Living and Teaching in Paradise: The Seychelles
By Lindsay VartyClose your eyes and dream up the ultimate vision of paradise: palm trees swaying in the wind as crystal blue waters lap against vast beaches of pure white sand. Hot summer sun and cloudless skies an everyday inevitability. Well, that’s where you could be heading if you choose to teach English in the Seychelles!
With an archipelago of 115 islands sprawled across the Indian Ocean, and a year-round temperature range of 24 to 31 °C, the Seychelles offer an array of tropical honeymoon-esque delights. Between classes, why not pop out for a spot of snorkeling or scuba diving and experience some of the world’s most spectacular marine life? With dolphins, whales, sea turtles and over a 1000 species of fish, these waters will transform any pale city-dweller into a veritable sea baby in no time!
Hire a boat and go sailing around the islands or try your luck at hauling in a dog-tooth tuna or giant barracuda on a deep sea fishing excursion. And don’t worry if you accidently hook a shark (apparently not too rare an occurrence) as they are a common delicacy in the Seychelles islands.
The three main islands are Praslin, La Digue and Mahé offer pristine beaches backed by big glacis boulder hills. Go inland on Mahé island to discover the breathtaking Morne Seychellois National Park– the thick green rainforest makes you feel like you’ve fallen into the set of Jurassic park. If you’re lucky, you’ll catch a glimpse of the rare Seychelles black parrot (the national bird), the curious jellyfish tree or the Aldabra giant tortoise.
With such an exotic blend of French, African, Creole and Chinese cultures, the Seychelles have many diverse traditions and festivals. During the week-long October Creole festival, the islands erupt in parties and celebration of Creole dance, music, arts, and cuisine. So don your Rasta hat and dreadlocks and make it down to the beach for this one!
There are two major English Language private schools in the Seychelles that offer teaching positions and work as private tutors for their students, however the majority of English teaching jobs can be found simply by asking around the locals. You will need a Gainful Occupation Permit to work in the Seychelles, but these are fairly easy to obtain and friendly employers are always happy to help. The cost of living is moderate- just stay away from the high-class luxury hotels and tourist shops.
The only thing you might have to watch out for is the sometimes frustratingly laidback tempo of life and work on the islands. Apparently it takes a while to roll out of one’s hammock and do things!