Sprawled beautifully across the upper reaches of the British Isles, Scotland has for centuries held onto a distinctive cultural heritage which sets it apart within the greater United Kingdom. Manifesting from a long academic tradition which superseded the Scottish Enlightenment in the 18th century, the country also continues to boast one of the most highly regarded education systems in all of Europe. Deciding to teach abroad in Scotland will prove a transformative experience, during which you learn much about teaching and about life at large from a great nation and people.
Scotland encompasses the top one-third of the island of Great Britain, as well as several hundred smaller islets which protrude from its northern coastline. Along with England, Wales, and Northern Ireland, Scotland is a member state of the United Kingdom, having been unified under British rule at the outset of the 18th century. Roughly 5 million people live in Scotland, making it the second largest country in the UK (after England).
As the country’s capital, Edinburgh is perhaps the most popular destination where to teach abroad in Scotland. Edinburgh has long been considered the focal point of Scottish culture and education, hosting several annual international festivals and also serving as home to the University of Edinburgh, considered one of the best institutions of higher academics in the whole world.
Glasgow, the country’s largest city, is another exceedingly popular place where to teach abroad in Scotland. Over 1 million people live in Glasgow’s greater urban area, and it has traditionally been thought of as the industrial and economic center of the country in complement to Edinburgh. Having been a major center of the Scottish Enlightenment, Glasgow nonetheless boasts a rich academic tradition as well, and can be a fantastic place to teach abroad.
Teaching Jobs in Scotland
Because of its long history of educational excellence, it can understandably be competitive to teach abroad in Scotland. Further while most international education openings around the world are for teaching English as a second language, this route is rendered somewhat null in Scotland, where English is the first language of the vast majority of native inhabitants.
Nevertheless opportunities do exist across a variety of other subjects, throughout which there are many routes you can take to finding a teaching job abroad in Scotland. Private and international schools are generally more open to hiring foreign teachers than are public schools, so these are good places to start looking. Having substantial teaching experience under your belt and possessing some form of teaching certification will also obviously increase your chances of getting hired as well.
Spring is generally the most productive time to go about applying for a job to teach abroad in Scotland, as most schools look to have a staff hired for the subsequent academic year by the onset of summer. The duration of teaching positions will vary, though most schools will expect you to stay for at least one full year. Residents of the EU may have an easier time applying for positions because they will not have to worry about visa complications in order to work abroad.
Salaries & Costs
Starting salaries for teachers in Scotland generally hover between $2,500 and $3,000 per month, which will provide for a comfortable enough living in the country. Scotland uses the British Pound as its currency, and most costs of living are on par with the rest of the United Kingdom. As a general principle, major cities like Glasgow and Edinburgh will be significantly more expensive than more remote cities and rural areas.
Accommodation & Visas
Most international educators who teach abroad in Scotland choose to live in an apartment or flat, wherein living with roommates will greatly reduce rent costs. One popular option is to seek out housing on the internet in advance of teaching abroad, while many teachers also choose to shack up in a hostel upon immediate arrival so they can search for housing in person. Some host schools or teach abroad programs will also help out securing housing near your school.
The visa requirements for Scotland are the same as throughout the rest of the United Kingdom; while residents of the European Union can become employed as a teacher in Scotland without work permission, educators from outside of Europe will typically have to apply for a visa with endorsement from their local school of employment. For more information on Scotland’s visa policy, check out our Embassy Directory.
Benefits & Challenges
Highlanders. Teaching abroad in Scotland will expose you to the immensely deep and interesting history of the Scottish people, who will in turn provide you with an unforgettable immersive experience.
Educational Excellence. Scotland not only ranks as one of the best education systems in Europe, but across the entire world to boot. Teaching within this context will be an incredible growth experience as an international educator.
British Isles. Though a very small archipelago, the British Isles boast a tremendous amount of internal diversity, and have also had an unparalleled impact on the shaping of our modern world. Take the time to also travel throughout Ireland, England, and Wales while you teach abroad in Scotland.