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TEFL Alexandria
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Deathalicious



Joined: 02 Nov 2006
Posts: 9

PostPosted: Mon Nov 06, 2006 6:42 am    Post subject: TEFL Alexandria Reply with quote

Hello,

I'm hoping to hear feedback from people who just recently took (i.e. last few years) the TEFL course in Alexandria.

I realize there have been some general comment on TEFL International in the past, but I'd like some more personal experiences and up-to-date info.

Specifically: what are the dorms like where students are placed? Are all of the students living in one dorm or are they spaced out? What opportunities exist in regards to social interaction?

What is the situation with Internet access? Does it make sense to bring a laptop with me?

How are they with job placement? Do they tend to find you jobs and, if so, are they real jobs or do they have arrangements to hook you up with bad, poorly paying schools that offer kickbacks to them?

Thanks so much. I was accepted into their February program but want to be sure they're a decent choice before sending in the deposit.
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veiledsentiments



Joined: 20 Feb 2003
Posts: 16086
Location: USA

PostPosted: Mon Nov 06, 2006 3:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There was some feedback by someone who just left pointing out that there were some major problems that semester with the departure of staff.

I hadn't heard anything about dorms. I believe it is shared flats. Expats in Egypt tend to be a social group, so I don't think that is a problem as long as you make an effort. I would take my laptop, but have low expectations of access (highly likely that it won't be in your flat unless you pay... and wait...) There are plenty of internet cafes.

Don't expect job placement. But, you will make contacts and can probably find work... or head to Cairo and have more choices. You will have to do 90% of the effort though. The pay will be minimal in all of them, but with the addition of private students, you can survive on the local economy and travel about Egypt. Don't expect to save anything or do much travel that requires an airline ticket. Laughing

VS
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stoth1972



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

PostPosted: Mon Nov 06, 2006 5:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Definitely take the laptop, and if you have a portable printer, take that too! If you have a telephone in the accommodation provided, you can easily access dial up internet service at the cost of the normal phone call's minute rate. Good for research purposes. I would ask for a list of recommended readings before going so you can purchase some books beforehand.
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madhouseminx



Joined: 03 Dec 2005
Posts: 70
Location: I am here.

PostPosted: Tue Nov 07, 2006 8:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you read my post "Cultural Extremes in Alex?" You will get most of your questions answered. Skip to the last page if you want.

As far as laptops go, they are useless in the "accomodation" since there are no phone lines at all that I recall. If there are, then access should be free albeit slow. I'm glad I brought mine though, because I brought a digital camera and put all of my pictures on my computer and I like to listen to my own music. The school has internet access and I would plug my own computer in there and send pictures...and as was said, there are internet cafes everywhere that are pretty inexpensive.

As far as a social life...there is no real expat scene. You're pretty much stuck hanging out with the people from your course or other people associated with the school. There is a place called "Coffee Rosterie" or something like that that has karaoke on Wednesday nights and that is a lot of fun. The Portugese Club has pool tables and a big screen t.v. but there is a cover charge. That's all I discovered while I was there.

The accomodation is essentially a hotel with kitchenettes. (see my post for more details) You may have to share with up to 2 other people, or you could get your own room if you are the only male / female.

-Mad
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stoth1972



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

PostPosted: Tue Nov 07, 2006 9:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Madhouse, I see you ended up in Cairo. Where are you teaching? HOw's it going?
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madhouseminx



Joined: 03 Dec 2005
Posts: 70
Location: I am here.

PostPosted: Tue Nov 07, 2006 9:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, I'm in Cairo substitute teaching at CAC. I love the school, but unfortunately, the work isn't steady. I was also supposed to coach tennis but a faculty member came forward at the last minute and they get priority. I have 2 ESL students that I really like too, but it's not enough to live on.

I'm tired of being harassed on the streets every day and its been hard to make friends here, no single people my age to hang out with... so I think I'm going home for Christmas...permanently. Crying or Very sad
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madhouseminx



Joined: 03 Dec 2005
Posts: 70
Location: I am here.

PostPosted: Tue Nov 07, 2006 9:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh, I almost forgot, there is also a club in Alex called "Karma" I think, that plays a mix or Arabic and Western music. It's almost just like a European dance club. You will be surprised at how "Western" the girls dress there! Scandalous! Laughing But you can bet they did not go in or come out looking that way!
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madhouseminx



Joined: 03 Dec 2005
Posts: 70
Location: I am here.

PostPosted: Tue Nov 07, 2006 9:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ok, technically, it's page 3 of the "Cultural Extremes in Alex?" post that has my "critique" if you will. Feel free, to ask more questions!
-Mad
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Deathalicious



Joined: 02 Nov 2006
Posts: 9

PostPosted: Wed Nov 08, 2006 12:22 am    Post subject: Uh Oh Reply with quote

So...after reading MadHouseMinx's dire evaluation of TEFL International, I am very worried.

Basically, I chose Egypt because I wanted to go to the Middle East and learn Arabic while I tought English, and Egypt offered better prospects in some ways -- for one thing, a friend of mine is going to be working there at roughly the same time, so I could at least have someone that I knew and got along with very well while I was living there.

But it sounds like TEFL International Alexandria is not recommended. What should I do instead? I have no teaching experience, I still want to live in the Middle East long term, ideally teaching English. As I understand it, TEFL International is now the only game in town when it somes to getting some kind of teaching certificate -- believe me if the CELTA in Cairo were still on offer, I'd take it, even if it cost extra.

