English teachers are definitely in demand in Malaysia, although not as much as in Japan, Korea or China. Don’t expect to arrive on Friday and find a job by Monday as you can in some places. You will have to make a serious effort to find a good job in Malaysia.
Malaysian employers will want to put you through a full interview and then consider carefully before employing you. What you can do is to start compiling a list of schools, language centers, and colleges that you can call when you get there. It will probably take you about a month or longer to find a job in Malaysia.
Check the newspapers every day for job listings. Most places do not mind if you just call up and ask for a chance to come in and talk to them. They will expect you to bring a copy of your resume and to dress smartly, which means slacks, a shirt and tie for men and an appropriate business dress and shoes for women.
There is quite a variation in the salaries offered for English teachers. The British Council and international schools offer the highest salaries, but of course also demand the most credentials and experience.
Jobs here will give you good experience as you are likely to be teaching foreign students as well as Malaysians and most centers have computer labs and modern facilities.
Getting a visa is reasonably straightforward, yet time-consuming. You are likely to have to wait three to six months before getting approved by immigration, although the government is taking steps to speed this up. During that time, you will be on a social visit pass, and you may have to leave the country and reenter via Singapore or Thailand if the process takes over three months.
Generally, immigration will not entertain applications from teachers under 25 years of age and they are unlikely to be happy if you have spent time in Israel. Israeli citizens will definitely not be able to get a work permit. Teachers from countries where English is not the native tongue may also find it difficult to get a permit.
Choose your job carefully because it is not always easy to change jobs. Technically, you must leave the country for six months before taking up a position with a new employer although there are ways around this.
Malaysians prefer to use British English, so Americans may have to adapt accordingly. The Malay majority are moderate Muslims; they don’t drink alcohol or eat pork. Religion is a sensitive topic, along with sex and politics.
If you live in Malaysia you will probably have to work hard, but you will be exposed to all kinds of different cultures. On weekends, you can travel around the country and visit the islands. You can get to Singapore and Thailand easily by bus, train, or plane. Language is not a problem. Basically, you can experience a whole new world without giving up the “Western” comforts that you are used to.
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