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

International teachers

The “Warm Heart of Africa” Malawi boasts serene lake shores, lush national parks, and vibrant markets, along with a low cost of living, allowing teachers to enjoy a comfortable lifestyle while still having opportunities for savings and travel.

Malawi’s friendly and welcoming people create a supportive and inclusive environment international teacher, promising a fulfilling experience filled with cultural immersion, professional growth, and unforgettable memories in one of Africa’s most captivating destinations.

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


Visa requirements for international teachers in Malawi

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

Alongside the job offer, teachers are usually required to submit various documents, including a valid passport, passport-sized photos, proof of qualifications or teaching credentials, a medical certificate, and a police clearance certificate from their home country. Additionally, teachers may need to undergo a health screening and provide evidence of sufficient funds to support themselves during their stay in Malawi.

Once the necessary documents are submitted, teachers can apply for a work permit and residence visa through the Malawian embassy or consulate in their home country.

For detailed information, visit the Malawian government website.


Cost of living for international teachers in Malawi

Generally, Malawi offers a relatively low cost of living compared to many other countries, making it an attractive destination for educators seeking affordability without compromising on quality of life.

Housing expenses typically constitute a significant portion of the budget, with rental prices varying based on location and amenities. Accommodations in urban areas like Lilongwe and Blantyre 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 generally 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 Malawi, such as minibuses and taxis, is inexpensive and widely available, providing teachers with affordable options for getting around. Additionally, healthcare costs in Malawi are generally lower compared to many other countries, although access to quality medical care may vary depending on location.

Cost of living in Lilongwe (USD)

Rent for one-bedroom apartment – $55 per month
Loaf of bread – $0.90
Litre of milk – 0.95
12 eggs – $1.05
Takeaway coffee – $2.25
Meal for two at mid-range restaurant – $22.30


Healthcare for international teachers in Malawi

Healthcare for international teachers in Malawi varies in quality and accessibility depending on their location and resources available. While Malawi’s healthcare system faces challenges such as limited infrastructure and resources, efforts have been made to improve access to medical services for residents and expatriates alike.

Private health insurance typically offers access to private hospitals and clinics, which may provide higher quality care and shorter wait times compared to public healthcare facilities. However, it’s important to note that even private healthcare in Malawi may not meet the standards of Western countries, and complex medical cases may require evacuation to neighbouring countries or repatriation to the teacher’s home country.

Public healthcare in Malawi is available to all residents, including expatriates, but facilities may be limited in remote areas and may lack essential medical supplies and equipment. International teachers should familiarise themselves with the nearest healthcare facilities and emergency services in their area and ensure they have appropriate medical insurance coverage to address any healthcare needs during their time in Malawi.

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 Malawi.

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


Cultural expectations and norms for international teachers in Malawi

Malawian society values respect, community, and hospitality, and international teachers are expected to embrace these values in their interactions with students, colleagues, and the local community. Respect for elders and authority figures is highly regarded, and teachers should demonstrate deference and courtesy in their professional and social interactions.

Additionally, Malawians place a strong emphasis on family and communal relationships, and teachers are expected to foster a sense of belonging and inclusivity within the classroom and school community. Punctuality is important in Malawian culture, and teachers should strive to arrive on time for meetings, classes, and other engagements.

Language is another important aspect of Malawian culture, with Chichewa being the national language and English being widely spoken. While English is commonly used in schools and business settings, international teachers may benefit from learning basic Chichewa phrases to facilitate communication and build rapport with students and colleagues.

Religion also plays a significant role in Malawian society, with Christianity being the predominant faith. Teachers should be respectful of religious customs and traditions, particularly during religious holidays and observances.


Expat communities for international teachers in Malawi

Expat communities for international teachers in Malawi offer valuable support networks, social connections, and resources to help navigate the challenges of living and working abroad. While Malawi 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 often centre around international schools and educational institutions, where expat teachers may connect through school-sponsored events, professional development opportunities, and social gatherings. 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.

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


Schrole international schools in Malawi

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

Bishop Mackenzie International School 

Full access

To career opportunities across the globe

$50 USD per year
Paid 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 400+ international schools representing 100+ countries.
  • 5,000+ teaching vacancies every recruitment season.
  • Unlimited number of job applications.
  • Custom alerts so you’re the first to hear when your preferred roles are posted.
  • Access to virtual and in-person recruitment events with school leaders and recruiters.

Limited access

To career opportunities across the globe

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.

The majority of our new international faculty now come to us through Schrole. In fact, our school exclusively uses Schrole as our global recruitment tool, having tried and stopped using other sites. This is how much faith we have in Schrole as a valuable resource with good customer service.

Donald Holder Foreign Principal
Tsinghua International School, Daoxiang Lake
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Tsinghua International School Daoxiang Lake