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Cost of Living in Sohar

 
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masrus



Joined: 16 Apr 2005
Posts: 3
Location: Singapore

PostPosted: Mon Apr 18, 2005 11:38 pm    Post subject: Cost of Living in Sohar Reply with quote

Hi All,
Hello, I'm a newbie here. Hope you guys can help me out. My hubby has been offered a job in oil refinery in Sohar expecting about 900 OR with no accomadation or transport priviliages. I have 3 kids of ages 12,10 and 6. Is it a good deal and is it enough for us to live in Oman comfortably? With this pay, will it be enough for us to put our kids to school, our basic needs and savings? Thanks and any input will be much appreciated.
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veiledsentiments



Joined: 20 Feb 2003
Posts: 15614
Location: USA

PostPosted: Tue Apr 19, 2005 1:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Masrus,

Although Sohar is cheaper than Muscat for many things, that is not very good pay. In fact, I am not sure if you will have enough money to pay rent, transportation, and school fees for three children.

Are you expecting them to go to English speaking schools? Have you checked to see what kind of schools are available? I seem to recall that someone posted on here about a year ago and said that the schooling in English available there was very limited. That may have changed, and I hope that there is someone on this board who may know the current situation.

I can't see anyone saving much money at that salary with no benefits. Of course, it depends on your lifestyle, but the school fees are very expensive.

VS
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masrus



Joined: 16 Apr 2005
Posts: 3
Location: Singapore

PostPosted: Tue Apr 19, 2005 3:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi VS,
Thanks for the information. I hope to put my kids to English medium school. I've looked at the term fees of the British and American School in Muscat and they do cost a LOT. I've read the past thread about Sohar, someone mentioned about an Indian and Pakistani School with English medium but I don't know how good they are. So what is the acceptable wage for someone to earn in Oman where they can put their kids in English schools, have some savings,decent accomodation,a car and have a comfortable life there? Thanks.
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mci



Joined: 11 Sep 2004
Posts: 56
Location: Oman

PostPosted: Tue Apr 19, 2005 10:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Masrus,

VS is right and has mentioned it before - Oman is the poor cousin in the Gulf and the wages here are lower than anywhere else - but, even the 900 they have offered without any benefits seems quite low especially for the oil biz. ABA , TAISM and the British school are all excellent and very expensive as you know, not to mention that they are almost 2 hours from Sohar with morning traffic. I don't know a thing about English medium schools in Sohar or anywhere close.

As for an decent wage for the life you describe - for a single income family? Probably 1200-1500 OMR I would guess.

mci
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masrus



Joined: 16 Apr 2005
Posts: 3
Location: Singapore

PostPosted: Thu Apr 21, 2005 5:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the advice it definitely helps us before we make the next step.
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spicegirl



Joined: 29 Mar 2004
Posts: 109

PostPosted: Fri Apr 22, 2005 8:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is an incredibly low salary for a family, as it doesn't include any housing, school fees or medical expenses (?). Yes, Sohar is cheaper than Muscat, but only slightly. Teachers on this kind of salary in Oman could usually expect to get housing, school fees and medical insurance on top of this. However, though you don't explicitly say so, I'm assuming your husband isn't a teacher, but has some other kind of profession related to the oil business. He could therefore realistically expect a higher salary than that of a teacher. You'd have to really want to live in Sohar to accept this offer.
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globalnomad



Joined: 06 Apr 2005
Posts: 25

PostPosted: Wed Apr 27, 2005 5:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

So would you all say that this package for a couple, no kids, possibly single no kids, is a poor package in terms of salary, and related to work hours? (Eng. teaching job - Master's in ESL - Bachelor of Science in Education - Teaching Certificate, 10+years experience abroad, no ME experience, are my qualifications)

Also would you agree with the housing comments? And what kind of expenses are you looking at if one were to consider the "2 bedroom modern flat" to get the air Cond., refrige, and the basic needs items, mattress, pots and pans, tv, etc.. With package, how much can one expect to save? (not a partier, able to adapt to local food, don't need to eat out, but am not a total hermit and like to be comfortable, no need for luxury)

And also, what can one be expected to pay for transportation? Is a car a Must? IS there public transportation? Expensive? reliable? ( let's assume that one tries to live as close as possible to the school, Sohar, university).

Any info. comments on this place..Sohar university?

Thx for any and all feed back.


Basic monthly tax-free salary: from 500 700 OR + 125 Housing allowance + 75 transport allowance.
* 37 hour work week contact hours may fluctuate, averaging 20 hours a week. (approx 900 hours per academic year) Class hours are 50 minutes.
* Occasional Class cover = 2 hours per week. (not included in contact hours)
* 49 days paid annual leave + all Omani local holidays
* Annual paid airfares to home country for staff, spouse and up to 2 children.
* Medical scheme for staff, spouse and up to 2 children.
N. B. There is no furniture allowance.

Accommodation in Sohar is good value. A spacious 2 bedroom modern flat can be rented for less than 100 Omani Rials. A large 3-4 bedroom villa is about 120 160 OR. Flats and villas are almost always unfurnished no air con, cookers, fridges etc.
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veiledsentiments



Joined: 20 Feb 2003
Posts: 15614
Location: USA

PostPosted: Wed Apr 27, 2005 8:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

globalnomad,

You are asking about Sohar University package, right? I'd say that it would be OK for a single person, but if you have kids, the spouse better be home schooling them. Laughing A non-working spouse might find Sohar a boring place - it is rather small.

