Teaching Abroad in Brunei: Guest Post from Emma

Hi! A little over 4 years ago I left New Zealand to teach abroad. It has been the best decision I have ever made. I graduated one week and left for the United Arab Emirates the next. I moved to a small town called Madinat Zayed, an hour and a half away from Abu Dhabi. While I was there I taught grades 2, 3 and 4. Over 3 years later I left the UAE and moved to Brunei. I have now been here for almost 1 year. 
A School in a Water Village in Brunei
Brunei is located on the island of Borneo. It is neighboured by two Malaysian states, Sabah and Sarawak. Brunei is known for the Sultan and for it’s oil production. It is a very small country with a population of around 420,000 people. It’s kind of like the South East Asian version of where I was previously, only surrounded by jungle instead of sand.

When I first arrived in Brunei I was teaching in a school situated in the jungle. Literally. The school was surrounded by lush trees and amazing insects. Class sizes were small which made for a different teaching experience. I was commuting over an hour to work every day, out in to the heart of Borneo. I finished the year at that school and moved to another local school closer to home. I have now been at this school for 6 months. I teach three Pra classes, which is the equivalent to new entrant or year 1. I teach English to each class for an hour a day. School starts at 7am and finishes at 12:30pm. After an hour for lunch the students return to school for religious education. At the beginning of the school year most of the students in my class had no English or prior schooling at all. It was a challenging few months at the start of the year! For nearly all of them it was their first time being away from mum. The children have come so far in the past 6 months. They can now tell me what they want and can understand most of what I am saying. As cliché as it sounds, seeing that growth is why I am a teacher. Being the only Western teacher at the school and teaching English to ELL students has its challenges, but it also has its rewards. The students here are very respectful and my little ones are so loving and eager to learn. I do love my job!

Brunei Sunset

As well as the local schools, there are a few international schools. The two larger international schools are Jerudong International School and International School of Brunei. The students that attend these schools come from all over the world. The majority of them have a parent who works in the oil industry. As for teaching at an international school here in Brunei, they all seem to be great places to work with amazing facilities. Some of my friends who work at international schools teach all subject areas, whereas others teach all except for the special area subjects such as P.E., Art and Music. Teaching at an international school is a very different experience to the one I have teaching at a local school.

I do have a life outside of teaching. I have recently completed my open water dive certificate which means I can scuba dive up to 18 metres. Borneo has some amazing dive spots which I will definitely visit. I enjoy running along the beach and swimming at the local pool. I also play touch rugby. Our weekends aren’t really weekends as I have Friday and Sunday off. This is because I work for the government and that is just how it is. Not having two consecutive days does make me more tired by the end of the term, but I still get out and travel. I will be travelling to Tokyo in July. I am very excited as it’s been my dream to visit Japan. 

Thank you Lindsay for the feature! I look forward to reading other experiences of teaching bloggers around the world!

Emma is a New Zealand trained teacher currently teaching abroad in Brunei while making the most of her opportunity to travel.  She is also a close friend of mine who I've shared many of my travel experiences with! Thanks for the post Emma!

Thanks for reading this week's #WorldwideWednesday post! Come back next week for Marla's post about teaching in China! 

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