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Teach abroad in Brunei


Brunei, officially known as the Nation of Brunei, the Abode of peace, is an Islamic nation governed by a monarchy, located in Southeast Asia on the north coast of the island of Borneo. The official language is Malay, as Brunei borders Malaysia and Indonesia. However, English is widely spoken in the region as Brunei was a British protectorate up until the mid 1980’s. Brunei is rich in petroleum and natural gas, making it one of two nations in the world with a public debt of 0% of the national GDP, as per the IMF. 

Bandar Seri Begawan
Malay Language
5,765 sq km (same as Delaware or Trinidad & Tobago)

Teaching English in Brunei is an amazing experience.  Many people believe that it is in the Middle East, as it is a small oil-rich Muslim state. It is however situated in South East Asia on the North East coast of the magical island of Borneo 450Kms north of the Equator. Brunei is divided into two separate sections and is totally surrounded by the Malaysian state of Sarawak.

In order to be considered to teach in Brunei you must meet all the following requirements. 
There are two different types of opportunities currently available in Brunei, please review the requirements for each and understand that there are NO EXCEPTIONS.  If you do not meet these requirements please consider other countries - we don't make the rules, we follow them. 

Requirements to Teach in Public Schools in Brunei:

  • Country Code - 673
  • Area Codes
    • Mumong - 3
    • Behawan - 2
    • Tutong - 4
    • Kuala Belait - 3
  • Police Emergency - 993
  • Ambulance - 991
  • Fire - 995

A normal teaching load at Secondary level in Brunei is typically about 12-16 contact hours a week or 24 to 32 teaching periods. Teachers in general teach up to a maximum of 6 periods in any single day. Additionally, Secondary teachers have to be in school for an additional 4.5 hours per week. This time is set aside for clubs, extra classes and meetings.

Brunei is a small country on the north coast of the island of Borneo.  Despite it's relative small size, Brunei is split into four districts (daerah).

Although not crime-free, the crime rate is much lower than in North America. There is little or no street crime, though there are occasional burglaries. Women will find that there is very little hassle. However, as in any country, and especially where one stands out as being different, it is a good idea to exercise sensible precautions. All in all, teachers find that Brunei is a very safe place to live indeed; many teachers prefer the idea of their children growing up in Brunei than in their home countries.

Is it safe to be posted to more secluded regions?

All teachers legally working in Brunei and their dependants aged 12 and above receive treatment at a nominal cost in government clinics. Children below 12 yrs receive free treatment in government facilities. The standard of this is quite good.

Some client schools in Brunei will require that you take out additional comprehensive insurance which they will also subsidise.  These particulars will be contract specific.

Standard electricity in Brunei is 220-240 volts.  Plugs are of the 3 pin variety, the same as the UK.  Adapters for plugs are easy to find.  Power cuts happen occasionally, in some areas this will happen more often that in others, but these outages generally don't last much longer than a couple of hours

In most cases the school will assist you in finding housing when teaching in Brunei and then you would get an allowance or rental credit.  The most common situation follows this process:

  • Country Code - 673
  • Area Codes
    • Mumong - 3
    • Behawan - 2
    • Tutong - 4
    • Kuala Belait - 3
  • Police Emergency - 993
  • Ambulance - 991
  • Fire - 995

Most of the students are Malay Muslims, but there are also quite a large number of Chinese students who may be Bruneian citizens or Permanent Residents. In more rural areas other indigenous groups may be represented.

In terms of ability and motivation etc, there is quite a wide range, from highly motivated students with almost native-speaker English language competence to the disaffected and unmotivated students with very little English.

Brunei's school year commences in January. Most public school teachers will get about 10 weeks holiday altogether in a year.

Here are a couple of fast facts for teachers considering teaching in Brunei:

Things are generally pretty cheap in Brunei and those of you who enjoy a glass of wine or a cold beer should be aware that you cannot buy alcohol in shops or restaurants in Brunei.  For some, this will make a HUGE difference in terms of your meal bill ;) and it will help you save HEAPS of money and perhaps your liver.

