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mens dress in Cairo
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jonnyidaho



Joined: 23 Jun 2006
Posts: 14

PostPosted: Fri Jul 07, 2006 5:05 pm    Post subject: mens dress in Cairo Reply with quote

I am curious about the dress code for male teachers in Cairo. I am coming from Bangkok (now back in the States), where smart dress, proper shoes, and a clean shave are essential at most schools. Ties, however, were not required at either of the schools I worked at (1 being EF). Should I pack my ties (perhaps just for the interview)? Are any specific colors for shirts and trousers frowned upon or forbidden? (for example, brown trousers are frowned upon in Bangkok for being associated with police officers).

Also, I have been unable to find anything in my Rough Guide regarding shopping for men's clothes. A nice dress shirt is $5 in Bangkok, trousers about 12. Can I expect the same in Cairo, or do I need to hit the mall and load up before I leave the States?

I have found this forum quite useful and would like to thank all contributors for the prior info. I am a 26 year-old American, BA, TEFL, 1 year experience in Thailand. Moving to Cairo with my fiancee, an American with Arab descent, who has taken a job in journalism. We will be living in Maadi, where her office is, and I hope to find a job in Maadi as well.

More questions may follow . . . and thanks in advance
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stoth1972



Joined: 16 May 2003
Posts: 674
Location: Seattle, Washington

PostPosted: Sun Jul 09, 2006 8:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Have you found work yet? Most schools are business casual-nice pair of trousers, no jeans, a shirt with a collar, and the like are preferred. I would only bring a tie for the purpose of interviewing. Any basic trousers are fine and colour is not important. Many schools don't have A/C so they're a bit more flexible on the formality of proper dress.

My personal experience on buying clothes in Egypt was not great. I didn''t like the quality or style of many clothes items sold there. There were a couple shops that sold the 'underqualified' items from American companies such as Old Navy, Gap, and Liz Claiborne. They were basically made in Egypt, but did not make quality control(there's one in the Maadi Grand Mall, but it's small and you might get lucky and find something). My personal recommendation is find some clothes you really like here in the US and then buy a duplicate. The washing powder, the machines, and the sun drying can be very hard on your clothes. Living in THailand, you're no stranger to having to wash clothes much more frequently because of all the sweating you do! The taxis in Cairo can be extremely dirty, too. Darker colours are best for this purpose!

There are very cheap clothes places/stalls in Cairo or on the streets of Cairo (probably cheaper than Thailand) but you get what you pay for on those. Mexx is one popular chain, and though it's not dirt cheap, it is reasonable and more western in their styles-Good for when you're in a pinch. Here's a link to some popular clothing chains in Cairo:
http://www.wcities.com/en/cat/223/113/category.html
There's one more shop in Maadi that has decent stuff for Men, and I can't recall the name, but you'll find it on one of the roundabout near the railroad tracks between Midan Digla and the "GRRRande Mole". (Midan is the word for roundabout/traffic circle for taxi purposes). Though since you'll be in Maadi, try the "Grrande Mole" (grand mall) and you'll get a feel for prices and quality.

Shoes: take a great pair of trainers, sandals and some uber comfortable leather shoes for work. You might find that you're school allows sandals (ours did for women, and most men did wear sandals at some point).

Job-wise, I noticed Sakkara is hiring these days. They are a language school located just outside of Maadi, and tend to hire people without qualifications or much experience. Friends of mine worked there, and it has it's downside. Primarily, a lower salary than other schools and they often didn't bother to get all their employees work permits. That's not a big deal, except that foreigners in Egpyt with proper residency pay much less on domestic airfare and hotels. Essentially, you'll be charged like a tourist on a crappy local salary! Saying that, my friends didn't mind the environment too much. I think if you search Sakkara on this sight, you'll see another perspective quite to the contrary!

