Work and Travel in Bahrain
VOLUNTEER AND PAID WORK OPPORTUNITIES IN BAHRAIN FOR TRAVELLERS
Bahrain is a rarely visited kingdom in the Middle East. Dominated by its bigger neighbour in Saudi Arabia, few people explore what it’s like to travel in Bahrain.
One thing people quickly realise is how expensive the country is to travel in. It’s not uncommon for backpackers to work and travel in Bahrain to stay longer and discover more about a place most people couldn’t point out on a map.
For an insight into the Middle East, take a look at these volunteer opportunities in Bahrain. Our travel guide to Bahrain will set you well on your way to an unforgettable experience (https://www.lonelyplanet.com/bahrain).
1. Teach English in Bahrain
Bahrain may be a wealthy country, but English teaching has never been a priority for the state in the past. Young people who want to work abroad, however, are eager to learn how to speak English.
To work in a school or university, you will usually be asked for formal qualifications. But native English speakers tend to be allowed to teach without any qualifications, especially if they’re working for a family on a private basis.
Consider obtaining the TEFL prior to backpacking Bahrain because it will give you far more opportunities.
How strict Bahrain is depends on the age group you intend on teaching. The rules are much more lenient for teaching younger children.
2. Work in an Orphanage in Bahrain
Don’t be taken in by the luxury shops and apartment buildings in Bahrain, there’s still a lot of poor people here. Bahrain runs a network of orphanages staffed by foreign volunteers.
Working in an orphanage could be one of the most rewarding experiences of your life. As always, though, do your due diligence before agreeing to work for an orphanage.
Although not as prevalent in the Middle East, there are still orphanages that insist on charging foreigners for the right to volunteer. You should never be asked to pay to work and travel in Bahrain.
3. Preserving the Wildlife in Bahrain
Bahrain is so much more than a giant cityscape. Its position as part of the vast desert covering most of the Middle East means that there’s more wildlife than you might think when you first start to travel in Bahrain.
Volunteering with camels in the desert is a popular choice for travellers in the country. Another option is caring for antelope, such as the Reem Gazelle.
One of the big volunteering opportunities in Bahrain is to help preserve this wildlife. Arabic is never required for you to participate, but some programmes have been known to provide basic lessons to help you adjust to your new environment.
Again, qualifications are highly valued but not necessary for securing a position.
VOLUNTEER WORK VISA / PERMIT REQUIREMENTS FOR BAHRAIN
Volunteering in Bahrain isn’t easy because most nationalities are only able to enter the country for 30 days, depending on the type of Bahraini visa (https://www.evisa.gov.bh/VisaBhr1En.html). For shorter programmes on a bigger Middle East trip, Bahrain is a good choice.
Thankfully, every nationality, beyond some African, Southeast Asian, and Central Asian nations are entitled to an e-visa or a visa-on-arrival (https://www.evisa.gov.bh/VisaBhr3En.html). The only requirement is that you will always be asked for an onward ticket.
The only exception to the 30-day e-visa rule is UK and Irish citizens, who can stay the conventional 90 days (https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/bahrain/entry-requirements).
Due to the strictness of the Bahraini entry policy, you should always make sure that you have everything planned and organised prior to your arrival. You don’t have time to waste.
SEASONAL BACKPACKER SKILLS NEEDED IN BAHRAIN
The spring time is a good time to work in Bahrain because of the relatively mild temperatures. Wildlife conservation is always a popular option during spring.
One particular type of programme many backpackers in Bahrain are interested in is camel conservation. Bahrain has a large population of camels that, in some cases, are still used to cross the desert. Caring for these camels can be a unique experience that will always make a future job application stand out.
You’ll also be able to get outside of the urban area and see a part of Bahrain most tourists never see.
Summer in Bahrain can be unbearable. Temperatures can hit almost 50 during June and July. This is why we don’t recommend any outdoor projects at this time of year.
Instead, consider working in orphanages or working in the education sector. Air conditioning is everywhere in the kingdom and you’ll be able to escape the dangerous summer heat.
This is also the primary holiday time for students. You may be able to teach extra classes or work on a private basis. However, this is by far the worst time of year to work and travel in Bahrain.
Autumn sees a return of the mild temperatures of spring, from around the end of September/start of October. It’s also when the new school year starts.
If you want to get real work experience in a school or university teaching English, now is the time to do it. As previously mentioned, you will have a much easier time securing volunteering opportunities in Bahrain if you already have a qualification like the TEFL.
Native English speakers may be able to gain an exception to this rule, but it’s always going to depend on the host in question.
There are no specific seasonal backpacker skills needed in winter in Bahrain. You should refer back to the previous sections as all of them are valid at this time of year.
Winter sees colder temperatures at night, but this is an otherwise great time to travel in Bahrain.
ATTITUDE TO FOREIGNERS WORKING OR VOLUNTEERING IN BAHRAIN
Bahrain has a large contingent of foreign workers in various sectors. It’s also a more liberal country than some of its neighbours, so you should have few problems dealing with religious law here.
But that doesn’t mean you can behave as you would in a Western country. There are still strict penalties for offending Islam and you should take care to observe the conservative elements present within the country.
Do you want to do something different by volunteering in Bahrain this year?
- Edited on Sep 20 2018 by Mariia