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How To Become An International School Teacher in South Africa?

Becoming an international school teacher in South Africa can be an exciting and rewarding experience. South Africa offers a unique blend of cultures and beautiful landscapes, making it an attractive destination for educators from around the world. In this article, we will explore the pathways and benefits of becoming an international school teacher in South Africa, the qualifications required, the hiring process, as well as the challenges and cultural insights that come with this role.

iPGCE or iQTS – Pathways and Benefits in South Africa

When considering a career as an international school teacher in South Africa, it’s essential to understand the different pathways available. Two popular options are the iPGCE (International Postgraduate Certificate in Education) and iQTS (International Qualified Teacher Status).

The iPGCE is a postgraduate qualification that provides practical training and theoretical knowledge to new or experienced educators who wish to teach in an international setting. This qualification is recognized globally and can open doors to job opportunities in South Africa and beyond.

On the other hand, iQTS is designed for experienced teachers who hold Qualified Teacher Status from their home country. It provides recognition of teaching qualifications and experience in South Africa, enabling educators to work in international schools.

Both pathways offer numerous benefits, including access to a diverse range of teaching methodologies, networking opportunities, and exposure to multicultural learning environments. These qualifications also enhance your professional development and increase your chances of career advancement.

Furthermore, pursuing the iPGCE or iQTS in South Africa can provide you with a unique opportunity to immerse yourself in the country’s rich and diverse educational landscape. South Africa boasts a vibrant mix of cultures, languages, and teaching practices, offering a truly enriching experience for educators seeking professional growth.

By choosing to undertake either the iPGCE or iQTS in South Africa, you can also contribute to the country’s educational development and make a positive impact on the lives of students from various backgrounds. Engaging with local communities and understanding the unique challenges faced by South African schools can broaden your perspective and enhance your teaching skills.

Why become a teacher in South Africa?

Teaching in South Africa can be a deeply fulfilling experience, both personally and professionally. Here are some reasons why many educators choose to pursue a career in this vibrant country:

  • The opportunity to make a positive impact on students’ lives and contribute to their educational growth.
  • The chance to immerse yourself in a rich and diverse cultural environment, broadening your perspective and fostering cross-cultural understanding.
  • The ability to experience South Africa’s breathtaking landscapes, wildlife, and vibrant cities.
  • The prospect of teaching in renowned international schools with excellent resources and facilities.
  • The potential for professional and personal growth through exposure to different teaching methodologies and approaches.

South Africa, known for its diverse population and rich history, offers a unique setting for educators looking to make a difference. With 11 official languages and a blend of cultures, teaching in South Africa provides a platform to celebrate diversity and promote inclusivity in the classroom. By engaging with students from various backgrounds, teachers can create a learning environment that embraces different perspectives and encourages open-mindedness.

Furthermore, South Africa’s education system is undergoing continuous development and reform, presenting teachers with the opportunity to be at the forefront of innovation and change. By being part of this evolving landscape, educators can contribute to shaping the future of education in the country and play a vital role in addressing societal challenges through knowledge and empowerment.

What qualifications do I need to teach in South Africa?

In South Africa, international school teachers are typically required to hold a teaching qualification and have relevant teaching experience. The specific requirements may vary depending on the school and the position you are applying for.

For the iPGCE pathway, you will need a bachelor’s degree or equivalent qualification in the subject(s) you wish to teach. Additionally, you’ll need to complete the iPGCE program, which includes both theoretical coursework and practical teaching experience.

If you choose the iQTS pathway, you must have Qualified Teacher Status from your home country. This qualification will be recognized in South Africa, but you may need to undergo an assessment to determine your suitability for teaching in an international school.

It’s important to note that each school may have its own specific requirements, so it’s advisable to research and communicate directly with the schools you are interested in to ensure you meet their criteria.

What’s the hiring process for becoming an international teacher in South Africa?

The hiring process for international school teachers in South Africa typically involves the following steps:

  1. Research and identify the schools you are interested in working for.
  2. Check the school’s website and review their available positions, requirements, and application process.
  3. Prepare your application, which usually includes a CV, cover letter, and copies of your teaching qualifications and certificates.
  4. Submit your application online or via email, following the specific instructions provided by the school.
  5. If shortlisted, you may be invited for an interview, which could be conducted in person or via video conference.
  6. During the interview, be prepared to discuss your teaching philosophy, experience, and your passion for teaching in an international setting.
  7. If successful, you will receive a job offer, which will outline the terms and conditions of your employment.
  8. Upon accepting the offer, you may need to undergo a background check and provide additional documentation, such as references or a criminal record check.

