Things you MUST do while teaching English in the UAE

Things you MUST do while teaching English in the UAE


Teaching English in the UAE can be a real experience. Offering some of the highest wages on the globe, and a stepping stone to some of Arabia’s most mind-boggling treasures, life here is a whirlwind of mechanized skyscrapers, luminous beaches, bobbing dhow boats, shifting sand seas, amazing mosques – the list goes on. We’ve slung together a list of the things you simply MUST check off the bucket list if this enthralling nation in the heart of the Middle East is going to be your next TEFL stop…


teaching English in the UAE
Dubai view from the Burj Khalifa | © elisasophia/Flickr


Scale the Burj Khalifa


At the time of writing – and probably for plenty of time to come – the Burj Khalifa is the tallest building in the world. It shoots like a needle into the clouds from the heart of Dubai’s business district, clocking up a whopping 829 meters in height before topping out above the Arabian Gulf. You can scale the superlative construction to the appropriately-named At the Top observation deck on the 124th floor. It’s one of the highest outdoor lookouts on the globe, offering sweeping views of the UAE cityscape, the coast, and the desert in the distance.  


teaching English in the UAE
Ski Dubai | ©


Ski in Dubai


Yep, you read that right! True to the sheer audacity of the megacity that is Dubai, the sprawling Mall of the Emirates is now home to one of the largest indoor commercial ski fields on the globe. With the desert heat scorching outside, you’ll be able to don the salopettes and ride everything from easy green runs to challenging black diamonds. There’s also an indoor snow park for boarders, and on-site tutors to help you find your snow feet on the edge of the Arabian Gulf. Sounds strange, eh?


teaching English in the UAE
Dubai Creek | © Stefan Wisselink/Flickr


Sail the Dubai Creek


The creaking, timber-built dhows of old still pepper the waters of historic Dubai Creek. This waterway that cuts through the very heart of the metropolis has been one of its main trading and merchant arteries for centuries. Taking a cruise on one of the classic sailing vessels down the palm-spotted promenades, between stone-built depots and bazaars, has simply got to be up there with the must-do activities while teaching English in the UAE.


teaching English in the UAE
Al Ain | © Peter Dowley/Flickr


See the mountains and oases of Al Ain


You’ll need to leave behind the buzzing cities of the north coast and travel across the Arabian deserts to reach the oases town of Al Ain. It’s totally worth the trip though, what with those babbling natural springs issuing forth from the arid earth to feed verdant groves of date palms and grassy meadows. In fact, the unique geological and human history of the place has garnered it a UNESCO World Heritage Site tag. Once you’re done exploring that, the towering peak of rugged Hafeet Mountain awaits above. That’s home to breathtaking driving roads, and comes carved through with ancient tombs dating back to 3,200 BC!



teaching English in the UAE
Ras Al Khaimah in Hajar Mountains | © Jaguar MENA/Flickr


Hike the Hajar Mountains


If you’re tiring of the city while teaching English in the UAE, then the Hajar Mountains might just be the perfect escape. Wild and rugged, they crash through the eastern end of the Emirates. You can launch desert safaris and hiking expeditions with qualified guides, up to the craggy tops of Ras Al Khaimah and rock-ribbed Hatta. You’ll encounter wide wadis and deep-cut gorges to give even the great Grand Canyon a run for its money.


teaching English in the UAE
Desert and part of the Liwa Oasis, at sunset | © Nick & Mindy Martin/Flickr


Wonder at the Liwa Oasis


The Liwa Oasis is the picture of Arabia you’ve been searching for. A sea of windblown sand dunes that undulates out to the horizon in the southern reaches of Abu Dhabi Emirate, it’s best explored in a camel caravan. You can spend days riding over the ochre-hued sand hills here, encountering traditional desert villages and seeing pockets of blooming palm trees shooting from the earth. At night, you can bed down in Bedouin tents and look forward to some of the most awesome stargazing on the planet.


teaching English in the UAE
Palm Jumeirah | © Zicarlo van Aalderen/Flickr


Visit Palm Jumeirah


Palm Jumeirah might just be the most ambitious engineering project ever undertaken, anywhere. Entirely manmade, it’s an archipelago of glimmering islands that jut out into the waters of the Persian Gulf. If you’re teaching English in the UAE city of Dubai, it’s a real must. You can get there from the Downtown in no time, and enjoy a medley of luxurious spa resorts, manicured beaches, and chichi cocktail bars as you explore its curious fronds and villa neighborhoods.



Of course, there’s oodles, oodles more to add to the UAE bucket list. If you’d like to add anything, we’d love to hear about it in the comments below! Or, if you think it’s time you got TEFL qualified and exploring the Middle East yourself, head over to our courses page to set the ball rolling… 

Leave a comment

fourteen + 9 =