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Car required?
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rigel



Joined: 17 Apr 2009
Posts: 308

PostPosted: Wed Aug 12, 2009 9:07 am    Post subject: Car required? Reply with quote

I've been told by some that a car is required of teachers if they work in Oman. That's a stretch to me. I guess it could be true, though. As I look over Muscat on googlemaps/satellite view, it looks like a pretty spread-out place.
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PattyFlipper



Joined: 14 Nov 2007
Posts: 561

PostPosted: Wed Aug 12, 2009 9:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I really dislike driving and resent having to own a car. I have managed to avoid both for the last fifteen years or so, including in other locations in the Middle East. However, I am currently in Muscat and only accepted my present position because a car was included in the package. Without it, my quality of life would be so poor I would almost certainly not be here.

As you rightly say, the Capital Area is very spread out, and it is very likely that anywhere you want to go or anything you need to do will be situated a fair distance from your accommodation or workplace. Public transportation is negligible to non-existent in many areas, and dealing with Muscat taxi drivers can be a traumatic experience unless you really know what you are doing.
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rigel



Joined: 17 Apr 2009
Posts: 308

PostPosted: Wed Aug 12, 2009 11:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's not just this that's the deal-breaker for me. It's the car issue PLUS the fact I'll be expected to rent an apartment that will probably be nothing more than four walls, a floor, and a ceiling. It'll be so bare I'll have to even buy light bulbs and a commode. And this is for a job I know nothing about. I have no interest in sleeping in a Coleman bag until I know it's gonna work out long enough to justify buying a (used) bed.

Schools need to learn how to compensate teachers for the risk we take when we go to these places.
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veiledsentiments



Joined: 20 Feb 2003
Posts: 15606
Location: USA

PostPosted: Wed Aug 12, 2009 2:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

rigel wrote:
It's not just this that's the deal-breaker for me. It's the car issue PLUS the fact I'll be expected to rent an apartment that will probably be nothing more than four walls, a floor, and a ceiling. It'll be so bare I'll have to even buy light bulbs and a commode. And this is for a job I know nothing about. I have no interest in sleeping in a Coleman bag until I know it's gonna work out long enough to justify buying a (used) bed.

Schools need to learn how to compensate teachers for the risk we take when we go to these places.

As I said in the PM, this is pretty much standard in Oman and many other places in the Gulf until you get to the top tier employers. (a definition which doesn't fit those using recruiters).

But... you won't have to buy a commode. The bathrooms are complete and the kitchens are usually fitted though without appliances. The first investment is to fill those big holes in the wall with AC units since one arrives in the heat of August/September.

Recruiters care not a jot about your risk... they only care about filling a space and getting their compensation. This is the reason that I would have never considered a job through a recruiter, but fortunately I had an MA, so I didn't need to use them.

VS
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denise



Joined: 23 Apr 2003
Posts: 3419
Location: finally home-ish

PostPosted: Wed Aug 12, 2009 4:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Even the much-maligned CfBT provides fully furnished apartments. Yes, recruiters can be hit or miss, but it's not fair to assume that they will all just dump you in the middle of nowhere and leave you to fend for yourself. Sometimes they do actually show hints of humanity.

d
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Pikgitina



Joined: 09 Jan 2006
Posts: 347
Location: UAE

PostPosted: Wed Aug 12, 2009 5:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

denise wrote:
Even the much-maligned CfBT provides fully furnished apartments. Yes, recruiters can be hit or miss, but it's not fair to assume that they will all just dump you in the middle of nowhere and leave you to fend for yourself. Sometimes they do actually show hints of humanity.

d


I agree, denise. Some people - recruited by recruiters - stay for years, happily so.

VS, in my time in Oman, I never heard of any flats that only had holes in the walls instead of A/Cs. But of course, this doesn't mean that these places don't exist.

Jobs at the colleges in the villages (or at the one in Muscat) sometimes have exactly the same packages on offer as the few top-tier employers in Oman. Only the salary will be (a bit) less.
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veiledsentiments



Joined: 20 Feb 2003
Posts: 15606
Location: USA

PostPosted: Wed Aug 12, 2009 6:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

People have been PMing me with their contract details and some recruiters are apparently stopping the provision of furnished flats. They are getting, in effect, about 250 a month for accommodation allowance with no provision for furniture. (there have been a few on the board here describing the same situation)

Did you ever search for a flat with an allowance P or D? I too was shocked when the places that I looked at were literally empty... bathrooms done and kitchen cabinets only. Some were new construction and some were just to be re-rented. Not a one had AC installed... and some didn't even have the holes closed to the elements. The HR dept at my college - which provided furnished flats for all teachers - told me that is how all "unfurnished flats" rented out in the Muscat area. The furnished flat that they had provided me had major issues and the Dean had told me to just go and find what I liked within the budget and they would get it set up for me.

I looked at about 20 different flats and all were as I describe. This was in Al-Khuwair, Madinet Qaboos, and Qurm. The recruiters used to mostly provide furnished flats, but apparently now they are deciding to pass this aggravation over to the teachers. The last person who asked me about this was being hired for the Ministry of Manpower jobs... I didn't ask which recruiter it was... I know one of them is Bahwan...

