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Everything you need to know about becoming an international teacher in Kenya

International teachers

Kenya’s stunning natural beauty, from its savannahs teeming with wildlife to its picturesque coastal beaches, combined with its rich cultural heritage of over 40 different ethnic groups, provides an unparalleled opportunity for adventure and cross-cultural exchange.

As an international teacher, you can make a meaningful impact on the lives of Kenyan students while experiencing the warmth and hospitality of the local community.

In this blog, we’ll cover everything you need to know about becoming an international teacher in Kenya, including visa requirements, cost of living, healthcare, cultural expectations and norms, and expat communities.


 Visa requirements for international teachers in Kenya

International teachers planning to work in Nigeria will need to obtain an appropriate work visa and work permit. The process begins with securing a job offer from a Kenyan educational institution, which serves as the basis for the visa application.

Alongside the job offer, you are required to submit various documents, including a valid passport, passport-sized photos, proof of qualifications or teaching credentials, a medical examination certificate, and a police clearance certificate from their home country.

Additionally, you may need to provide evidence of sufficient funds to support themselves during their stay in Kenya and proof of accommodation arrangements. Once in Kenya, you must apply for a work permit from the Department of Immigration, which allows you to legally work in the country.

For detailed information, visit the Kenyan government website.


Cost of living for international teachers in Kenya

Generally, Kenya offers a relatively affordable standard of living compared to many Western countries, making it an attractive destination for educators seeking a balance between comfort and affordability.

Housing expenses constitute a significant portion of the budget, with rental prices varying based on location and amenities. Accommodations in urban areas like Nairobi, Mombasa, or Kisumu may be more expensive compared to rural areas, but teachers can still find affordable options to suit their budget.

Utilities such as electricity, water, and internet are typically reasonably priced, although prices may vary depending on usage and location. Groceries and dining out are also relatively affordable, with a variety of options available to suit different tastes and budgets.

Public transportation in Kenya, such as matatus (minibuses) and boda bodas (motorcycle taxis), is inexpensive and widely available, providing teachers with affordable options for getting around. Additionally, healthcare costs in Kenya are generally lower compared to many Western countries, although access to quality medical care may vary depending on location.

Cost of living in Nairobi (USD)

Rent for one-bedroom apartment in city centre – $450 per month
Rent for one-bedroom apartment outside city centre – $195 per month
Loaf of bread – $0.50
Litre of milk – $0.85
12 eggs – $1.65
Takeaway coffee – $2.25
Meal for two at mid-range restaurant – $29.10
Meal at inexpensive restaurant – $4.35


Healthcare for international teachers in Kenya

Kenya has both public and private healthcare facilities, with services ranging from basic to specialised care. In major cities like Nairobi, Mombasa, and Kisumu, international teachers may access modern hospitals and clinics that offer a wide range of medical services. However, in rural areas, healthcare infrastructure may be limited, and access to quality medical care may be more challenging.

Private health insurance typically offers access to private healthcare facilities, shorter wait times, and more personalised care. Additionally, some international schools in Kenya may have onsite medical clinics or partnerships with local healthcare providers to ensure prompt medical attention for staff and students.

It’s essential for international teachers to prioritise their health and well-being by seeking comprehensive health insurance coverage and familiarising themselves with the nearest healthcare facilities and emergency services in their area.

Additionally, preventive measures such as vaccinations, practicing good hygiene, and seeking prompt medical attention for any health concerns are crucial for maintaining health while living and working in Kenya.

Many international schools in Kenya offer health insurance as part of their employment package.


Cultural expectations and norms for international teachers in Kenya

Respect, hospitality, and communal values are highly valued traits in Kenyan society, and international teachers are expected to embrace these values in their interactions with students, colleagues, and the local community. Kenyan culture places a strong emphasis on social hierarchy and respect for elders, so teachers should demonstrate deference and courtesy towards senior colleagues and community members. Additionally, punctuality is important in Kenyan culture, and teachers are expected to arrive on time for meetings, classes, and other engagements.

Kenya is home to over 40 different ethnic groups, each with its own unique customs, traditions, and languages. International teachers should strive to learn about and respect the cultural diversity of their students and colleagues, embracing opportunities for cross-cultural exchange and learning. Building strong relationships with students, parents, and community members is key to success as a teacher in Kenya, and teachers should prioritise open communication, empathy, and understanding in their interactions.

Religion also plays a significant role in Kenyan society, with Christianity being the predominant faith. However, Kenya is a secular state, and teachers should avoid promoting any particular religious beliefs in the classroom. Instead, teachers should foster an inclusive and respectful learning environment that celebrates cultural and religious diversity.


Expat communities for international teachers in Kenya

Expat communities for international teachers in Kenya offer valuable support networks, social connections, and resources to help navigate the challenges of living and working abroad. While Kenya may not have as large or established expatriate communities as some other countries, expat teachers can still find camaraderie and solidarity among fellow educators from diverse backgrounds.

These communities are often centred around international schools and educational institutions in major cities like Nairobi, Mombasa, and Kisumu, where expat teachers may connect through school-sponsored events, social gatherings, and professional development opportunities. Additionally, online forums, social media groups, and expat-focused websites serve as valuable platforms for information-sharing, networking, and seeking advice on various aspects of expatriate life.

Expatriate organisations and clubs may organise cultural events, language exchanges, and recreational activities, providing opportunities for socialising, exploring Kenyan culture, and building friendships with both expatriates and locals.

Participating in expat communities not only enhances the social and cultural experience of teaching in Kenya but also provides a support system and sense of belonging amidst the challenges of living abroad.


Schrole international schools in Kenya

Ready to find out what Kenya has to offer you? Explore Schrole international schools in Kenya now:

Woodland Star International School (Kenya)
Rosslyn Academy – Nairobi Kenya

Full access

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$50 USD per year
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  • Ability to create a unique educator profile that holds your references and important documents, such as teaching qualifications, all in one location.
  • Access to our entire database of 400+ international schools representing 100+ countries.
  • 5,000+ teaching vacancies every recruitment season.
  • Unlimited number of job applications.
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Free membership
  • Ability to create a unique educator profile that holds your references and important documents, such as teaching qualifications, all in one location.
  • Access to our entire database of schools to discover your next teaching role.
  • Submission of three job applications.

I cannot stress enough the impact Schrole has had on the overall quality of educators we have recruited. By leveraging its powerful search capabilities, comprehensive candidate profiles, and advanced tools, we have successfully identified exceptional teachers who have had an immeasurable impact on our student's lives. Their passion, dedication, and innovative teaching methodologies have elevated the standard of education at our school and ignited a love for learning among our students.

Daiju Vithayathil Secondary School Principal
Panyaden International School

Panyaden International School