DSCN4420My name is Jenna and my husband and I have moved to the United Arab Emirates to teach for 2 years. We have relocated from the hidden gem that is Buffalo, NY to start our international adventure. But what motivated us to make an international move? Well for starters we have always wanted to live abroad but never had the guts or the crazy abandonment to do it on our own. So instead it wasn’t until I was laid off from my teaching job in Buffalo and spent one whole year looking for work and only finding subbing positions that we decided to go for it! We heard about teaching in the United Arab Emirates through the unemployment office and the recruitment agency Teach Away. We applied, had interviews, got the jobs, packed up our apartment, bummed with family and we are now living the international life we have always wanted. So far we are about 21 months in (as of May 2014). For some background information, here is a map of the country:

First let me give you some background into the capital – Abu Dhabi. A little more than 40 years ago, believe it or not, Abu Dhabi was hardly developed. No skyscrapers, amusement parks, or two story malls. Their biggest form of income came from pearls. It looked something like this:

Today Abu Dhabi has grown and will continue to grow. Their income today comes primarily from oil and tourism. Abu Dhabi is also about and hour and a half by car from Dubai which you may know about bit more about. Here is Abu Dhabi today:

Both Scott and I are working for the ADEC (Abu Dhabi Education Council) teaching grades 10-12. This means that we can be placed anywhere in the Emirate (or state) of Abu Dhabi. Currently we are living in Al Ain. The city of Al Ain is the forth largest city in the United Arab Emirates and right next to the border with Oman. This city is a bit unusual because none of the buildings can be higher than 5 stories tall so it feels pretty small – more like a big suburb. Al Ain is also considered the garden city because all the streets are lined with palm tress and during the cooler months there are lots of flowers.This is the view taken from our rooftop over part of Al Ain and looking at the Jebel Hafeet which is the tallest mountain in the UAE:

DSCN1803This is the road that takes us from the garden city and out through the desert to the small town of Nahel where we teach:

DSCN3679I teach at the all girls school in Nahel and my husband teaches at the all boys school. We both teach grade 12 and it’s great because we teach each others’ sisters, brothers, and cousins. These are our adventures, travels, and experiences living and working abroad – I hope you enjoy! If you’re not sure where to start – start here!


11 thoughts on “About”

  1. Hi Jenna and Scott – hope you are both settling in well. I lived in Abu Dhabi when I first moved to the UAE just over 6 years ago (from Ireland). I’ve also lived in Dubai and am now in Ras Al Khaimah. My advice, if you really want to make the most of your time here is, try to make friends with some Arabs (Christian, Muslim or otherwise!). This is how you will get an insight into what’s going on around you. If you manage to get to know any Emiratis well, you’ve achieved something most ex-pats find impossible. Lovely photos, nice blog.

  2. Great “About Me” post! I can’t wait to learn more about this part of the world. What a great experience for you! And I’m sure teaching in another country gives you even more perspective on the issues, culture, etc.

    • Thanks Megan! I’m so excited you’re interested in this part of the world. Honestly my husband and I knew very little about it until we saw they were looking for teachers. We did so much research before hand but, as I’m sure you found out with Australia, nothing can prepare you! lol Teaching has sure helped us get right into the culture.

  3. So glad to have found your blog! And this was so interesting reading this, as when I visited the UAE as a kid (from Saudi), Abu Dhabi and Dubai were just little cities, they weren’t the metropolitan sky scrapers they are today which is so funny that it seems like they were built overnight! Can’t wait to read more! πŸ™‚

    • Wow I can’t believe you saw this area before its boom! You should totally come back – and you’d have a place to stay ; ) These cities really are growing fast. Each time we go into Dubai or Abu Dhabi its seems that something else is being built while something else just finished – constantly new restaurants, hotels, and residential buildings. So happy to hear from you on my blog – that means a lot!

      • Yea I’d really like to come back eventually… it’s on the list! πŸ™‚ There is just too much to see in this world! πŸ™‚

  4. Just new to the UAE as well. Was wondering if you or your husband have a softcopy of a trimester 2 Grade 11 unit plan. Teaching in Al Quaa and any help is appreciated.my blog is mrkimsenglish.blogspot.ae I have my email there as well

    • Hi Kim – good to hear from you. I really wish I could help you. My husband and I both teach grade 12 and for trimester 2, because it is teacher’s choice, there really is no unit plan. The grade 11 teacher at our school is new so she is developing a unit based on books we found in our library about travel. Again I’m sorry I wish I could be more helpful. Good luck with this next trimester!

  5. hi! i just checked your blog. I just arrived in Al Ain more than a month ago and so far I’m loving the place b/c it’s more peaceful. I am working as a nurse in NMC. I haven’t roam yet but thanks for your guides. I’ll check this every now and then. πŸ™‚

  6. Hey! So good to hear from you. Al Ain is very peaceful and a nicer pace than the big cities. It’s crazy because I actually have an appointment at NMC on the 25th! Maybe I’ll run into you : ) If you have any questions about Al Ain or being here or anything let me know!

    • yes, it’s so peaceful and I love it! I went to the place along Wahat Hili Mall, it’s so relaxing. luckily it was my off. i did not enjoy much because I’m running out of time.
      oh~ we might bump onto each other because my area is in OPD. haha!

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