VS
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denise



Joined: 23 Apr 2003
Posts: 3419
Location: finally home-ish

PostPosted: Thu Aug 13, 2009 5:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've heard of such flats. I was not disputing their existence. My only point was this: not all recruiters are the same. And then pikgitina added something that I agree with: some people do manage to keep themselves happy, even when hired by recruiters.

No, I have never had to look for an apartment on a meager housing allowance. Why not? Because both of my jobs provided fully furnished flats, and my first job was through CfBT. Not getting furnished housing would likely have been a deal-breaker for me, but it was never an issue.

Once again... not all recruiters are the same... of course, this can mean that the good ones turn bad... And not all people deal with them in the same way.

I'm starting to remember why I've stopped following most of the threads on the Oman forum. Things seem to just go in circles.

d
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natureguy



Joined: 25 May 2009
Posts: 11
Location: Oman

PostPosted: Thu Aug 13, 2009 8:57 am    Post subject: Necessity of a car and furnished flats in Oman Reply with quote

I didn't have a car for a few months after arriving in Oman but ended up renting and then buying after one full term. For me, a car is absolutely needed in order to have a bit of freedom as Oman's cities and towns are, indeed, sprawling and waiting outside for public transit (mostly shared taxis) in 50 degree heat isn't pleasant. Some teachers, however, do manage for a year or so without hiring a car so it can be done.

As far as accommodation is concerned, CFBT and Hawthorne (recruiters for the Colleges of Applied Sciences) both provide furnished housing for all teachers. Sometimes, it is also possible for a teacher hired by these 2 recruiters (especially with a family) to arrange his/her own accommodation and be given a housing allowance + furnishings. I believe CECNE and possibly all the recruiters for the Ministry of Manpower's Colleges of Technology only offer a housing allowance as do most of the small private colleges in Muscat. This is also true of the private universities in Sohar, Salalah etc. For me, (and I also have an MA TESOL), the recruiters have been a better way to go as it allows the teacher more flexibility in deciding whether to stay or leave at the end of the one-year contract period (I decided to stay on). Each individual needs to weigh the options based on their own individual/family needs. It may be possible to come to Oman with a recruiter for one year, enjoy the flexibility of having furnished accommodation into which you can move upon arrival and then decide as the year progresses whether to move on or seek one's own accommodation while staying with the same recruiter/employer.

Best of luck to all those new recruits coming to Oman!
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lotsa



Joined: 21 Mar 2007
Posts: 68
Location: Oman

PostPosted: Fri Aug 14, 2009 3:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

denise wrote:
I've heard of such flats. I was not disputing their existence. My only point was this: not all recruiters are the same. And then pikgitina added something that I agree with: some people do manage to keep themselves happy, even when hired by recruiters.


I agree. Not ALL recruiters live on another planet and I think anyone reading this board and the constant consistent bagging of ALL recruiters by that with claws (disingenuously) could deny themselves a job which fits them just fine but effectively get switched off to the idea, or may even stop pursuing a job here. I do know some teachers here that are more than happy with their packages. If you wish to generalise about how bad ALL recruiters are, why not name ALL of them so that potentials can then eliminate at will. Unless you are prepared to do that, any argument that with claws puts forward, is simply not cogent.
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Mojoski



Joined: 03 May 2009
Posts: 170

PostPosted: Fri Aug 14, 2009 3:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Now I know I am coming to Oman (finally). From all I've heard, it behooves me to acquire a car. If I am going to have one, I want to get it done as soon as possible. Please give me any advice I will need in order to do this. I will arrive with an international drivers license that is good for one year and my California license, which is good for a year beyond that. Thanks much for any help. Very Happy
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angelfire



Joined: 24 Feb 2006
Posts: 27
Location: Beijing

PostPosted: Fri Aug 14, 2009 3:58 pm    Post subject: A car in Oman Reply with quote

Moj,
In Oman, you do not need an international driver's licence - your California driver's license will be just fine for renting a car. However, you will need an Omani driver's license if you want to buy a car.
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Charybdis



Joined: 08 Aug 2009
Posts: 30

PostPosted: Fri Aug 14, 2009 4:18 pm    Post subject: Info on Housing in Nizwa? Reply with quote

Does anyone have information specifically about housing prospects in Nizwa? All the universities are out of town, and I'm wondering if housing is near the campuses or in town (or a mixture of both). Also, are they typically furnished? (I'm not working with a recruiter.)
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Charybdis



Joined: 08 Aug 2009
Posts: 30

PostPosted: Fri Aug 14, 2009 4:20 pm    Post subject: Cars Reply with quote

Another question: about how much is it a month to lease a car? Any ideas about the best place to get one?
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Mojoski



Joined: 03 May 2009
Posts: 170

PostPosted: Fri Aug 14, 2009 4:28 pm    Post subject: Re: Cars Reply with quote

Charybdis wrote:
Another question: about how much is it a month to lease a car? Any ideas about the best place to get one?


Second hand knowledge: I remember seeing one post that indicated it was over $350 a month to lease a car.

Angelfire - "Moj,
In Oman, you do not need an international driver's licence - your California driver's license will be just fine for renting a car. However, you will need an Omani driver's license if you want to buy a car."

Good to know, Anglefire. Thanks!
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