I just read the ad and must say that I was impressed with their honesty about the package and probable costs. With your credentials, you should come in at the top of their salary scale.

Assuming top of scale and no kids, it is an OK package. It is a good 'get your foot into the Middle East door' kind of job. SU had a lot of problems at the beginning, but there haven't been many rumbles of discontent for the last couple of years.

The biggest negative that I see (assuming no children) is the lack of a furniture allowance. The ad made it clear that most flats are completely empty. That means that you arrive in the worst of the summer heat and have to run around buying air conditioners and everything else that you need to furnish a flat. That is stressful enough when you are using their money - but downright painful when you are spending salary that you haven't earned or been paid yet. This means that you better arrive with about US$2000 in your pocket to get set up and tide you over until the first paycheck shows up. (don't know how quick they are about this... maybe someone else can tell us...)

In Oman a car is a necessity, not a luxury. It is rather like living in surburia. There is no guarantee that you could get a flat in walking distance of the university - and walking distance gets very short when it is 50C outside and humid. There are buses, but the routes are not extensive, so it may not serve you. Taxis are cheap, but again not always there when you need one. There are plenty of used cars, but be very careful as many of the them have been terribly abused and never serviced.

VS
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globalnomad



Joined: 06 Apr 2005
Posts: 25

PostPosted: Wed Apr 27, 2005 10:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thx for the info Veil.

So taking all that into consideration and surviving that expensive first month....how much do you think one could save a month?
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zakiah25



Joined: 09 Feb 2003
Posts: 155
Location: Oman

PostPosted: Thu Apr 28, 2005 2:36 am    Post subject: add-on Reply with quote

Again VS has told u all the right things - no furniture allowance and arriving in a new country to set up an apartment in peak Summer heat is going to be difficult.
I'm wondering about the teaching hours however.....average 20 hours plus occasional 2 hours per week plus "flexible" hours of duty? This could prove a difficulty if you don't have a car and they expect you to do split shifts to cover the evening courses.Also, the wording "contact hours may fluctuate" could mean anything - I'd prefer to have some idea of the range and frequency of these fluctuating hours?
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veiledsentiments



Joined: 20 Feb 2003
Posts: 15614
Location: USA

PostPosted: Thu Apr 28, 2005 2:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

globalnomad

That is so hard to say. For one thing, you were not clear whether you were married or single. Laughing

Let's say you come in at the top of the scale 900 OR and get a flat for 100. I would say that about 200 covered all of my bills (utilities, phone, food, internet, petrol, some travel). Now I am a pretty boring person, and I don't drink. Booze can be pricey. That leaves 600 OR for savings and/or car payments and/or splurges. (Zakiah brought up a good point confirming the need for a car.)

Have you applied other places? I would think that with your credentials, you may be able to do better. If Oman is your interest, did you try SQU? HCT is still recruiting in the UAE.

VS
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cody jarrett



Joined: 28 Feb 2004
Posts: 21
Location: Middle East

PostPosted: Thu Apr 28, 2005 9:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

globalnomad,
i worked there a couple of years ago -

1) the apartments are empty and you have to have a refrigerator; aircon in at least the room you sleep in in summer; something to cook on, even if it is only a couple of electric rings. 125 rials got an aparment near/on the corniche.

2) a car is a necessity unless you live in the bed-sit rooms near the uni, but then you are surrounded by friendly, but noisy students. you can hire a car for about 150 rials a month.

3) no international schools - there is an indian school and a pakistani school that use english as the medium - but in 2003 they were unable to take any but their own nationals because they did not have the room.

4) Sohar - lovely little seaside town - friendly people, all the basics available in the souk or one big supermarket, and Muscat and Al Ain are only two hours away by car for the more exotic needs. road passes are easily available to Al Ain which is in the UAE.

5) couple of 5 star hotels provide entertainment - Sohar Beach Hotel being the main expat gathering place; it has a good pool and a small gym.

6) Sohar Uni - good place to work when i was there despite the teething problems that existed; they are probably gone by now. mixed classes of about 20 students per class; mostly well -behaved but very low levels of proficiency, and it is a bit of a dream to try and prepare them for uni level classes in one year. the bosses were talking of making it an 18 month prep course but even two years would be a push.

7) fairly laid back bosses if you were doing your job, little interference, good colleagues.

to sum up, you need some money for initial expenses; good work environment; nice first ME job; if you are single you might stay a long time, but if you have school age kids it is a no-no.

cody
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veiledsentiments



Joined: 20 Feb 2003
Posts: 15614
Location: USA

PostPosted: Thu Apr 28, 2005 1:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cody

Thanks so much for coming on and giving a report from someone who has been there.

I always felt sorry for the students stuck in this unrealistic situation of having to play catch up to achieve an appropriate level of Academic English in one year - after all those primary school years which pretty much seem to teach basic tourist talk Confused ...or at least never really get beyond elementary level. Of course the real question is why they are studying in English in the first place. But then... we wouldn't have all these handy good pay/no tax jobs around the Gulf. At least the Omani students make your classroom time a pleasant experience.

So, if you are single and/or have no kids, it seems like a decent Middle East entry job.

VS
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