Eating Out in Brunei

A meal in an inexpensive restaurant will cost you are $6-10 US or if you want to splurge a bit and go out for a 3 course meal in a mid-range restaurant you are looking at around $40 for two. 

If teachers want to bring some money, a month's salary should suffice.  Setting up costs will involve paying deposits for phone and internet connections, ASTRO connections and getting kitchenware, dining ware and linen for the beds.

There are two Lions clubs in Brunei, one in Bandar Seri Begawan and one in Darussalam. 

The Bandar Seri Begawan Lions Club meetings are the1st, 3rd Wednesday 19:30 at Aranda @D'Anggrek Desa Service Apartment, Barekas,Jalan Berakas, Bandar Seri Begawan.  This particular club is active with tree planting and their busiest times are in October and November.

The Darussalam Lions Club meetings are the 1st, 3rd Wednesday of each month at 19:30.  The meetings take place at the COTTAGE RESTAURANT - JALAN PRETTY KUALA BELAIT DARUSSALAM -1.

Looking for a tropical teaching destination?  Then look no further.  Brunei is a fanastic place to put down roots if you are looking for a tropical teaching job.


School vacations in Brunei vary from year to year so for the sake of being able to generalize we are providing estimates here.

There are plenty of activities to partake in on your holidays while teaching in Brunei. Brunei is located on the island of Borneo, a rainforest covered paradise with incredible snorkeling, diving, hiking, and trekking opportunities. Borneo is home to the endangered orangutan, the interesting looking proboscis monkey, and the pygmy Borneo elephant.

Bruneian cuisine is very similar to and influenced by its neighbouring countries including Malaysia, Indonesia, and Thailand. Popular dishes include nasi lemak (a coconut cream rice dish served with peanuts, boiled egg, sliced cucumber, dried fish, and a spicy sauce - nasi lemak is known also as a delicious but heavy breakfast food!), beef rendang (a type of stew/curry), and ambuyat (a sticky starchy ball that's dipped in a sour fruit sauce).

Currently female teachers in Brunei are not allowed to wear trousers for work although some are wearing shalwar khameez type costumes so that is acceptable, but not tailored pants or slacks. Female teachers should dress conservatively in schools at all times.

Male teachers in Brunei should wear smart long trousers with long sleeved shirts and tie. They should wear smart shoes with socks but not sandals. Malay Muslim teachers are encouraged to wear a Songkok (Malay cap) and Cara Melayu. Some teachers prefer to wear a traditional long sleeved Malay style shirt.

Brunei is a Muslim country therefore western style nightlife is limited and there are no official pubs or nightclubs. The lack of such establishments means that people tend to organise more events/parties themselves. There is a wide variety of clubs and societies you can join to meet people depending on your interests. There are a number of good cinemas showing the latest Hollywood blockbusters.

His Majesty the Paduka Seri Baginda Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Muizzaddin Waddaulah (Hassanal Bolkiah) was born on 15 July 1946.

Brunei is one of the most ancient states in Asia and was probably originally settled as early as the 8th century.  Islam came to Brunei in the early 15th century having arrived there through merchants and travellers from the Middle East. 

Here are a couple of fast facts for teachers considering teaching in Brunei:

Brunei comprises four districts: to the east, Temburong, and to the west, Brunei-Muara, Tutong and Belait.

The western part of Brunei is mainly hilly lowland rising inland to about 300 metres.  To the east the broad coastal plain is replaced by jungle clad hills, reaching up to Brunei's highest point, Bukit Pagon, 1850 metres above sea level.  The total land area is 5765 sq. km.  The coastline is about 160 km long.

The capital of Brunei is Bandar Seri Begawan, which is locally known as Bandar or BSB.  It has a population of about 100,000.