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woman that received an offer at the Dubai Men College-advice
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vamanos12



Joined: 26 Jan 2012
Posts: 58

PostPosted: Wed Jul 25, 2012 8:50 pm    Post subject: woman that received an offer at the Dubai Men College-advice Reply with quote

Hi,

I was offered a decent salary through HCT to work at Dubai's Men College. I'm wondering what that will be like as a 40 year old woman. Also wondering what to expect to live in Dubai? They set you up in housing, but how expensive might it be beyond that. I also have an offer at PNU Saudi, =money, so.....I have to decide. help
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veiledsentiments



Joined: 20 Feb 2003
Posts: 15998
Location: USA

PostPosted: Thu Jul 26, 2012 1:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Unless Saudi is offering a significantly larger salary (double?), I'd take the HCT position. In fact, I'd take HCT even if it was double. Laughing Yes, HCT has its issues. (one can read the dozens of threads and blogs, but DMC isn't one of the branches with significant problems for teachers - though there was a management bloodbath this spring.)

You will be teaching all men, but I have had women friends who taught in the Men's Colleges and actually preferred it. Being of a 'more mature' - ahem - age is an advantage. (PM me if you decide to take it... I can give you some pointers) HCT normally provides nice housing and about $8000 to furnish it. They will hand you the cash within your first couple days while you are staying in a hotel. Personally, I would just jump in a taxi and head to IKEA.

I am not a big fan of Dubai. I find it too modern and glitzy, but it offers all the mod cons... and even indoor skiing. Laughing No worries about abayas or head coverings... just sensible modest clothing while teaching men. Outside of work, the dress code is pretty liberal. I doubt that you are in the mini-skirt or shorts/tank top crowd.

Personally I can not think of even one reason to choose PNU over DMC.

VS
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bin There



Joined: 16 Jun 2012
Posts: 18

PostPosted: Thu Jul 26, 2012 8:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dubai is a great place to live and I think you'll be surprised at how "normal" everything will become once you get to know your way around. There's plenty to do there, lots of cheap eats and it's easy to get to the rest of the UAE for sightseeing, weekends away, etc.

DMC is kind of on the outskirts / desert fringe of the city but still only a 25-min drive to somewhere like the Burj Al Arab. It's a big, concrete campus that is very well-equipped with all the latest technology - super classrooms, super support. You'll be well looked after. Teaching "the boys" should be fun. They are generally a very good-natured bunch of young guys who much prefer to talk in Arabic about their new Toyota Landcruiser or jetboat than study English. An occasional reminder each class that they are there to help their country and make their family proud can get them into study mode. You are likely to have a likable group who will respect you as a teacher.

You'll also be teaching alpngside plenty more 40-something female teachers from all over the world. It's a rewarding position if you like teaching and want to improve professionally.
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vamanos12



Joined: 26 Jan 2012
Posts: 58

PostPosted: Sun Jul 29, 2012 7:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the replies about HCT. It's so nice to have someone out there to bounce ideas off of. I know on one hand it seems like a no brainer to choose Dubai over Saudi, but there are a few things that make me want to go with PNU in Saudi....though at some level I question myself. One, I'm intimidated by the thought of teaching all Arab men: what if you have to fail them and they are upset and try to intimidate you (but...I did meet some Emirate boy students at the job fair in the US and they were pretty harmless and good natured.) Two, it's a three year contract and my life goals are more about making money and buying a house and only going back to the ME when necessary in order to make enough money to retire. (not all about money, but you know...) I think you could break contract after a year with HCT, but I don't like to do that and I imagine they would blacklist you after breaking contract and then that opportunity would be gone for the future. Three, I"m intimidated by the idea of being in a huge city like Dubai and have to start out kind of independent by furnishing my apt. and kind of fending for myself, but maybe you get there and have a lot of support to do these things: I don't know, and they haven't said. I just feel overwhelmed by the thought, and I don't know Arabic. Also, I have my dog and I can go 9 months without her, but not three years and I'm just not picturing where one can walk a dog in a big city like Dubai.
All that being said, this little part of me that seeks joy and adventure knows that Dubai knows that Dubai is a much better choice.
PNU feels (ha ha) safer and more insulated, but maybe there are other ways of seeing this and my fear is getting in the way??? Any contradictions to my fear-based current thinking are welcome.
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bin There



Joined: 16 Jun 2012
Posts: 18

PostPosted: Sun Jul 29, 2012 8:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Perhaps best not to think of them as men :-0 - they are mostly teenagers (18+) and fairly good-natured ones at that. They will appreciate your efforts and respect you as a teacher but have things in life that are more important than studying (expensive cars, computer games, chatting to women on Facebook...

As for failing them - the department will do its best to "review" borderline cases so they don't fail. I've had cases of clear fails that were passed because "the community (parents) wouldn't like it".

