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Beginner Teacher considering Egypt as a first
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octophetus



Joined: 18 Mar 2013
Posts: 7
Location: Minneapolis, MN

PostPosted: Thu Mar 28, 2013 6:17 pm    Post subject: Beginner Teacher considering Egypt as a first Reply with quote

Hey, so I have a BA and I'm going to be doing my TEFL cert at an accredited university here in the states (which also counts as grad school credit if that's important). I have minimal teaching experience, and the teaching experience I do have is non-ESL. I am currently trying to decide between Cairo or Alexandria in Egypt and Istanbul in Turkey as my goal teaching locale. I haven't seen many posts in the Egypt forum going on, and I was hoping you guys could give this beginner some general tips on ESL in Egypt. First, any advice regarding the atmosphere there would be helpful, experiences, etc. More specifically, what could a starting teacher like myself hope to get paid, and is it enough to live comfortably enough (not die Razz)? Is it difficult to get a school that will help you with visa sponsorship? Is there anyone there now who has advice on how to get a job there when I start applying? Any help at all would be deeply appreciated!
[I have cross posted this into the Turkey forum as well]
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veiledsentiments



Joined: 20 Feb 2003
Posts: 17561
Location: USA

PostPosted: Fri Mar 29, 2013 3:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I personally started in Egypt and it was a great experience... BUT... it isn't the best time to try Egypt for a newbie. You haven't given me much to go on as to your age or sex, but things are a bit more problematic for young females right now if you are accidentally in the wrong place at the wrong time. One of the big problems is that too many of the employers that will willingly hire newbies - as you will be in this field - do not provide work visas - or living wages. (that said, there are many desperate employers as many are afraid of the current problems - and those who know the ropes can be safe - but it is not the way it used to be...) BTW, with the government confusion of the moment, visas have become a major issue. Work visas have become very expensive such that smaller schools don't want to do them.

I know little about Turkey, but I think that right now it might be a better option. You'll have to see what they have to say in that branch.

VS
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octophetus



Joined: 18 Mar 2013
Posts: 7
Location: Minneapolis, MN

PostPosted: Fri Mar 29, 2013 6:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the advice. I am 24/F. I would also be traveling with a male. In my B.A. (social justice & global studies) I focused on the Middle East pretty heavily. My adviser spends a good part of most years there, and I worked pretty extensively on arab spring related work.

So, although this doesn't put me in a position of being any more safe then anyone else (perhaps even less so, heh) I hope you can see the interest in going anyways! I'm going to have to think really hard about it.
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veiledsentiments



Joined: 20 Feb 2003
Posts: 17561
Location: USA

PostPosted: Fri Mar 29, 2013 2:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Traveling with a male could very well put you in more danger... especially if he isn't your husband. The Arab Spring has sadly destroyed much of the cultural restrictions of young males. If you get caught up in a demonstration, you are immediately fair game. Not a good time for an outsider to have interest in local politics...

But an even more difficult thing for you will be the work visa. Your lack of experience and credentials is going to necessitate the lower level employers. You might consider doing the CELTA at the British Council in Cairo. It won't count towards your further degree, but it will put you into a position to be there and check out the situation as far as jobs.

VS
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justcolleen



Joined: 07 Jan 2004
Posts: 654
Location: Egypt, baby!

PostPosted: Sat Mar 30, 2013 6:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

1. Work permits are almost impossible to come by and your credentials/experience aren't sufficient to get one anyway. At the moment, that is. Things change because this is Egypt.

2. You CANNOT travel with a male you are not married to and expect to be ... together. There is no such thing as "living together"; the only couples who do live together are married. Furthermore, it is illegal and any attempt will be viewed as prostitution (even though it isn't) and the probability of legal consequences is high. You can't even rent a hotel room together, so an apartment is out of the question. Egyptians have a work-around for this in the form of a temporary marriage, but to do that the man has to be Egyptian, so it's a no-can-do for you.

3. Your salary expectations are going to be fuul and falafel level. Sure, you can get a job, but it won't be a legal, registered, with a work permit job and the salary level will reflect that.

You may want to consider looking around the Turkey board to see if that's a possibility.
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octophetus



Joined: 18 Mar 2013
Posts: 7
Location: Minneapolis, MN

PostPosted: Sun Mar 31, 2013 1:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yikes, that's not good! Yeah, I'm definitely leaning a lot more towards Turkey but unfortunately I haven't been able to talk to almost anyone with experience over there (no bites on the Turkey board or any of the other sites I've been looking around on). A friend of mine went to Cairo for about 7 months and lived/worked there and brought her boyfriend with, and she didn't have that experience at all. I suppose the possibility that it might though is a pretty big deterrent.
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veiledsentiments



Joined: 20 Feb 2003
Posts: 17561
Location: USA

PostPosted: Sun Mar 31, 2013 3:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The reality is that in the Muslim world co-habiting with a person of the opposite sex that you are not married to is illegal. While many Westerners do it and get away with it, if you are caught or turned in by a neighbor or someone that is angry with you, the punishment is not going to be fun. It is normally jail time and lashes. You will be considered a prostitute and treated as one. You need to be discreet and know the ropes. Tourists can get away with it short term, but longer term... with an employer involved... isn't recommended.