I worked for Choueifat for 2 years in Cairo and noticed on another job website that they are also looking for people. Choueifat pays in dollars, the salary should be around $1600/month, and they offer their on-campus accomodation. The might give you a slight allowance since you'll be living off campus with your 'wife' but I wouldn't count on that. Teaching high school anywhere in Egypt can be a challenge as far as discipline, so if you can work with middle school and younger, that would be ideal. You can send your CV to Saleh Ayche at sayche@sabis.net. They have 2 schools-both on the corners of the city limits and not particularly close to Maadi, but I wouldn't necessarily worry about that. Maadi is a smaller suburb of the city, and while there are a few schools there, many are popping up in "New Cairo" which is an extension of the city in the desert!

A friend of mine works for Al Hayat Academy in Rehab (new community about 25 minutes from Maadi, I think) and she really likes the place. They will hire non-qualified teachers, too, though classroom experience is valuable. Straight-up ESL jobs are harder to come by, and pay a good deal less than the international schools. I think i've overwelmed you with information, so I'll let you digest that. Don't hesitate to ask if you have more questions!
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jonnyidaho



Joined: 23 Jun 2006
Posts: 14

PostPosted: Fri Jul 14, 2006 7:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Excellent post Stoth1972-thanks for the info.

I have not yet found work. It sounds from prior posts on this forum like Egypt is much like Thailand-very little hiring done from outside the country. So I intend, as also recommended on this forum, to spend August and September looking for work on the ground in Cairo. I have read most of the postings on Sakkara, and it sounds much like AUA, the oldest and one of the largest language schools in Thailand, which hires lots of newbies, has high turnover, makes the teacher pay for the work permit, and pays a mediocre hourly wage. Teachers are also expected to work six days a week. On the upside, there is plenty of mentoring and supplementary activities available, the students are great, there's A/C, and there is a one week (albeit unpaid) break between each six week term. Overrall I found working there to be a good experience and the school to be an excellent place to start the TEFL thing. That said, it sounds like I can expect a similar experience at Sakkara. I would, however, like to find something at least a small step up on the food chain.

I have heard other reports on the "occasional" difficulties of working in an Egyptian high school. This brings to mind working at an international/private school in Thailand, where the rich brats (pardon me) run rampant on their doormat-foreign-teacher-of-the-month. In Thailand these jobs pay better, all work permit and visa costs are covered by the school, and holidays are paid and plentiful.

So in Thailand there are definitely advantages and disadvantages to working the language school scene vs. the international scene (perhaps I'm stating the obvious here). I suppose I should expect similar things in Egypt?

I am definitely keen on checking out Choueifat. $1600 American a month is far better than I had hoped to get starting out in Egypt and I would welcome such a wage. It sounds like it's a high school?

I have also added Al-Hayat to my list of potentials.

Regarding clothes, sounds like I'll take my Thai stuff and recent stateside acquisitions and hope for the best in Cairo. I'm sure my vain side will miss Bangkok's easy access to nice threads.

I am also a bit weary of what to expect on the gluttoning front. One of the definite plusses of life in Thailand is the cuisine, which is very difficult to get tired of. My uninitiated self is having visions of eating falafal twice a day every day and just aching for some variety and spice. Perhaps my preconceptions on Middle Eastern cuisine are a bit naive?

I welcome any comments or further thoughts.

jonnyidaho
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stoth1972



Joined: 16 May 2003
Posts: 674
Location: Seattle, Washington

PostPosted: Fri Jul 14, 2006 7:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
It sounds from prior posts on this forum like Egypt is much like Thailand-very little hiring done from outside the country.


I would tend to disagree with this. Many schools look at the fact that you're already 'settled' in Cairo as license to give you less benefits than the expat hires. Sakkara will expect you to pay your ticket upfront, and I believe they'll reimburse 1/2 upon arrival and 1/2 upon completion of contract. Choueifat and Hayat will arrange your flights for you.

There are definitely some schools looking right now...I would recommend you try to secure employment beforehand.

Language schools in Egypt will tend to have adult students who are more serious, but the pay is substantially less than school teaching. Probably more in line with Sakkara's salary.

