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Is Living In A Compound Typical For ESL Teachers In KSA?
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JRCash



Joined: 07 Nov 2006
Posts: 91

PostPosted: Sun Jun 21, 2015 9:30 am    Post subject: Is Living In A Compound Typical For ESL Teachers In KSA? Reply with quote

I notice a lot of the jobs in KSA include accommodation and that the money is very good. As I would like to build up savings I'm attracted by the prospect. However, I can't work out whether the accommodation is compound or typical Saudi apartment based? I know that to move to Saudi Arabia basically means accepting a very restricted life when out and about in public but at least living in a compound would afford something closer to western style living. Is it typical for ESL Teachers to be housed in compounds or are we typically expected to live amongst the local population? It is something I would very much consider if I were able to live in a compound but I don't think I would fit in living in local accommodation.
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scot47



Joined: 10 Jan 2003
Posts: 15343

PostPosted: Sun Jun 21, 2015 9:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very few live outside in the cities. Compounds or similar are the norm. Often you have no choice and must take what is allocated to you by your employer.

One big exception is at King Abdulaziz Uni in Jeddah. They pay a housing allowance and let you find a place.

For your safety and sanity I recommend a compound.
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nomad soul



Joined: 31 Jan 2010
Posts: 11454
Location: The real world

PostPosted: Sun Jun 21, 2015 11:46 am    Post subject: Re: Is Living In A Compound Typical For ESL Teachers In KSA? Reply with quote

JRCash wrote:
I notice a lot of the jobs in KSA include accommodation and that the money is very good. As I would like to build up savings I'm attracted by the prospect. However, I can't work out whether the accommodation is compound or typical Saudi apartment based.

It also could depend on the job --- whether it's a university PYP teaching situation or a military contract, for example. Regardless, you'd really have to ask that question at your interview. Otherwise, post here with the prospective employer's name to get an answer from those familiar with that particular living situation --- whether employer-provided accommodations are on a compound or outside apartment blocks designated solely for teachers and staff.

Keep in mind, things change in the Kingdom, plus, not all compounds are equal nor limited to just western expats. By the way, you'll probably want to avoid job ads that indicate a variety of locations; the company could send you to wherever there's a need and in whatever accommodation is available.


Last edited by nomad soul on Sun Jun 21, 2015 12:00 pm; edited 1 time in total
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JRCash



Joined: 07 Nov 2006
Posts: 91

PostPosted: Sun Jun 21, 2015 11:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

That's good to know, thanks. But does that mean you could end up in an awful compound? The ones I've seen are like hotel/villa complexes with swimming pools, tennis courts etc. but is it possible to get them where there are no/few facilities or where expats are mixed with locals and subsequently there are no freedoms.
What I'll do is find the jobs that interest and then post them before applying.

Also is safety a huge issue? Am I likely to be attacked the minute I walked out of the compound or is it certain parts of the country? I read that ISIS is a problem in the north and Al Qaeda in the west. Is it really wreckless to move to KSA or do you have to be acting stupidly to put yourself in danger?
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nomad soul



Joined: 31 Jan 2010
Posts: 11454
Location: The real world

PostPosted: Sun Jun 21, 2015 12:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

JRCash wrote:
That's good to know, thanks. But does that mean you could end up in an awful compound?

That's about right. The employer is more concerned that expats have a roof over their heads and not whether it includes fabulous amenities. Also, you could end up in a villa shared with other teachers --- that keeps the employer's costs down. So I suggest keeping your expectations down as well.

and JRCash wrote:
Also is safety a huge issue? Am I likely to be attacked the minute I walked out of the compound or is it certain parts of the country? I read that ISIS is a problem in the north and Al Qaeda in the west. Is it really wreckless to move to KSA or do you have to be acting stupidly to put yourself in danger?

I'm not sure where you're getting that info, yet anything could happen, and if it does, you leave. Seriously, Saudi Arabia is a large country with major cities that aren't anywhere near any borders. However, if you're that worried about your personal safety, mark KSA off your list and consider the other Gulf countries if you still want to work in the region.
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JRCash



Joined: 07 Nov 2006
Posts: 91

PostPosted: Sun Jun 21, 2015 12:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have the same safety expectations I have had all my life. Western cities aren't completely safe and I frequent them a lot. Having a significant chance of being caught up in a terrorist attack though isn't on my to do list so if that's a significant likelihood in KSA then it would be a no-no. If there is a chance someone would jump me, well, that could happen in any city in the world but any elevated chance of anything more serious wouldn't be for me I'm afraid. I'm not trying to be offensive, its just personal safety for me is important particularly as my wife and young son would be travelling with me. Which other Gulf states do you recommend for saving money as you seem to be suggesting that KSA isn't exactly the best spot for me?