This is a different world with different rules. Turkey is more liberal and European, but not sure that I would recommend living there together unmarried either. Sorry that there is no one being helpful there. I assume that you have tried googling to find expat discussion boards there?

VS
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justcolleen



Joined: 07 Jan 2004
Posts: 654
Location: Egypt, baby!

PostPosted: Sun Mar 31, 2013 4:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Was your friend's experience pre-revolution?

<rant> "Living together" = "Prostitution". I have a really hard time with people who come here for a few months and feel as if they can live/behave as if they are "back home." It only serves to confirm the local stereotype (foreign women so big $luts) and makes it all the more difficult for other, non-cohabitating western women who stay longer term. </rant>
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octophetus



Joined: 18 Mar 2013
Posts: 7
Location: Minneapolis, MN

PostPosted: Sun Mar 31, 2013 5:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nope it was mostly summer and fall of 2012. On the subject she said she experienced significantly less cat calling and stuff like that when she was out with her bf vs. without.
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santi84



Joined: 14 Mar 2008
Posts: 1317
Location: under da sea

PostPosted: Mon Apr 08, 2013 12:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I did this about 7 years ago - I was fine. In hindsight, it was a very stupid thing to do and I'm lucky. I can't imagine trying this in the current climate of Egypt. It's just not worth it.

Cat calling when walking with a male companion is harmless, it's when people find out that your companion is not your husband that you will have problems, and it's not the cat callers.
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PierogiMonster



Joined: 17 Jun 2010
Posts: 148

PostPosted: Mon Apr 15, 2013 12:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I teach at BC Cairo. I recommend the CELTA course here.

Once you've got the CELTA you can apply for a job as a Trainee Teacher (on almost the salary as a 'full' teacher): it's a 12-month programme of professional development while you teach. You teach a range of adult levels in the first six months then some YLs later on.
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Balance1



Joined: 19 Apr 2013
Posts: 4

PostPosted: Tue Apr 23, 2013 1:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow, BC Cairo got me totally off guard. I e-mailed them about getting further information about the Trainee Teacher position, plus I mentioned to them that I had already earned my CELTA and this is what happened...

They responded 8 days later although they sent me an automated e-mail saying that they would try to get back to me in 2 days.

They addressed me as Ms. although I have a Latin name that is known world wide as being a male name.

Finally they responded with information in regards to registration for a CELTA course and didn't mention anything about the Trainee Teacher position.

My job prospects in Egypt are looking a little grim right now Crying or Very sad
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veiledsentiments



Joined: 20 Feb 2003
Posts: 17561
Location: USA

PostPosted: Wed Apr 24, 2013 3:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I could be wrong, but I suspect that they offer the "Trainee teacher" positions to their own newly completed CELTA teachers.

Hopefully pierogimonster will return to clarify...

But Balance1, this is a good introduction to how things "work" in the Middle East...rarely smoothly or efficiently. Cool

VS
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PierogiMonster



Joined: 17 Jun 2010
Posts: 148

PostPosted: Sun Jun 02, 2013 8:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

So, Balance1 ... not the best of starts from BC.

I reckon your email was dealt with by some random bod in HR. Remember that the BC is a public sector organisation - part, technically. of the UK Foreign Office. As such, administration is not one of its strong points. Write again, trying a more academic addressee (PM me for suggestions if you want).

So I recommend persevering: when you get past the admin and red tape, the quality of the (free!) professional development offered is top notch. And you'll be working alongside some very good and professionally-minded people.

And, VS, I'm glad to say that the Trainee Teacher Programme is definitely open to all. There is a twice-yearly intake. When i joined, in Sept 2012, there were around twenty-five of us starting together. I think only two or three of us had done CELTA at BC Cairo (myself excluded). And anyway, Cairo/Egypt is not for everyone and the turnover is fairly high (Pierogimonster, for example, is about to leave and grace Hispania with his presence). Ole!
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veiledsentiments



Joined: 20 Feb 2003
Posts: 17561
Location: USA

PostPosted: Sun Jun 02, 2013 2:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I hadn't realized that their intake was that high... 25... Cool That would certainly necessitate moving outside just their CELTA program.

So it is getting to the point that your life in Cairo presents more negatives than positives. Not a surprise under the current situation. Have you learned the Spanish for pierogi yet?

Good luck!

VS
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