Where is Brunei?
While many people believe that Brunei is in the Middle East as it is a small oil-rich Muslim state, it is actually situated in Southeast Asia on the Northeast coast of the island of Borneo, 450 KM north of the Equator. Brunei is divided into two separate sections and is totally surrounded by the Malaysian state of Sarawak.
What is the environment like in Brunei?
The country has a lush, green, leafy feel to it that many people find very attractive, and the amount of flora and fauna is one of the many appealing aspects of life in Brunei. Most people tend to live on or near the coast, as the rest of the country is mostly primary or secondary rainforest. Despite the enormous amount of development which has taken place over the last ten years, there are still very large areas of untouched jungle, as there has been little or no extensive logging and there is not really any heavy industry. The oil industry is concentrated on the southwest coast and does not have a serious degrading effect on the environment. Because of the small population, the towns are not crowded. Thus, much of the country is in pristine condition.
What is the social scene like in Brunei?
Brunei is a Muslim country, therefore Western style nightlife is limited and there are no official pubs or nightclubs. However, the lack of such establishments means that people tend to organize more events and parties themselves. There are a number of clubs and societies one can join to meet people, cinemas showing the latest Hollywood blockbusters, and several restaurants in various price ranges. As well, it is easy to cross the border into Malaysia, where one can visit bars and nightclubs. The border is not usually more than an hour’s drive away. In general, Brunei is a more family-oriented place with many events revolving around children’s activities. However, many single teachers find that they can socialize with other singles and go into the neighbouring states quite easily, making Brunei quite liveable for everyone.
Are there many travel opportunities for teachers in Brunei?
During vacation time, teachers in Brunei can spend their holidays in various places throughout Southeast Asia such as Thailand, Indonesia, and Vietnam. Many teachers take the opportunity to visit Australia and New Zealand, while adventurous types may go farther afield to China or India. It is also fairly easy to travel around Borneo by car, plane or boat.
Is there much crime in Brunei?
Although not crime-free, the crime rate is much lower in Brunei than in Western societies. There is little or no street crime; burglaries are quite rare. It is advised that teachers exercise the same caution as they would in any location. Overall, though, teachers find that Brunei is a very safe place to live, and many prefer the idea of their children growing up in Brunei.
What is the cost of living in Brunei?
In general, teachers find that the cost of living in Brunei is much lower than what they have been used to at home.
How easy is it to buy a car in Brunei?
There is a very large second-hand car market in Brunei, with a wide range of mostly Japanese and other Asian models available. Teachers receive an interest-free B$10,000 car loan upon arrival (paid off over 10 or 20 months). It is still very much a buyer’s market, with price haggling expected. Traffic is quite light in Brunei, unlike most other Asian countries. Apart from certain times of the day, such as when schools finish, traffic tends to flow freely. Roads are generally very good, although in more remote areas they can occasionally be in a poorer state of repair.
What is the electricity supply like in Brunei?
The standard electricity supply in Brunei is 220-240 volts. Plugs are of the 3 prong variety, the same as in the UK. Adapters for other plugs are easy to find. Power outages happen occasionally, in some areas more than others, but usually not for more than a couple of hours.
Where do dependants attend school?
There are two excellent options for expatriate children. Firstly, there is the International School Brunei, where most teachers send their children. Established over 30 years ago, the school follows the UK National Curriculum from Kindergarten up to GCSE and the International Baccalaureate program for years 12 and 13. Teachers at the International School Brunei are mostly UK or Australia trained. Teachers in Brunei will receive an education allowance, assisting with school fees for up to two children. Teachers will need to pay the initial entrance fee to the school for each child. The second option is the Jerudong International School. This school was established in the mid-1990s and also offers the UK National Curriculum through to A Level. The buildings are extensive and purpose-built, and facilities are excellent. Once again, the education allowance makes a considerable contribution towards the cost of education at JIS but, as the fees are quite a bit more than ISB, teachers choosing this option will have to make up the difference themselves.
What are sports facilities like in Brunei?
Nearly every sport is available in Brunei. Popular options include tennis, swimming, scuba diving, squash, football, rugby, and golf. Sporting facilities are typically modern, well-resourced, and fairly inexpensive.