Site Search:
 
Get TEFL Certified & Start Your Adventure Today!
Teach English Abroad and Get Paid to see the World!
Job Discussion Forums Forum Index Job Discussion Forums
"The Internet's Meeting Place for ESL/EFL Students and Teachers from Around the World!"
 
 FAQFAQ   SearchSearch   MemberlistMemberlist   UsergroupsUsergroups   RegisterRegister 
 ProfileProfile   Log in to check your private messagesLog in to check your private messages   Log inLog in 

Memorial International School of Tirana, Albania
Goto page 1, 2  Next
 
Post new topic   Reply to topic    Job Discussion Forums Forum Index -> Macedonia and the Balkans
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message
mizzoumike76



Joined: 22 Nov 2008
Posts: 26
Location: Tirana, Albania hailing from the USA

PostPosted: Mon Jul 20, 2009 5:57 am    Post subject: Memorial International School of Tirana, Albania Reply with quote

Folks,

MIST (Memorial International School of Albania) recently posted a job ad on the Jobs board.

If anyone is considering working for this school, I thought I would offer my opinion as I briefly subbed at this school:

The staff is friendly and helpful. They have staff from Turkey, Albania, and Western countries, and they were pretty nice people.

The kids were terrific. Let me qualify that: teaching in Albania is a real treat because they are very curious about foreigners, and not the least bit shy to ask you any and all questions. Furthermore, they respect teachers a lot. The boys can be loud and obnoxious, but they ARE boys. The girls are usually sweet and attentive.

The school building is decent. It is the old Communist Party school's building. Concrete with Turkish style bathrooms (sorry!), and I don't think there is a/c in the classrooms. The summers in Albania can be hot, but not humid and it starts cooling off in September. It can get cold in winter, and most schools don't have heat (!) in the classrooms, but this one does.

Stuff available for teachers: There's a big teacher's room and a big PC lab, etc. There's even a wash lady that will bring you tea or Turkish coffee if you call her, which was a nice treat. I don't know about teaching resources since I wasn't there long enough to use them, but I assume they're somewhere. They use UK textbooks, and the teachers move from class to class. I've had this set-up in a number of schools, and it's strange at first but you get used to it. They also do feed you lunch and breakfast, which is usually Turkish or Albanian food and it was quite good.

Tirana is a bustling city with a lot of cafes and restaurants......so many I still cannot understand how they all stay in business. Eating out is super cheap, I don't think I paid more than $10US very often, and usually half that. The fruits and veggies are all organic and very cheap, the people are friendly, and the school is right next to where all the mini-buses stop to go to different cities. The pollution is bad, but the school is on the edge of the city and not so bad as where I was living.

Albania in general is a poor country and also very beautiful. Excellent beaches, especially in Dhermi to the south which is close to Greece. The mountains usually have snow all winter, and you can catch really cheap flights to Bulgaria and Italy on the weekends, or drive to Macedonia for skiing.

The salary is more than enough to live very comfortably, and you can easily save a good deal of your pay for travel or whatever.

People speak Albanian, but many people, 35 and younger, speak near fluent Italian and probably some English too. They know you're foreign and will try to help you. If you're an American, you're especially liked as they love all things American, except Obama. And on that note, remember many many people were persecuted and died under a very oppressive communist regime, and the riots in '97 were very violent. Coming in and trying to expound the virtues of ANY socialist ideas (socialized medicine, redistribution of wealth, etc) is not likely to make you any friends. These people went through hell, and anyone 25 or older likely has more bad memories than they care to admit.

Why did I leave if it was so great? I was only subbing, couldn't find a full-time teaching gig.

Would I go back? You bet! I'd apply for this job myself, but after 4 months in Japan I'm really attached to my students and hate to leave in such a hurry. Alas, I hope to be back in Albania someday, it truly is a wonderful place to live.

Anyway, that's my little advice about Albania and this school. There's not much information out there about living in Albania and I'm certainly no expert, but I did live there and if you have any questions you should feel more than welcome to ask me.

Michael
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message AIM Address
sheikxhoni



Joined: 28 Jun 2009
Posts: 48
Location: Bangkok

PostPosted: Mon Jul 20, 2009 3:36 pm    Post subject: Yes, Albania can be very nice - - Reply with quote

But Michael we should keep that secret to ourselves.

I will agree with what you said but add that the Hash House Harriers group in Tirana is (was) a very good place to make friends. It is very family friendly and has great parties and some trips.

Pollution didn't seem so bad downtown but I left in 2004 and the traffic got worse every year (3) that I was there.

Lots of people speak very good English - much more so than in Thailand, Vietnam, or the Dominican Republic where I have made stops since I left. Dhermi, BTW, is in the direction of Greece but it is still a long way from Greece. Corfu is probably the closest Greek destination but the overnight ferry to Italy or drive up the coast to Montenegro are both better get away trips from Albania - and you will want to get away. Shopping in Albania sucks.

I would like a job in Albania too. Let's flip for it.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
mizzoumike76



Joined: 22 Nov 2008
Posts: 26
Location: Tirana, Albania hailing from the USA

PostPosted: Mon Jul 20, 2009 4:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Xhoni,

Shopping was like playing "what's in the bag"......just because they had it last time doesn't mean it will (ever) be there again. If you like it you better buy it now!

