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TESOL Arabia Conference 2017

 
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Have you ever attended TESOL Arabia?
Yes, and I found the job fair useful.
37%
 37%  [ 3 ]
Yes, and I didn't find the job fair useful.
0%
 0%  [ 0 ]
Yes, but I wasn't there for the job fair.
25%
 25%  [ 2 ]
No, I haven't.
37%
 37%  [ 3 ]
Total Votes : 8

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AmericanAmina



Joined: 15 Dec 2015
Posts: 95
Location: Abu Dhabi, UAE

PostPosted: Fri Mar 10, 2017 5:38 pm    Post subject: TESOL Arabia Conference 2017 Reply with quote

This is my first time to attend TESOL Arabia, so I just thought I would start a thread to give my general impressions, and others who are attending can jump in and give their impressions, too.

Two days are finished, and one day is left.

Cost:
TESOL Arabia membership- 150aed / $40
Conference fee (early registration, member)- 500aed / $136
Job fair fee- 200aed / $54

Total cost: 850aed / $230

I live in Abu Dhabi, so there was no cost for a flight or a hotel.

My main motivation for attending this conference was the job fair. The job fair works like this. There is an exhibition hall where different groups are advertising their products and services related to teaching English, and in the back of this exhibition hall there is a corner that is the "job fair." There are small sheets of paper posted on the wall. Each paper describes a university or other group that is hiring at the conference. There were 18 in total. There is no face-to-face interaction at this point.

You walk past this wall of listings, and for each university/group you would like to interview with, you take out one copy of your CV and write the code for that group on your CV. You then submit your stack of CVs at a central desk.

There is a bigger piece of paper hanging on another wall with all of the universities listed. Whenever a university likes a CV and wants to interview someone, they send a message downstairs to the job fair and where someone gets out a red magic marker and writes the id number of that person on the big paper underneath the university name.

So you keep checking back until you (hopefully) find your id number scribbled in under one of the university names. At this point, you identify yourself at the desk and they let you pick a time to interview.

At the interview time, you go upstairs to the assigned interview room, and you have 30 minutes allotted to interview with your potential employer.

I found my number posted under two of the universities yesterday, but it was late and most of the interviews slots were filled for the day, so I set up the two interviews for this afternoon. When I arrived at the conference today, a third university had my id number under it, so I set up that interview, too.

While the job fair corner in the exhibition hall was almost laughable, the interviews themselves were highly professional. The interviewers were people in authority over the departments they were hiring for. The interview rooms were nice, and the atmosphere was all business.

I interviewed with:
Princess Nourah University (Riyadh, Saudi Arabia)
Al Nawa, the agency hiring for the Colleges of Technology (various locations in Oman)
King Abdul Aziz University (Jeddah, Saudi Arabia)

All three said I would hear back from them in the next week or two. Princess Nourah University said that this is the first step in a 4-step process, and that I would be notified early next week if they wanted to continue with me. Al Nawa said I will hear from them by Monday (this is Friday). King Abdul Aziz University said I will hear from them probably this coming week, but not later than the next week.

For me, this turned out to be a pretty productive experience. I may or may not get job offers, but I got the chance to interview, so this was worth the cost I invested. There were other people there who weren't getting called for interviews after paying international airfare. Honestly, I would have been pretty agitated in their place. There really should have been more employers at the fair.

Noticeably absent at this conference were any local universities. There were zero, zip, zilch universities/schools/training centers from anywhere in the UAE at the job fair. Is it just me, or is that a little odd?

This is my 2 cents worth, just for anyone considering attending this conference in the future. Others please feel free to add your own impressions or questions.


Last edited by AmericanAmina on Fri Mar 10, 2017 5:41 pm; edited 2 times in total
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AmericanAmina



Joined: 15 Dec 2015
Posts: 95
Location: Abu Dhabi, UAE

PostPosted: Fri Mar 10, 2017 5:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

SORRY!

That was a lot of info in one post. Embarassed
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veiledsentiments



Joined: 20 Feb 2003
Posts: 17376
Location: USA

PostPosted: Sat Mar 11, 2017 3:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The lack of UAE employers was glaring, but not surprising. With the end looming for the Foundations programs, I suspect that most employers don't really know if they need to hire.

Things are going to get even messier...