Egyptian food is quite fattening, but the traditional Arabic(really Lebanese) Mezze is available at most restaurants. I recommend Abu Shakra in Maadi and Downtown...WONDERFUL grilled chicken and such. Cairo has loads of American restaurants: Chili's, Applebee's, Fridays, McD's, Pizza Hut, Quizno's, etc. (yuck to all but they're popular). Maadi has some different types: Thai, Indian, Ethiopian, Korean, etc...You'll manage, though the selection of street food you're accustomed to in Bangkok will make all that pale in comparison. I found that I cooked much healthier in Cairo. Fruit and veg is downright cheap and other foodstuff is quite reasonably priced. There's food for thought! Let me know if you you have any other questions!
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Sekhmet



Joined: 05 Apr 2004
Posts: 329
Location: Alexandria, Egypt

PostPosted: Sat Jul 15, 2006 7:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would agree with Stoth in terms of what he says about hiring proceedures in Cairo. A lot of the posts you might have been looking at were about Alex, which is a very different kettle of fish! but even there, there are places you can easily get work from outside of the country, but less so if you have little or no experience. Try to get something from outside of the country, as you will get benefits that you certainly wouldn't get if you applied while here, and then spend some time looking around and getting used to the place.
Also, what Stoth says about food is very true - it's certainly not all fuul and falafel! Abou Shakra is a very well-known chain, and although I don't know much about cuisine in Cairo, in Alex we have some excellent cheap places such as Hosny or Balbaa which serve very good food at reasonable prices. For cheaper options you also have places such as Abou Rabie, where you can get a meal for 2 at less than 10 LE! I don't know if it exists in Cairo, but there is also a very good Saudi barbequed chicken chain called Tazaj, which do the best BBQ chicken I've ever tasted!
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Stephen Jones



Joined: 21 Feb 2003
Posts: 4124

PostPosted: Sun Jul 16, 2006 9:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Food in Cairo is excellent.

The problem with clothes is the fit. Egyptians and Westerners are differently proportioned so when if I buy an Egyptian Van Heusen shirt the shape is all wrong.
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jonnyidaho



Joined: 23 Jun 2006
Posts: 14

PostPosted: Wed Jul 19, 2006 12:48 am    Post subject: schools and beards Reply with quote

Thanks for the replies, and points taken regarding hiring procedures & food. I plan to start sending resumes via e-mail this week. From what I gather (and please correct me if I'm mistaken, or add/delete as you see fit), AUC and CAC sound like the top-tier places to work, with Choueifat, the American Int'l School, and AMIDEAST also carrying good reputations? I suppose I'll aim high and if nothing pans out due to my lack of experience (1 year) or quals (BA, TEFL) then I'll just lower my expectations. Getting airfare reimbursed would certainly be a pleasant surprise, though I'm still skeptical about ever seeing that money! Either way, I've already bought a one-way ticket to Cairo (my "wife" left yesterday) and will be arriving August 1. Perhaps it is a bit late to try to arrange work Stateside.

On a different note, is a beard a desirable thing to wear into the classroom? Facial hair of any sort is not seen as becoming in Thailand, where coming back from a holiday with a beard was met with groans of "dirty" and "look like old man" (I'm 26) from my students. Perhaps Egyptian students will give me a bit more respect with a healthy full beard rather than a fresh-from-uni-clean shave?
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stoth1972



Joined: 16 May 2003
Posts: 674
Location: Seattle, Washington

PostPosted: Wed Jul 19, 2006 1:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

http://jobs.tes.co.uk/rs6/cl.asp?action=view_ad&ad_id=352709

This was last weeks posting, so they are still looking. Choueifat, AIS, AMIDEast are certainly reliable, if nothing else. CAC would be for the qualified teacher, and AUC might be an option once you're there if they need a local hire (Veiled Sentiments might have more to add to that, but I do think they might hire you part-time).

