Resting between the Namib and Kalahari deserts on Africa’s south Atlantic coast, Namibia is one of the continent’s driest and most sparsely populated countries. It also happens to be one of the few countries in the world to explicitly address environmental preservation efforts in its constitution, making it a haven for local endemic species. Taking the journey to teach abroad in Namibia will place you within a geographically and culturally diverse country, an enriching destination that you will learn more from than you could ever teach.
Namibia is located on Africa’s southwestern coastline and is bordered by Zambia and Angola to the north, Botswana to the east, and South Africa to the south. While it is one of the world’s largest countries by land area, only 2 million people live across the terrain, making it the second least densely populated country in the world (after Mongolia). Namibia is a fairly young nation, first outlined as a German protectorate in the late 19th century, and only recently gaining complete independence from South Africa in 1990.
Because its population remains largely spread out across the countryside, placements in the country’s rural areas are often the most popular route to teach abroad in Namibia. Teaching in a Namibian village will be an intimately immersive experience, as the diversity of local cultures tend to share in common an ethos of strong internal community ties. The degree of hospitality will be overwhelming!
Apart from the country’s rural areas and smaller towns, the capital city of Windhoek is another potential destination where you could look to teach abroad in Namibia. Windhoek is the country’s only major city, with a population of over 300,000 inhabitants making it a major economic, administrative, and cultural hub of the region.
Teaching Jobs in Namibia
While Namibia boasts a more stable economic and political system many other sub-Saharan African nations, it’s nonetheless a fact that most teaching positions in Namibia are offered on a volunteer basis. Education is free and compulsory for Namibians from the age of six to 16 years old, but most state-run schools lack the resources to pay international teachers a salary beyond helping out with basic compensation.
Nevertheless, the opportunities to teach abroad in Namibia within this realm remain fairly plentiful. English is the official language and is used in schooling throughout the country, meaning that you will have the option to teach a variety of subjects including math and science as a native speaker. Among young learners of other native languages, teaching English can also remain a popular option to help them advance in fluency.
There are also some private and international schools where you might look for a paid teaching position in Namibia; of the 1,500 schools across the country, roughly 100 of these are privately run, many of them located in Windhoek. Most local schools will expect you to hold a higher degree and/or teaching certification in order to be hired to teach abroad in Namibia (prior classroom experience certainly won’t hurt your chances, either).
Salaries & Costs
As mentioned, most positions teaching abroad in Namibia will only offer basic compensation to international teachers, which generally includes helping out with the costs of housing and meals. Fortunately Namibia is an affordable country for many teachers travelling from the industrialized world, and further if you are teaching in a rural area then your lifestyle will usually not require many expenses.
Accommodation & Visas
Available accommodations will vary depending on whether you are teaching in an urban or rural area. While you may be able to secure your own apartment teaching in the capital city of Windhoek, for example, it is more likely that you will be living in a homestay or other such group housing situation if you teach abroad in Namibia’s rural areas. Remember Namibia is a developing nation, so certain luxuries such as air conditioning, Wi-Fi, and hot water may not always be accounted for.
If you are planning to live and teach abroad in Namibia for longer than three months, then you will generally need to apply for a visa. International educators travelling from many countries will be able to secure the proper documentation upon arrival in Namibia. For more information, check out our Namibian Embassy Directory.
Benefits & Challenges
Landscape. Namibia’s sparse population and commitment to environmental protection make it a truly wonderful country to explore for outdoor adventurers who want to experience one of Africa’s most rugged landscapes.
Local Immersion. Namibia’s largely rural population means that you will likely be placed in a small community, where you can really get to know locals on a personal basis while you serve as a teacher.
Learn by Teaching. Not only will it be a tremendous growth professional experience as an international educator to teach abroad in Namibia, but you will also learn more than you ever thought possible from your pupils.