UAE

Emirate of Fujairah

The Emirate of Fujairah is the only one of the seven emirates that doesn’t border the Persian Gulf as a coastline; instead it has its coastline on the gulf of Oman.

The emirate hosts the oldest mosque which was built from bricks and mud in 1446 and is unique in that it only has four domes as opposed to the seven or twelve found on similar mosques.

In terms of development the emirate ruler is planning to introduce more in the way of tourism, including a huge resort set to include around 1,000 five-star hotels and villas. Water sports are becoming very popular here with locals and foreigners, including jet skiing, waterskiing, windsurfing and diving.

Emirate of Ras al-Khaimah

The Emirate of Ras al-Khaimah is based in the north of the UAE and its name actually translates as “top of the tent”. It has a land mass of 1,684 square kilometers, with two main sections, one further to the north bordering the gulf of Persia and the other just below it.

Because this emirate doesn’t have a production in oil, their economic income is through other means such as real estate, manufacturing, service sector, and tourism. They also host many cultural events including festivals and even a marathon.

There is a lot to do in this emirate, particularly with tourism. You can come here for a relaxing spa retreat for some downtime therapy, or you can enjoy the large golf courses or beautiful beaches. There are also once in a lifetime experiences such as desert safaris and sailing trips.

Al Hamra Marina

Emirate of Sharjah

The Emirate of Sharjah had a population of 800,000 in 2008 according to their last consensus and covers an area in the north of 2600 square km. It is one of the only emirates that have a constitutional monarchy of the Al Qasimi dynasty.

The city of Sharjah is a beautifully modern city which is continually developing in terms of tourism. In this emirate you can find beautiful beaches lined with palms and white sand; including wonderful architecture that boasts the superior court of Sharjah and its own universities.

However this is one of the strictest of the emirates in terms of customs. There is an absolutely no alcohol rule throughout Sharjah and customs between men and women are strict in terms of dress code and relations outside of marriage, to the point where single men and women seen in public together is illegal.

Emirate of Umm al-Quwain

Umm al-Quwain, or “Mother of the Two Powers” is the least populous emirate if the UAE but has a long history with early settlement artifacts still being found today including arrowheads and flint.

The emirate is rich in marine life, so snorkeling and diving are very desirable. You can expect to see black tip reef sharks and green turtles, along with a diverse marine population.

Other attractions include the old harbor, the island of Umm Al Quwain, and the largest waterpark in all of the UAE, Dreamland Aqua Park.

Wild Wadi Water Park

Useful Resources of Information for the UAE

So you are going to want to know a little about the UAE before moving there,but you don’t know where to look and need some guidance? That’s what we’re here for. Below are a number of websites to give you some useful information when looking at the UAE as a teaching destination.

  • UAE expat community forum – meet other expats currently living in the UAE.
  • UAE Classified – A great resource for any classified ads in the UAE including items for sale, housing, and even matrimonials.
  • Guide to living in the UAE – This site offers a good breakdown of information, including some great key facts every expat should know.
  • UAE history timeline – Want to know a quick history, check out this BBC timeline of key events.

Things to do in the UAE

Inevitably you are going to gain yourself some free time as a teacher in the UAE ,so whether you want to wind down after a week of teaching or let loose and enjoy some of the local nightlife, here are a number of websites to guide you in your free time.

  • Attractions – Here is listed pretty much all of the attractions in the UAE, broken down for you by area.
  • Lonely Planet – You can always trust Lonely Planet to provide you with an all round guide including nightlife, restaurants and hotels.
  • Timeout Nightlife – looking at heading to Dubai? Check out the local upcoming events on this website to see what you can look forward to.
  • Virtual Tourist nightlife – Is Abu Dhabi your destination? Here is a list of clubs ,bars, and hangouts in the Abu Dhabi area.
  • Viator Day Trips – Looking at taking a day trip somewhere to do something awesome? Check out Viator for a list of exciting day trips.


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