VS
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Gulezar



Joined: 19 Jun 2007
Posts: 418

PostPosted: Sat Mar 11, 2017 5:59 am    Post subject: Online Reply with quote

AmericanAmina wrote:
SORRY!

That was a lot of info in one post. Embarassed


Many universities in the UAE have an online application submission. After a brutal first cut, those who make it through the hoops get to do a Skype. This is not for ALL universities, but for many here. Also, many just are not hiring, but are downsizing drastically.

I did get my current job through the TECON Job Fair, several years ago. I got my other jobs in the Gulf by submission of a resume at various TESOL International Conferences; however, I was contacted afterwards for a Skype. Times have changed.
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nomad soul



Joined: 31 Jan 2010
Posts: 10159
Location: The real world

PostPosted: Sat Mar 11, 2017 7:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I got my KSA job five or so years ago via TESOL Arabia's job fair. I interviewed with three Saudi universities and had subsequent second interviews with two of them months later when I was back in the US. The in-person experience was stress-free and personable, and I got to see the humorous, laid-back side of my Jeddawi interviewers. Wink
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indirect.object



Joined: 26 May 2008
Posts: 43

PostPosted: Mon Mar 20, 2017 12:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Greetings -

I was there and enjoyed the professional development course I completed, and I think some of the conference presenters, like Dudley Reynolds and Dr. Maher Bahloul, left me with a lasting positive impression based on their obvious pedagogical expertise, which I've begun to build on in my work.

In response to your statement: "There were zero, zip, zilch universities/schools/training centers from anywhere in the UAE at the job fair. Is it just me, or is that a little odd? "

First, I would say it was not an exciting job fair compared to fairs I've attended in the past including TESOL Arabia 2006. However, I know there was indeed a pretty interesting UAE-based school there, because they interviewed me.

Particularly lame was Qatar Community College's no-show...
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Gulezar



Joined: 19 Jun 2007
Posts: 418

PostPosted: Tue Mar 21, 2017 4:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

indirect.object wrote:

In response to your statement: "There were zero, zip, zilch universities/schools/training centers from anywhere in the UAE at the job fair. Is it just me, or is that a little odd? "


It is not odd. Very few universities are actively hiring. Most are cutting back on their staff. If you want a position with a university in the UAE, do not pass the TACON job fair and go directly to the universities online job portal. The universities have set up these portals at considerable expense and have hired Emirates to run the HR departments. A face-to-face interview would be of very little benefit since there is so much red tape to go through for the security check that the interview panel would not be able to make a job offer, as they could in the past. Skype costs a lot less than the TACON employer's fee.

That said, if you are in the region, TACON is a fantastic place to network and meet folks from the EFL community and catch up with former colleagues. That's where you could get the back story on what the real job environment is like in a specific institution.
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mishmumkin



Joined: 01 Sep 2007
Posts: 925

PostPosted: Tue Mar 21, 2017 5:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

veiledsentiments wrote:
The lack of UAE employers was glaring, but not surprising. With the end looming for the Foundations programs, I suspect that most employers don't really know if they need to hire.

Things are going to get even messier...

VS


It was a very short list. Naturally, TACON organisers can't affect the job market. I think the absence of your usual big employers was a real sign of the times.
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nomad soul



Joined: 31 Jan 2010
Posts: 10159
Location: The real world

PostPosted: Tue Mar 21, 2017 6:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

indirect.object wrote:
Particularly lame was Qatar Community College's no-show...

Another participant stated that CCQ was there. Maybe their hiring managers left the job fair early. Some employers fill their openings quickly.
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indirect.object



Joined: 26 May 2008
Posts: 43

PostPosted: Tue Mar 21, 2017 9:04 am    Post subject: CCQ no-show Reply with quote

Regarding the Community College of Qatar, it was indeed odd, more than odd (it was lame), that they did not show up to receive CVs, because their job posting was there hanging among the others, and had been on the job fair website prior to the conference, where only institutions who have paid for that privilege can post (so I was told).

It's definitely possible a person breezing past those job postings would conclude that they were present.

On the first day, it was announced that they were not present but were coming. They weren't there on day two (but their posting was). At the end of the job fair, I was informed that they did not come after all, but that all the CVs submitted for them would be couriered to them in Qatar for them to consider.

By the way, many thanks to Nomad Soul for the useful tips on preparing for the job fair (posted on eslcafe.com), which I did refer to in my preparation.
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