What would sharing a villa mean? That I had my own private space within it or just that only my bedroom would be my private area?
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JRCash



Joined: 07 Nov 2006
Posts: 91

PostPosted: Sun Jun 21, 2015 1:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That said, I should point out that I'm Irish and old enough to remember The Troubles so I'm aware enough of ideas outside of countries not being coherent with reality. For example, many Brits used to think the moment you stepped foot in Ireland you'd be blown up. So I'm equally aware that what I've heard about KSA may not be coherent with reality.
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currentaffairs



Joined: 22 Aug 2012
Posts: 828

PostPosted: Sun Jun 21, 2015 1:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Most ESL jobs (contractors like EdEx/Hussan/ICEAT/Colleges of Excellence) will provide you with a housing allowance. Some provide company accommodation which is just an apartment block. Aramco gives you an allowance with no compound.

Military contracts like National Guard or BAE can offer compound accommodation. It seems that most universities either provide university housing or an allowance (KFUPM has university housing).

So, for an ESL teacher, compound accommodation is rare.


Last edited by currentaffairs on Sun Jun 21, 2015 3:14 pm; edited 1 time in total
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scot47



Joined: 10 Jan 2003
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 21, 2015 1:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I suppose there is a distinction between "compound" and "campus". At KFUPM teachers are housed on the campus. It was good enough for me, but...................

If you have reservations about KSA, do not go there. Not a place for the faint-hearted.
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nomad soul



Joined: 31 Jan 2010
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 21, 2015 1:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

JRCash wrote:
If there is a chance someone would jump me, well, that could happen in any city in the world but any elevated chance of anything more serious wouldn't be for me I'm afraid. I'm not trying to be offensive, its just personal safety for me is important particularly as my wife and young son would be travelling with me. Which other Gulf states do you recommend for saving money as you seem to be suggesting that KSA isn't exactly the best spot for me?

Frankly, it's unclear why you fear you'd be jumped for simply stepping outside your door. These situations rarely happen in KSA, unless you intend to dress and/or act offensively, wave wads of money around, or break the law. In fact, people are more likely to have the Hai'a (religious police) on their case for something silly than getting assaulted by thugs or terrorists. (Saudi Arabia has taken tough measures to quash terrorism.)

That said, you now mention you have a wife and young son, which changes things and gives context to your fears. Be aware that many Saudi employers only provide bachelor (single status) visas as well as benefits and accommodations for one. You'd be responsible for all costs associated with bringing your family to KSA and possibly renting a flat on your own. Therefore, if KSA is still on your list, read the job ads carefully to see if the benefits are family friendly. Be very clear in your cover letter and in interviews that you have a wife and child that you expect to live with you and is that something the employer will assist with. Take a look at "The skinny on direct-hire university opportunities" (http://forums.eslcafe.com/job/viewtopic.php?t=103722) to get an idea of what's required for the better teaching jobs in KSA.

You don't mention your education (level and major), TEFL cert, and relevant experience, but for the right qualifications, Qatar and the UAE are good for high salaries. However, you'd need at minimum, a TEFL-related MA and 2-3 years of university-level teaching experience to compete for positions. Plus, the UAE government is phasing out its university English foundation year programs effective 2018. Hiring has already slowed down in two of the three major government universities.
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plumpy nut



Joined: 12 Mar 2011
Posts: 1652

PostPosted: Sun Jun 21, 2015 1:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you mean a walled compound with nice villas and all the amenities, the answer is no. Professionals usually get those. Those usually run around $30,000 yearly. A compound has come to mean many different things, apartments and any kind of shared housing.
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JRCash



Joined: 07 Nov 2006
Posts: 91

PostPosted: Sun Jun 21, 2015 2:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ok, thanks, the walled compound would be important for me as I'd want somewhere where I/we could escape the restrictive lifestyle. So it would appear KSA wouldn't be for me.

Sounds like the Gulf might not be either though Sad as I only have an honours degree and a CELTA. I do have seven years teaching experience and a PGCE in primary education but no MA.
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nomad soul



Joined: 31 Jan 2010
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 21, 2015 2:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

JRCash wrote:
I only have an honours degree and a CELTA. I do have seven years teaching experience and a PGCE in primary education but no MA.

If you also have a valid teaching license and 1-2 years' classroom experience in your home country, you might qualify for k-12 or international school positions in the Gulf. Take a look at Teach Away, Footprints, and Seek Teachers (all recruiters).

Otherwise, some posters have raved about what they earn in China.
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JRCash



Joined: 07 Nov 2006
Posts: 91

PostPosted: Sun Jun 21, 2015 2:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks, at least I have a fair idea Saudi Arabia wouldn't work out for me and it wouldn't be a good idea unless I ever really got desperate for money. I'll have a reinvestigation into locations where money can be made, China might be an option particularly as life there would be less restrictive. Thanks for the advice everyone.
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nomad soul



Joined: 31 Jan 2010
Posts: 11454
Location: The real world

PostPosted: Sun Jun 21, 2015 3:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

JRCash wrote:
China might be an option particularly as life there would be less restrictive.

The main hazard in China is the nasty air pollution, so research cities that won't "choke" you and your family. Razz
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