Very few (non-Arab) teachers speak Arabic. I know many who have been in the region for a decade or two and no nothing. You don't need it in Dubai.
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vamanos12



Joined: 26 Jan 2012
Posts: 58

PostPosted: Sun Jul 29, 2012 9:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

funny comment, but that makes sense that in reality they are a step beyond teens not like you are teaching CEO's or something. Do you work at the Dubai Men's College? Do they give support making the initial adjustment?
thanks
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veiledsentiments



Joined: 20 Feb 2003
Posts: 15998
Location: USA

PostPosted: Mon Jul 30, 2012 2:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The reality is that these fellows have the maturity level of junior high students in the US. Laughing You often end up being "mommy" in many ways, but they respond well to a bit of humor and some structured discipline. HCT management tends to be very supportive of their teachers in that they will work with you to set parameters and not allow student to run roughshod over you. (but you need to know what you are doing... classroom management is a matter of experience, of course - which is why I said that your age is an advantage) But, in this part of the world, grades are always going to be a bit "flexible." "Adjustments" normally take place at management level purely because the boys score so much lower than the girls. (yes... they are boys and girls to me... Laughing)

HCT has one of the best organizations in the Gulf for new teachers. I was in a hotel for about 10 days which is more than usual because there was a problem with my assigned flat and the new one was brand new and it took me awhile to get things like carpet and appliances organized. You don't need to know a word of Arabic as English is the language of commerce in the Gulf. (Unlike most teachers, I do speak a bit of Arabic because I started out in Egypt where it is crucial for daily stuff) The new teachers often shop together to get their flats set up. As I said, I would just jump in a taxi and head to IKEA... one stop shop for housing for a reasonable price... they deliver... and can organize someone to build what is needed. (like wardrobes... closets tend to be rare outside of the US)

As to the dog, do the first year (9-10 months) on your own, but ask for a flat where you could have one. That way you can scope things out and bring her/him back with you the next year. I don't see having a place to walk her/him as a problem in a big desert with high rises. I know people who have brought dogs although the heat is an issue

Yes, it is a 3 year contract, but their is an exit clause in the contract with a one semester notice. (the housing allowance is pro-rated over the 3 years and if you leave early, it comes from your final check - normally you sell what you have and get the money back anyway Cool) If your goal is to buy real estate back home, 3 years in the UAE will give you a fabulous downpayment.

Legally resigning from a contract will not cause you to be blacklisted... as I don't believe that there is any such thing unless you have stolen money from the bank or something. Laughing The reality is that if you break a contract with HCT, they will not hire you again. Of course, even if you complete the three year and leave, they normally will not hire you again either. But that doesn't mean that UAEU or ZU or AUS won't.

IMHO the biggest problem just after you arrive is the same issue that you would have in KSA. It is unbelievably hot and that is what makes it hard to get settled. But, AC is ever present.

VS
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bin There



Joined: 16 Jun 2012
Posts: 18

PostPosted: Mon Jul 30, 2012 7:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ooops - "know" nothing Smile

Yes, HCT gives you a lot of support.

Financially - 30,000 Dhs for setting up a new home. Wise to buy used furniture - often 10-20% of the price of IKEA stuff. Especially seeing as you don't plan to spend too long in Dubai. I saved a lot of the 30,000 and by buying used. HCT will also give you 3,000 Dhs in cash to "get you through your first week". This means eating out because you have no cooking facilities. I also saved most of this by eating in cheap restaurants. I remember those who joined with me paying 70 Dhs for the hotel buffet breakfast (over 100 Dhs these days) when bakeries are commonplace and their pastries and breads are tastier than the hotel fare.

Logistically - All your accommodation will be a breeze - they should show you a few places for you to chose from. All visa stuff is done by fairly efficient HR staff. They'll take you to set up a bank account. If you have a bank of choice with a branch in Dubai, might be best to tell them you want that bank. They'll also take you to sort out signing up for your telephone/Internet and stuff. All this happens in the first few days you're in town - while you're at the hotel.

Professionally - You'll get a pretty decent 2-weeks orientation before classes start. There's a lot to take in but don't worry about taking most of it in immediately. You'll be assigned a mentor and most staff will be very willing to help you with courses, admin, cultural questions, etc.

Most people who join HCT are quite overwhelmed at how ell you are treated in the first few weeks of settling in. Then the fun starts as you step into the classroom. And it's up to you too keep it fun. The boys will really appreciate that. Be firm but jovial.

Good luck. I'm sure you'll have a great time in Dubai.
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veiledsentiments



Joined: 20 Feb 2003
Posts: 15998
Location: USA

PostPosted: Mon Jul 30, 2012 2:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great advice binthere

bin There wrote:
Wise to buy used furniture - often 10-20% of the price of IKEA stuff. Especially seeing as you don't plan to spend too long in Dubai.