I think the clean face might be respected a bit more overall....just my opinion, though! Smile
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veiledsentiments



Joined: 20 Feb 2003
Posts: 16129
Location: USA

PostPosted: Wed Jul 19, 2006 4:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

CAC and AUC are very competitive for foreign hire. For CAC, you must be certified by your home state - few, if any EFL classes possible there. At AUC, only MAs need apply for foreign hire. If you are in Cairo, you may be able to pick up part time AUD adult education classes, but the pay is local scale... very low. In other words, you would be wasting your time to apply to either of them. (sorry...)

I noticed that Sakkara School in Maadi is advertising again here on Dave's. If you do a search, their pros and cons have been covered here.

VS
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jonnyidaho



Joined: 23 Jun 2006
Posts: 14

PostPosted: Wed Jul 19, 2006 5:04 pm    Post subject: thanks & more questions Reply with quote

Sounds like AUC and CAC may be a bit out of my league at present.

VS, when you say that for CAC you must be certified by your home state, do you mean "state" as in American state (i. e. Idaho)? Also, what is "AUD" in "part time AUD adult education classes"?

stoth1972, thanks for the ISC heads up-I sent them my CV and have fingers crossed to get a reply. I'd never been on that site before! Their ad says that they have schools in Heliopolis and City of 6 October. What kind of commute would this be from Maadi?

Also, I noticed a few weeks back that the British Council is advertising on TEFL.com. Their ad says "only UK or Egyptian nationals need apply". How absolute is this? Do they ever hire Americans, or is it absolutely only UK passports that are hired?
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stoth1972



Joined: 16 May 2003
Posts: 674
Location: Seattle, Washington

PostPosted: Wed Jul 19, 2006 9:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Glad to be of help, Jonny. The BC may hire non-Britis depending on the candidate pool. I recall the BC in Cairo as being selective, but don't take my word for it-apply, and stop in when you're in Cairo (if you haven't already found work). They might be inclined to hire a non-Brit in a pinch.

I don't want to 'give props' to another ESL site, but the link I sent you can send you a weekly listing of all overseas appointments...

ISC actually is not in Helipolis, though that's their address. They have a location in New Cairo and, like you mentioned, 6th October City. The latter is quite far from everything in Cairo! That's closest to Harem (Pyramids area) and Mohandesein (they've got a new bridge open). Both of those are a good bit from Maadi, where your 'wife' will be working. Like I said, the original ISC location is in New Cairo (Cahhera Gedida-pardon poor transliteration). New Cairo is about 25 minutes from central Maadi, or less than 20 from New Maadi. Taxi rides out there can be costly for Cairo (at least 20 LE each way/$4), but once you're settled in the school, you would talk to the guy who organises the student buses. He would tell you where and what time you could catch a student bus to/from work. Officially, they don't like the teachers on the bus (esp. the ones who live on campus-they have their own buses running from 4:00 onward to and from Maadi) but since you would be living off-campus, I'm sure they wouldn't mind (don't mention all that in the interview, of course!!) That would save on the hassle of getting a taxi to come out to the school...there are lots of schools out there and small community, but it is still out of the way for most Cairennes.

If they don't respond to your email, remember that it's summer and many are away. Just be persistant: Saleh Ayche (male) is the regional director. Persistance pays off. Don't hesitate to call and talk to him. You can certainly say that a former teacher suggested the school to you, and give him my name (Susan Toth-pronounced with a long 'o'). If Mr. Ayche likes you, I think you'll find your time there quite smooth. Good luck!

Also, try Sakkrara, like VS suggested. Not as a good of a deal, but certainly an option!
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veiledsentiments



Joined: 20 Feb 2003
Posts: 16129
Location: USA

PostPosted: Thu Jul 20, 2006 2:36 am    Post subject: Re: thanks & more questions Reply with quote

jonnyidaho wrote:
VS, when you say that for CAC you must be certified by your home state, do you mean "state" as in American state (i. e. Idaho)? Also, what is "AUD" in "part time AUD adult education classes"?


Yes, you would need a legitimate US teaching certificate - from whatever state it is.