The *only* thing I can find on TEFL in Egypt is TEFL International. Anything else, by any chance? And does anyone else know if TEFL Int. has since cleaned up their act?
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veiledsentiments



Joined: 20 Feb 2003
Posts: 16086
Location: USA

PostPosted: Wed Nov 08, 2006 2:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't blame you for being worried, as I doubt that there is enough time for this place to have fixed its problems.

Could you get a CELTA somewhere else? Egypt will be there when you have finished it... I think it would be worth the investment to get it somewhere.

VS
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Deathalicious



Joined: 02 Nov 2006
Posts: 9

PostPosted: Wed Nov 08, 2006 4:29 am    Post subject: Hmmm.. Reply with quote

Well, if I were to go for the CELTA, which location in the ME makes the most sense for a transition to Egypt? Egypt might be there forever, but my friend won't, and I'd told her I'd be around while she was there. Frankly, I'm a bit surprised that there is no other TEFL/TESOL/CELTA option in Egypt. There's no point getting my CELTA at home; the nearest center is New York, 6 hours away. So I might as well get one abroad.
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veiledsentiments



Joined: 20 Feb 2003
Posts: 16086
Location: USA

PostPosted: Wed Nov 08, 2006 4:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sorry I can't help you out with CELTA as I did an MA instead, so I've never paid any attention. (and in Cairo, too Cool) Like you I am surprised that there is none offered there...

VS
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madhouseminx



Joined: 03 Dec 2005
Posts: 70
Location: I am here.

PostPosted: Wed Nov 08, 2006 12:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I hate to sound grim, but you're pretty much screwed. My decision to do TEFL in Alex rather than CELTA in NY or anywhere else was based on the exact same dilemma you are going through now.

There isn't much offered in the Middle East as far as CELTA goes, except Dubai may be a good option....but it's not close to Egypt.

Do you have any teaching experience at all? If you do, then you can draw on those experiences while you are doing your ESL cert. in Alex.

Most places just care that you have the piece of paper that says you are certified...rather than where it came from. If you only plan on teaching in Egypt then it will do....but don't say I didn't warn you. I doubt things have improved.

I have already been teaching for 10 years and I'm taking Arabic classes...so I was able to use what little I learned in Alexandria and combined it with my past teaching experiences and my own experiences learning a new language.

I privately tutor 2 students right now and the parents are very happy with their progress. Plus there are books out there that teach you how to teach English...you could use those as a supplement.

But if you want QUALITY and a recognized name that will allow you to teach anywhere in the world, then you will have to bite the bullet and get your cert. somewhere else.

-Madhouseminx
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Deathalicious



Joined: 02 Nov 2006
Posts: 9

PostPosted: Wed Nov 08, 2006 6:37 pm    Post subject: Thanks... Reply with quote

Thanks, your advice helped a lot. I have a small amount of teaching experience--nowhere near 10 years!--basically, just tutoring in ESL in the States as well as assisting in the classroom. I think I'll try to volunteer at the local ESL center if possible (it's a good idea anyway) to get more experience there.

It sounds like if I choose to do the TEFL program, I should try to find my own accomodation rather than paying $300/month for a apartment share. How easy is it to do this from outside of the country? Or does it make sense to slum it for just that month since it saves me the heartache of trying to find a place?

Also, I've found one TEFL course that is actually near my home -- Oxford Seminars. I've searched it in the forums and while it's not really respected it seems that it at least offers some grounding in TEFL and I would end up with some sort of certificate, maybe enough to get a job in Egypt at least.

My main focus in Egypt is cultural immersion and learning Arabic, although in the past I have greatly enjoyed teaching others (although this was adults mostly; I'm not sure about teaching children!). If I do decide that I want to teach English as a career, I would definitely find somewhere to take the CELTA, and possibly even go for the Masters in TEFL (I currently have a Masters in International Studies).

But it sounds like if I'm just interested in teaching in Egypt for a while, getting a less official certificate isn't that terrible of a choice. That being said, which option makes more sense? Oxford Seminars or TEFL International? Is TEFL International Alexandria so bad that a 60 hour course (4 weekends, basically) makes a better choice?[/i]
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madhouseminx



Joined: 03 Dec 2005
Posts: 70
Location: I am here.

PostPosted: Wed Nov 08, 2006 9:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you're unfamiliar with the area...I'd just slum it for the month. At least you'll be with the other people in your class...you can study with them and hang out with them. Plus there is a free pick up and drop off to and from school each day.

I would not pay 1500.00 to get the TEFL and the pay again for a CELTA. I would look on the internet for schools in Alexandria...see who's hiring, and then find out what their minimal requirements are. At least I'd start there. Maybe your idea of getting the lesser cert. at home first would be worth it.

I don't know what they teach you in the Oxford course, so I'm not sure if it will be better or not. Like I said in my other post, I did learn some things....I just don't feel I learned $1500.00 worth of stuff. Maybe 1500.00 isn't as big of an investment to you as it was to me so maybe it will be more worth it to you. How much is the Oxford?

I've been living in the ME for 6 months and I don't believe the cultural immersion has really helped me learn any Arabic (but maybe that's just me) it gives me plenty of opportunity to PRACTICE it though. I got the Pimsleur CDs for Egyptian Arabic and tried to learn as much of that as possible first before I got here. I listened to it in my car a lot. You can buy simple books on Amazon that teach you how to read Arabic...but I think you need a classs of some kind to really get that right.

Once you're here sign up for an Arabic class or get a private tutor (don't bother with the TEFL Arabic).

I don't know this is just my opinion based on my experience.. Wink

-Mad
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