The problem with this is the wherewithal to locate used stuff that one might want to use. Laughing I know old Middle East hands who hit the streets, furnished for super cheap, and used the housing allowance to buy a car.

My recommendation of IKEA is that it is a one stop shop for those who are overwhelmed with the concept of shopping in a new city. One can at least pick up the basics (bed, chair/footstool/lamp/wardrobe). Then take a breath and ponder the options.

VS
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vamanos12



Joined: 26 Jan 2012
Posts: 58

PostPosted: Mon Jul 30, 2012 8:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the recommendations. I think I came across an HCT website where employees buy and sell other employees things.
I feel more comfortable now with the onboarding, and I"m going to sign on the dotted line. Off and away!
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bin There



Joined: 16 Jun 2012
Posts: 18

PostPosted: Mon Jul 30, 2012 8:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Check out http://dubai.dubizzle.com/ - Lots of great deals on all kinds of used things from lamps and rugs to whole houses.

Try to locate a Spinney's too - they have a community board at the entrance of their stores with all sorts of things for sale. It's also a good place to go for food you might be missing from home but cannot find in the usual supermarkets. Spinney's is a litle expensive though. Gorecery-wise, you'll find most of what you need at Carrrefour - stores all over Dubai. Big, well-lit, clean, modern, pretty cheap...
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veiledsentiments



Joined: 20 Feb 2003
Posts: 15998
Location: USA

PostPosted: Tue Jul 31, 2012 2:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

vamanos12 wrote:
Thanks for the recommendations. I think I came across an HCT website where employees buy and sell other employees things.
I feel more comfortable now with the onboarding, and I"m going to sign on the dotted line. Off and away!

The catch is that most people leave in the spring... and get rid of everything before they leave. The new teachers arrive in Sept... all at the same time, so the pickings can be slim with lots of competition. Laughing

That said... buy the basics and add to it as you find bargains.

VS
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Gulezar



Joined: 19 Jun 2007
Posts: 237

PostPosted: Tue Jul 31, 2012 1:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

"One, I'm intimidated by the thought of teaching all Arab men: what if you have to fail them and they are upset and try to intimidate you (but...I did meet some Emirate boy students at the job fair in the US and they were pretty harmless and good natured.) Two, it's a three year contract and my life goals are more about making money and buying a house and only going back to the ME when necessary in order to make enough money to retire. (not all about money, but you know...) I think you could break contract after a year with HCT, but I don't like to do that and I imagine they would blacklist you after breaking contract and then that opportunity would be gone for the future. Three, I"m intimidated by the idea of being in a huge city like Dubai and have to start out kind of independent by furnishing my apt. and kind of fending for myself, but maybe you get there and have a lot of support to do these things: I don't know, and they haven't said. I just feel overwhelmed by the thought, and I don't know Arabic. Also, I have my dog and I can go 9 months without her, but not three years and I'm just not picturing where one can walk a dog in a big city like Dubai.

One: I would rather deal with Emirati males, than Saudi women. Those girls can be pretty manipulative and stubborn.

Two: You can save money in Dubai and get properties back home. Don't get sucked in by the glitz and glamor; enjoy the beauty of free desert camping and the beaches.

Three: furnishing a place is easy. There's dubbizle and the second-hand places in Karma. Since lots of folks come and go, there is always a turn-over in furnishings. Dubai is a big city made up of small neighborhoods. Arabic? You would be more likely to be confronted with Farsi or Urdu in Dubai! I wanted to learn Arabic, but learned more in KSA than I ever did in Dubai.

Four: Set yourself up in a dog-friendly spot in Dubai. There are lots of open spaces, and apartments which allow for pets. In Saudi you can expect your dog to be banned.

KSA or Dubai? It's a no-brainier.
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nomad soul



Joined: 31 Jan 2010
Posts: 3939
Location: Terra firma

PostPosted: Tue Jul 31, 2012 1:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

vamanos12 wrote:
Thanks for the recommendations. I think I came across an HCT website where employees buy and sell other employees things.
I feel more comfortable now with the onboarding, and I"m going to sign on the dotted line. Off and away!

Funny how this fate thing works, Vamanos. It seems like just yesterday you created that thread... Uh, something about an existential TEFL lifestyle crisis, I believe. And well, look where you're headed! Oh, by the way, you're free to date in Dubai. Wink

Good luck and keep us posted!
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vamanos12



Joined: 26 Jan 2012
Posts: 58

PostPosted: Thu Aug 02, 2012 6:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah...it's been 6 months of researching working in the ME, applying, stressing, getting offers (some which led nowhere) learning what are scams, thinking this might work out, then no, then the other.....it makes my head spin. When I actually get on a plane and don't have to navigate the process anymore. Amen.
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