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Royal Air Force of Oman.
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jellybean1



Joined: 25 Nov 2012
Posts: 10

PostPosted: Thu Feb 21, 2013 12:31 am    Post subject: Royal Air Force of Oman. Reply with quote

Hello everybody. New to the site, my first post too, so greetings all!

I have managed to pick up a few bits of information through scouring the forums on the RAFO.

What I cannot find is if they pay the costs of visa and medicals etc or if this is reimbursed.

Is anyone working there now, or has worked recenlty and can shed any light?

Much appreciated.
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StampLover



Joined: 14 Dec 2010
Posts: 83
Location: Salalah, Oman

PostPosted: Thu Feb 21, 2013 6:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I can't comment specifically on RAFO but all employers in Oman pay for the visa and medical costs once in the country.
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jellybean1



Joined: 25 Nov 2012
Posts: 10

PostPosted: Thu Feb 21, 2013 1:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you StampLover.

I have seen various posts alluding to the fact that theses teachers did not receive travelling expenses for 6 months - would this be from home to Interview?

Also, somebody paid out a thousand pound - may have been a poster by the name of Van Gogh, i stand to be corrected. Would this have been flight to Interview and then travel to airport?

And finally, another poster stated that they had to jump through various medical and dental loops funded by themselves.

Can anyone shed any light and more information please?

Many thanks in advance.
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veiledsentiments



Joined: 20 Feb 2003
Posts: 17607
Location: USA

PostPosted: Thu Feb 21, 2013 3:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Are you referring to Oman or Saudi Arabia? Few employers require any medical exams before arriving in Oman... and then the company pays required in-country tests that everyone has to take (x-ray, blood test, HIV). All employment visas in Oman are paid by the employer and always have been. Personally I would never pay for my travel to get to Oman... or any other country in the Gulf. If the employer says that they don't pay until after you arrive, I would assume that they are too shady to accept a job with them. As to flights to interview, I don't know of any employer in Oman who requires teacher to fly somewhere for an interview. The norm, outside of SQU who hires mostly in country or at conferences, is Skype or phone interviews.

That said, we get little report on military related jobs here.

VS
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carnac



Joined: 30 Jul 2004
Posts: 310
Location: in my village in Oman ;-)

PostPosted: Fri Feb 22, 2013 12:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you are hired by RAFO or RAO as a teacher, they pay for everything. You get all medical including dental. You have "single/unmarried" status only, which excludes any benefits for family should you bring a spouse or children with you. Housing is provided, which according to your personal standards can be regarded as minimally satisfactory or dismal. You are allowed membership in any of several officer's messes, which allows unlimited access to all forms of alcohol, including to take home. Dining in the mess, based on an Omani understanding of English cuisine as translated by Indian cooks, is adequate for those with non-discriminatory palates.
Past practice by RAFO has been to assign a grade 6 as a civilian officer, regardless of educational level attained, which is not great pay. Advancement requires extensive time on the job plus a hefty employment of wasta. No wasta, no nothing. If you have technical skills as well as English teaching proficiency, RAO is a much better bet, starting at grade 4, but these jobs are much more scarce. Since the Omani Rial is pegged to the US dollar, currency value fluctuations do not affect you if you are American. Brits are also protected. Anyone else, if the value of the dollar goes down compared to other world currencies, your pay is less, sometimes much less. So, Aussies and Kiwis are screwed. Standard leave is 9 weeks holiday per year in blocks of 3, with round trip home covered. There is a hefty yearly end-of-contract bonus. Every contract renewal depends on passing a physical. Take medication for high blood pressure? Deny it. When being processed, always, always claim to be Christian, even if you are the most staunch atheist. Hypocrisy? Lies? When in Rome, etc.

Much of the above is inoperative if you are not a Westerner, no matter what level of education you have attained. An Indian with a Masters in Applied Linguistics will always be paid less than a Western backpacker with a cheap certificate. Mostly, backpackers do not apply for the military positions, since the existing cadre of teachers does not appreciate unprofessionalism, and tends to severely dump on colleagues who are not hacking it - a form of self-policing.

The bad news is that military officers with no educational background run the show. The good news is that military officers with no educational background run the show, and what you accomplish (or don't) is pretty much up to you. Once hired, very rarely fired, no matter what level of incompetence one has attained. Both outstanding and poor teachers are compensated equally. Success is predicated on keeping your mouth shut and showing up on time. Military. Same all over the world.
Source: My ten years of doing it.
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veiledsentiments



Joined: 20 Feb 2003
Posts: 17607
Location: USA

PostPosted: Fri Feb 22, 2013 3:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Interesting carnac...