The pollution really wasn't all that terrible, but I'm not as sensitive to it as a lot of people. Cigarettes and diesel smoke don't bother me, but I know some people have real problems with that.

As for English speakers, yes, a lot of people speak at least some, but when I wrote this I guess I was thinking of your average shop keeper or "guy on the street"......the younger they are, the better the chance they speak it. I had a barber who was 18 and didn't know two words, but his 8 yr old brother would yap away with me in pretty good English while the elder brother cut my hair. I *THINK* the kids from the villages don't get a decent shot at learning English, but in Tirana and Vlora they do? Just my poorly constructed theory.

I guess I was off on where I thought Dhermi was. Maybe it was 3 hour car ride that got me confused. Can't believe we drove there at night!

I miss the place big time. Japan is nice and clean and orderly, but where's the fun in that?
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message AIM Address
sheikxhoni



Joined: 28 Jun 2009
Posts: 48
Location: Bangkok

PostPosted: Tue Jul 21, 2009 7:40 am    Post subject: Shopping in Tirana Reply with quote

I like your description of shopping in Tirana. Let me tell you this story: There was a product that I liked but it was often not available. Eventually it wasn't available at all. An Albanian friend translated for me when the shopkeeper answered that he stopped carrying that product because he kept running out. So, in other words it sold so well that he stopped selling it. Cool idea but I don't think that is the kind of research Walmart depends on.

But the shopping in the small town of Bari where the overnight ferry lands in Italy is really great - there are huge Aushon (sp) and two Carrefours and a lot of great small shops in town. Sleep on the ferry, shop all day, sleep on the way back on the ferry.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
WanderingGentile



Joined: 17 Nov 2008
Posts: 10

PostPosted: Tue Jul 21, 2009 6:08 pm    Post subject: Re: Memorial International School of Tirana, Albania Reply with quote

mizzoumike76 wrote:
they love all things American, except Obama.


Just curious as to why they don't like Obama?
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
mizzoumike76



Joined: 22 Nov 2008
Posts: 26
Location: Tirana, Albania hailing from the USA

PostPosted: Wed Jul 22, 2009 1:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

On the Obama note, I believe it was a number of things: Obama either said nice things about Serbia or bad things about Kosova (probably the latter); Bush actually visited Albania, maybe they're worried about being forgotten especially with their EU membership hopes; Obama is "Roma".

It could be argued that perhaps people were being polite and agreeing with me (I don't care for Obama), but those people haven't spent a lot of time in Albania! More, this was the opinion offered to me without my asking. I never imagined they'd care so much, but they did. They weren't pleased when he got elected. Again, these are the people I talked to, I certainly didn't conduct a scientific poll or do any real analysis, just my experience.

For Xhoni: Economics. He's doing it wrong! That's terribly funny. Was he an old man that ran one of the little convenience shops on the side streets, or did he have a shoe/clothing shop? I think a lot of those shops rely on relatives and friends overseas sending or bringing their stock in for them, maybe that is why it was a hassle. Or maybe he had to go all the way to EuroMax to get it just for you to buy it from him! Either way, that's funny.

My favorite thing about shopping in Albania: Honey. Depending on where you buy it and when, the taste was totally different. Dhermi in late summer was right fine honey! I saw some that almost looked like molasses, maybe on the way down the mountains to Elbasan. Oh, and I miss the figs. I ate those constantly, fresh or dried.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message AIM Address
sheikxhoni



Joined: 28 Jun 2009
Posts: 48
Location: Bangkok

PostPosted: Wed Jul 22, 2009 2:00 pm    Post subject: More on Obama and shopping in Albania Reply with quote

It is interesting to be addressed in the previous post as Xhoni. Although I teach in Thailand now, my user name here is Albanian. Xhoni is the Albanian spelling for John or Johnny.

As luck would have it I have a close friend, a collge professor, also works for an NGO, and is engaged to a (former) member of the Albanian parlament. So, since I consider her an authority, I asked her if Albanian people liked Bush more than Obama and here is her response:

Hi there Smile

1. Well actually it might seem that way for some reasons: first because Bush came to Albania so, although we love America no matter what, we kind of feel gratitude towards him for making it possible to come to Albania. Second unfortunately this is sad but somehow true it seems that albanians still have problems with racism so that might be the main reason... so maybe that can be told... in general... me personally of course I was pro him... from the other side all the Albanian politicians here especially left wing took a lot after Obama during their electoral campaign here and everyone recognized Obama's campaign as a very successful one... So maybe another distinction is more politically... the left wing affiliated and partizans support Obama the right wing support Bush... not him personally but mostly his party... sooo well don't know how much of help I was... but that's all I can say for now Smile

2. Yes we're doing ok Smile He didn't run again this time... he quitted as he doesn't like to deal with politics any longer... He's an artist so will get back there... These elections were more on me this time hahaahaha since my programme is "Women and Elections" so this year was really crazy... but nice Smile
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail