What to Bring When Moving to the Middle East for Employment – ESL

You've accepted a job to teach in the Middle East. Congratulations! There are multiple opportunities for teaching positions in the Middle East when one is certified to teach English as a second language with an ESL or TEFL certification.

This article discusses the practical needs which will facilitate working as a teacher in the Middle East. First and foremost be prepared with photocopies of important documents such as passport, visa (if applicable), contract, birth certificate, degrees and certificates. It is helpful for one to arrive with at least ten passport size photos of oneself as these will be necessary for official work permits where required, identification cards, drivers license and other activities. As forms are completed and identity cards provided, ensure that names and information are correctly recorded. An incorrect spelling of the name or or transposed numbers of one's visa or work permit could result in delay of salary.

Because it may take a few weeks or even up to one month before a full salary is received, plan to arrive with sufficient funds to maintain one for up to six weeks. These funds are useful for acquiring a local cell phone, internet connection, transport and expenses associated with setting up a new home such as purchases of groceries.

When one has accepted a teaching position in the Middle East the good news is that in most cases fully equipped and furnished housing is provided. That certainly can give a sense of relief in figuring out what else to prepare and plan to take. Secondly, just about anything one would want or need to make a place a home is available and can be found in the Middle East. Therefore in speaking more as a former seasoned diplomat, I would suggest the following items for consideration to bring as part of an air freight.

Naturally one wants to feel comfortable and, 'at home' in their home. I strongly suggest bringing copies of favorite family photos for adorning the walls or shelves. Copies are recommended rather than take any risk of loss or damage to original photographs. Other items that fall into the must have category usually include some of the favorite mementos like music or books. Depending on personal taste or language, it may be difficult to acquire favorite music or books in some Middle Eastern Countries. Also remember that if a book or a CD cover has a risque image on the cover, it is better to remove the cover than risk the item being confused at customs.

I also suggest that if one has a special pillow, favorite sheets or item that your home would not be complete without, bring it! Additional items that are more personal in nature but worth considering include golf clubs or a small musical instrument.

If there are specific grocery products or brands you're not sure if they are available in the country, go ahead and stock up and bring them in. As an avid baker, I always stock up on marshmellow creme fluff which is only available once a year in Saudi Arabia, for example.

Once you have arrived, you will discover there are multiple places and traditional souks where a home can be beautifully enhanced with handmade furniture, custom curtains and carpets and other attractive local decorations at minimal cost.

Also a useful resource is at http://www.teachmideast.com for information on the cities and customs in the Middle East.