One question that we often get is whether they hire women. I know that they have in the past. Even if they did, should any woman consider it?

Does the housing provide a kitchen so that you can avoid the eccentric, but not uncommon, cuisine of the mess?

VS
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carnac



Joined: 30 Jul 2004
Posts: 310
Location: in my village in Oman ;-)

PostPosted: Sat Feb 23, 2013 12:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello, VS, and incidentally a note of appreciation for the many wise comments and questions you have made over the years. A form of addiction, no? I would like to contribute more often, but I am simply on overload in terms of regular plus outside work.
Do they hire women? Formerly, yes, but sparingly. Now, even less so. Why? To be honest, it is a challenging (yet rewarding) teaching environment. Several challenges are involved: the military environment; the fact that you are interacting with healthy young testosterone-filled males in what I regard as a "jock" setting; and, the culture as regards male vs female interaction. These factors are a challenge to classroom discipline, which is why all teachers are officers, as opposed to the jundees they generally teach. RHIP. It becomes a question of authority. So, say that a teacher is well-qualified and competent, and is additionally young, female and perhaps attractive for a physical or cultural reason. Immediate problem, unless the teacher possesses the personality of Nurse Ratched dealing with Jack Nicholson. We just had one of the few women teachers with RAFO simply walk out and get on a plane, no notice, just adios. She had been with RAFO for several years. Good teacher, well-educated, but could not hack the disciplinary requirements necessary to be imposed by a military teacher. Undoubtedly plus other things of which I am not aware. But, very nice lady.
On the other hand, the new Military College of Technology will be opening soon, and is hiring women. Starting pay RO1900, I am told. Max age for application: 59, I hear. Not too bad.
A small advice to prospective women military teachers here: A good classroom is a healthily happy classroom. Laugh, joke, play, no problem. But, there are limits. You are not their friend or their mother, a problem I have seen with female teachers. Discipline, always, or you will lose the class and ruin them for later and other classes, and they will fail, besides making problems down the road for other teachers. Make limits clear, and enforce them. Be fair, and don't back down. Make a decision, and stick to it. You will not always be right; it's ok to admit it. But then, make it right. (I am writing this as having observed many other teachers, both women and men.) It is somehow necessary to find what has been termed the "Goldilocks`" zone.
Quarters: bad news, good news. Usually, newbies are assigned small, cramped quarters. (They are considered single, after all.) Imagine a studio apartment. Now, shrink it. My own on-base quarters in the BOQ are, shall we say, more than compact. A "living room" separated from a "bedroom" by a waist-high divider, and a bathroom which has a shower, a sink, and a toilet. Th-th-th-that's all, folks. Microwave and toaster oven is allowed.How do you wash any dishes? The shower and bathroom sink water gets pretty hot. It takes ingenuity.
The good news is that very few actually live in these quarters, but keep them available for emergencies. Most find nice living space outside the base, which is affordable considering the pay. MQ prices are out these days, but in places like Azaiba one can find gold. It's all who you know.
So, why keep the on-base quarters if they are so bad when you are living outside? Insurance against possibly inclement political and natural weather. During Gonu, we were living in MQ. Wham! No electricity, water, rotting food, etc. A big army 6WD truck fetched us to MAM. Always food; always electricity. So we camped out for few days in my "crash pad". And if everything other than weather goes down the tubes, it is perhaps comforting to be surrounded by a lot of people with a lot of weapons.
If a teacher is considering coming to Oman as a military teacher, with any hope of being supported in any way in academic advancement, or of being recognized as a great teacher by anyone outside of their immediate environment, I will advise (in New York-ese), "Fuggedabouddit!" You will do everything and run everything, and when the time comes for recognition of your efforts, you will be carefully hidden away. Put away the ego. You are something and nothing at the same time. Come for the experience and adventure - it's beyond wonderful. The people are generally great. The scenery, once the eye and mind become accustomed, is breathtaking. There is no end of possible adventure.
Just be aware that there are scorpions beneath the palms.
Sorry to have written so much. I rarely do.
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veiledsentiments



Joined: 20 Feb 2003
Posts: 17607
Location: USA

PostPosted: Sat Feb 23, 2013 4:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Goodness... don't apologize!! If only we could get everyone to post such a balanced good news/bad news post about all employers. I'm certain that future applicants will be thanking you for it. Cool