It’s crucial to stay organized and keep track of the application deadlines and requirements for each school you apply to. Additionally, maintaining open and professional communication throughout the process will demonstrate your commitment and enthusiasm for the role.

Living as an international teacher in South Africa

Moving to South Africa as an international school teacher can be an enriching experience. Here are some aspects to consider when settling into your new life:

  • Accommodation: Research the housing options available, such as on-campus housing or apartments nearby. Consider the cost of living and proximity to the school.
  • Work-Life Balance: South Africa offers a wide range of leisure activities. Take time to explore the country’s natural beauty, cultural events, and outdoor adventures.
  • Support Networks: Connect with other international teachers and join relevant communities or professional organizations. They can provide guidance, support, and valuable insights.

Embrace the opportunity to engage with the local community, learn about their customs, traditions, and language. This will enhance your teaching experience and foster positive relationships with students, colleagues, and their families.

Cultural Insights for International Teachers in South Africa

Cultural sensitivity and understanding are vital when teaching in South Africa. Here are some insights to help create a positive classroom environment:

  • Respect for Diversity: South Africa is known for its diverse population, with various ethnic groups and languages. Celebrate and acknowledge this diversity in your teaching practices.
  • Language Considerations: English is widely spoken in international schools, but many students may have another home language. Learn key phrases in local languages and show an interest in your students’ cultural backgrounds.
  • Non-Verbal Communication: Be mindful of cultural differences in body language and gestures. Understand that different cultures may interpret non-verbal cues differently.

Creating an inclusive space where students feel valued and respected will contribute to their academic success and personal development.

Cost of Living in South Africa

The cost of living in South Africa can vary depending on the city and lifestyle you prefer. While South Africa offers affordable living compared to many other countries, it’s essential to budget carefully. Here are some typical expenses to consider:

  • Accommodation: Rental costs and property prices can vary significantly, with cities like Cape Town and Johannesburg being more expensive than smaller towns.
  • Transportation: Public transport options, such as buses and trains, are available in major cities. Alternatively, you may choose to purchase a car if you live further from the school.
  • Food and Groceries: South Africa offers a diverse range of cuisines and local markets where you can find fresh produce at affordable prices.
  • Healthcare and Insurance: It’s advisable to have comprehensive health insurance coverage while living in South Africa.

Researching the cost of living in your desired location will help you plan your finances and ensure that your salary package is adequate to cover your expenses.

Popular International Schools in South Africa

South Africa boasts several reputable international schools that provide a high-quality education and foster a supportive learning environment. Some popular international schools in South Africa include:

  • The American International School of Cape Town
  • Reddam House – Johannesburg
  • Bridge House School – Franschhoek
  • St. Mary’s School, Waverley – Johannesburg
  • Deutsche Schule Hermannsburg

These schools offer a wide range of curricula and cater to students from diverse cultural backgrounds. Before applying to any school, consider their teaching approach, facilities, and location to find the best fit for your teaching style and personal preferences.

Challenges for International Teachers and How to Overcome Them in South Africa

Teaching in a new country brings its own set of challenges. Here are some common hurdles international teachers may face in South Africa, along with strategies to overcome them:

  • Language Barrier: While English is widely spoken in international schools, some students may have limited proficiency. Establish clear communication channels and consider using visual aids or bilingual support to bridge the language gap.
  • Cultural Adjustment: Adapting to a new culture can be both exciting and challenging. Take the time to learn about local customs, traditions, and values. Embrace the differences and be open-minded.
  • Classroom Management: Every classroom comes with its unique dynamics. Invest time in building positive relationships with your students, set clear expectations, and establish consistent routines to foster a supportive learning environment.
  • Social Integration: Making connections with colleagues and the local community is crucial for a fulfilling experience. Attend social events, join clubs or groups, and actively engage with your surroundings.

Remember, challenges are a part of any teaching role, but with flexibility, adaptability, and support from colleagues and school management, you can overcome them and thrive in your new teaching environment.


Becoming an international school teacher in South Africa is an exciting opportunity to expand your horizons, experience a unique cultural landscape, and make a difference in the lives of students. The pathways and benefits, qualifications required, hiring process, living arrangements, cultural insights, the cost of living, popular international schools, and challenges discussed in this article provide a comprehensive overview of what to expect on this incredible journey. By equipping yourself with the necessary qualifications, embracing cultural diversity, and overcoming challenges with resilience, you can embark on a fulfilling career as an international school teacher in South Africa.

Take the Next Step in Your International Teaching Career with IPGCE

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