And AUD is... a typo... Laughing (sorry... c and d are close if your fingernails are long)

VS
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jonnyidaho



Joined: 23 Jun 2006
Posts: 14

PostPosted: Thu Jul 20, 2006 1:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

VS and Stoth, thanks for the replies.

If the BC is anything like their branch in Bangkok, they're probably quite selective, and given my American passport I'm sure my chances of getting on are slim, but I'll give it a shot anyway.

One question though: their ad states for compensation "sterling payment of 300 pounds per month, plus salary in Egyptian pounds paid on a 10 point scale from 5088 to 6572 per month".

What does this mean? I can't really imagine that they pay you that kind of LE salary on top of 300 british pounds, or do they? (certainly would be nice!)

My 'wife' arrived in Cairo Tuesday and is currently apartment hunting (any thoughts?); not sure if we'll be in "Central" or "New" Maadi. Either way sounds like ISC will be a good daily haul but if the money's there . . .

Stoth thanks for the Saleh Ayche connection. I'll try to find his number on the ISC site and begin nagging him soon Smile

And another Sakkara question: their ad also requests that the teacher states his/her preferred age to teach. My understanding is that 'elementary' denotes K-6, and 'secondary' 7-12. They also include 'preporatory'. What age is this? I think I'll heed the aforementioned advice and try for middle school, but I'm not sure what the Egyptian term for 'middle school' is.

Perhaps I'm being a bit nitpicky (sp) . . .

Ultimately, with my 'wife's' 5000 LE salary and mine at what looks to be in a similar range, we should be able to eek out a marginally comfortable lifestyle.
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veiledsentiments



Joined: 20 Feb 2003
Posts: 16129
Location: USA

PostPosted: Thu Jul 20, 2006 3:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Many international places pay (like BC, CAC, AUC and a few others) pay a salary in a stable currency along with Egyptian pounds. That gives you some money for travel outside the country since EP don't travel well... so to speak... and it is often hard to change them to even US$ or Euros. There are times that you can spend a whole evening going from money changer to money changer to money changer... and not a one of them will sell you foreign currency. I would guess that the BC scale depends on your experience whereas everyone gets the 300 Sterling. (and they rarely hire Americans... I only remember one person who managed to get one class for one term)

I'm not always clear on the different K-12 terms either. I would guess that Preparatory is the same as Middle School or what we called in my youth, Junior High. (now that dates me... Cool )

The best way to search for flats is to walk around and if you see a building you like, ask the boab (doorman) if you can find him. Another option is to stop at a coffee shop where the men are sitting about passing the time. Often one of them is an 'agent' for neighborhood owners. Does your 'wife' speak Arabic? You might need an Arabic speaker to help... although English is widely spoken around Maadi... and be sure to say that you are married.

VS
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stoth1972



Joined: 16 May 2003
Posts: 674
Location: Seattle, Washington

PostPosted: Thu Jul 20, 2006 4:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wasn't sure about the ten point scale, myself. Good advice on finding a flat. New Maadi tends to be cheaper, but I think you lose the charm of Maadi's tree-lined streets when you move out of the centre. There are some great places on the edge of New Nerco (part of New Maadi) and Maadi Digla, so you get the benefit of being in the centre of town, but a slightly lower rent. I'm not sure what they're charging, but I was told that after we left the rents dropped considerable. We were paying for a massive flat on Road 206 (Digla-lots of diplomats, close to CAC) that wasn't really "expat" quality. I think we paid 2500 (had 3 bedrooms, and a 4th bedroom had been converted). After we left, I heard they had to rent it for 1800. I think you can find a decent place for the two of you(2 bdr) in the neighbourhood of 1200-1500, unless there's been a recent spike.

There's a little restaurant on road 254(start learning your numbers in arabic) "The Nook" is run by an English woman married to an Egyptian guy called Tasso. They operate as a rental agent, too. Might be able to offer you some ideas. I've noticed a lot of web sites with apt. rentals, though they seem to be targeting the non-teaching expats ($$$). You might join "El Shella" a Yahoo group of Egyptians. You might get some help on finding a place from them.
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