VS
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jellybean1



Joined: 25 Nov 2012
Posts: 10

PostPosted: Sat Feb 23, 2013 7:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Excellent informative responses. Than you very much. Much appreciated. Does anybody have any idea of the starting salary, and final gratuity, and if these are negotiable or not?
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carnac



Joined: 30 Jul 2004
Posts: 310
Location: in my village in Oman ;-)

PostPosted: Mon Feb 25, 2013 9:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

For your first two questions, ask RAFO if you are applying to them. Negotiable? No.
Also, bear in mind that if hired, you will have to sign a document that you will not divulge any secret information. (I guess this means, for us, that linguistically-based explanations of gerunds are risky.) The document explains that if you are found to have shared secret information, you wil be "executed to death", which I found a bit extreme. I mean, I don't mind so much being executed, but, to death? Really!
Oh, and do not ask for a copy of this document for your own records. Why? It's secret, the security officer told me.
I laughed through the process, and was asked in outraged tones "You think this is funny??" I answered truthfully, "As a matter of fact, yes, I do" What's the worst they can do? Not hire you? At least you avoid the possibility of being executed to death.
Ya gotta know when to hold'em,
Know when to fold'em,
Know when to walk away and
Know when to run...
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Van Gogh



Joined: 12 Oct 2008
Posts: 70

PostPosted: Thu Feb 28, 2013 4:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Morning all, my ears were burning and sure enough my name pops up on Dave's ESL. Hello VS, carnac

Jellybean - My apologies if I misled re med/dental refunding. I arrived to start work on the 18th of the month and my first salary went into the bank a month and a half later, including the medical/travel refund. It was over six month until my first pay statement arrived confirming the payment details. Only 8 of my 18 pay statements have ever reached me. Bring about 200 - 300 pounds with you, depending on your 'needs'. (hic!)

I think if you arrive before a certain date they have time (and they need it) to process you travel claims, 'si non' it goes in the following month. Your starting pay in Omani Rials would be on average 1250 OR and the exchange rate flips between 0.610 / 0.635 = 2000 quid a month. It's not negotiable to my knowledge. Photocopy and scan everything they will lose stuff.

carnac's advise is spot on, please come see for yourself - you can always collect you money and leave. By the way there's also 60 days paid holiday plus 3 x free flights back to the UK. Plus - sports days- parade days, armed forces day, and navy/army/AF day - a couple of important birthday days, Islamic New Years day and \ long weekends. The Omanis organize everything so everything is unorganized.
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Van Gogh



Joined: 12 Oct 2008
Posts: 70

PostPosted: Thu Feb 28, 2013 4:11 am    Post subject: forgot to add.... Reply with quote

I'm out of here next week - bound for more organized climes and fewer death by death possibilities. Jellybean - Feel free PM with specific questions. VG
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veiledsentiments



Joined: 20 Feb 2003
Posts: 17607
Location: USA

PostPosted: Thu Feb 28, 2013 3:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi VG

I assume that you mean death by traffic. Cool

Do you really get 3 tickets home each year? Is this for all... even US or OZ nationals?

VS
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Van Gogh



Joined: 12 Oct 2008
Posts: 70

PostPosted: Thu Feb 28, 2013 7:38 pm    Post subject: 3 Air Tickets Reply with quote

VS - We only have Brits working here with the Navy and I know only of one Canadian who's up at RAFO base, he gets the flights. - VG
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carnac



Joined: 30 Jul 2004
Posts: 310
Location: in my village in Oman ;-)

PostPosted: Sat Mar 02, 2013 10:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Each block leave - 3 per year of 3 weeks each, we get round-trip flights to wherever we have listed as our home city or the nearest airport to it. If you don't feel like traveling, you can elect a cash option instead, but at a discount. Nationalities of colleagues: Brit, Welsh Irish, American, Australian, New Zealand, Sudan, India, Benin, Irish, Sri Lanka. Everybody gets the same. The students go away at the same time we do, home to their villages. Dates for these leaves are selected democratically by the teaching staff, with final approval by the Commandant. We try to space them as evenly as possible, with one being around the Christmas/New Year holidays, another to escape the summer heat for a bit, the third sometime convenient to all and spaced somewhere between the other two. If there is compelling reason to travel at an off time, like a family emergency, we get time away which may be deducted from the regular leave (but which is often not, if it is not extensive). However, these trips we pay for ourselves, reasonably.
You can elect to forgo a round trip and not take the money, but "bank" it, and have the trip you did not take apply to a spouse accompanying you on the next leave. This must, however, be done within a contract year, or you lose it.
I have never found any cause for complaint. They are very fair in all of this.
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