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How are things in Cairo these days?

 
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nygma44



Joined: 01 Oct 2012
Posts: 5

PostPosted: Wed Oct 03, 2012 5:57 pm    Post subject: How are things in Cairo these days? Reply with quote

Hi everyone,

What's the feeling like in Cairo these days? I was there as a traveller right after the revolution started and I felt pretty safe. I went back a few months later and felt the mood had turned a bit (though I still didn't feel in danger). I'm thinking of taking a job there in August and am hoping to gain some insight from someone who is there.

Thanks in advance!
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justcolleen



Joined: 07 Jan 2004
Posts: 636
Location: Egypt, baby!

PostPosted: Thu Oct 04, 2012 5:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

For now, it's okay. Some parts of Cairo (and Egypt, for that matter) are best left alone, however others are okay enough that people are willing to stay. Do know that foreign teachers are in short supply. A lot can change between now and August, though.

I see from your profile you have administrative experience. That could be lucrative for you if you choose to continue along that career path in Egypt.
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nygma44



Joined: 01 Oct 2012
Posts: 5

PostPosted: Thu Oct 04, 2012 7:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for your reply!

Yes, I do have admin experience both in Laos and the USA. Plus I'm just completing a PhD in Applied Linguistics. I've applied for a position at AUC and will continue searching for interesting opportunities in Egypt. I collected part of my PhD data in the Middle East and have my heart set on returning to the region. I wasn't overly worried about the security situation, though of course I know I would have to be cautious, but family and friends have been in my ear so I just wanted to get an opinion from someone who is there now. I think that's the only way to know....if we just believed the media, none of us would venture out of our houses!
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PierogiMonster



Joined: 17 Jun 2010
Posts: 136

PostPosted: Sat Oct 20, 2012 3:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Short answer: hot, noisy and very polluted.

More helpful (?) answer: I've been here six weeks now and feel completely safe on a day-to-day basis. Obviously I keep away from any demonstrations and the like and listen carefully to the latest Embassy advice. But other than that I'm been a victim only to the Arabs' legendary friendliness and hospitality.
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cairanya



Joined: 02 Jun 2012
Posts: 62

PostPosted: Sat Oct 20, 2012 4:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

justcolleen wrote:
For now, it's okay. Some parts of Cairo (and Egypt, for that matter) are best left alone, however others are okay enough that people are willing to stay. Do know that foreign teachers are in short supply. A lot can change between now and August, though.

I see from your profile you have administrative experience. That could be lucrative for you if you choose to continue along that career path in Egypt.


I didn't know that. Where are they posting?
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justcolleen



Joined: 07 Jan 2004
Posts: 636
Location: Egypt, baby!

PostPosted: Sun Oct 21, 2012 3:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

cairanya wrote:
I didn't know that. Where are they posting?


I've only seen maybe two or three posted, but it's not something I look for so they could be posted more often and I just don't know.

As with most jobs in Egypt, foot work, while here, is the best way to find work.
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nomad soul



Joined: 31 Jan 2010
Posts: 2982
Location: Mesopotamia

PostPosted: Fri Nov 09, 2012 7:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

justcolleen wrote:
As with most jobs in Egypt, foot work, while here, is the best way to find work.

You've mentioned Egypt in a couple of other forums. (I have friends teaching throughout Cairo and they say they're doing "okay.") What type of money and/or benefits could newbies expect to receive if they arrive in country to do their job hunting? What cities/areas offer them the best opportunities for teaching jobs?
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justcolleen



Joined: 07 Jan 2004
Posts: 636
Location: Egypt, baby!

PostPosted: Fri Nov 09, 2012 6:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

nomad soul wrote:
justcolleen wrote:
As with most jobs in Egypt, foot work, while here, is the best way to find work.

You've mentioned Egypt in a couple of other forums. (I have friends teaching throughout Cairo and they say they're doing "okay.") What type of money and/or benefits could newbies expect to receive if they arrive in country to do their job hunting? What cities/areas offer them the best opportunities for teaching jobs?


To those who might be thinking about Egypt, here goes:

Location

Sharm pays more than Hurghada. Hurghada pays more than Cairo. Cairo pays more than Alexandria. Alexandria pays more than Mansoura. Anyplace smaller than Mansoura will be a fuul and falafel wage; skip those places.

Qualifications

As I've said before, the bulk of the teaching market is K-12 in the international school system (American, British, Canadian, etc.). Those are the employers who will offer insurance, transportation, a decent salary (and, often, much more than just "decent"), and so on.

In order to qualify for a work permit, the teacher must hold a passport from an English-speaking country (England, the US, Australia, etc.), a Bachelor's degree (preferably an English degree, but it's not a big deal), and three years of classroom teaching experience.

An employer might look at a TEFL certification and be slightly impressed, but not overly impressed. There is work outside of the K-12 system (more about that later) and very few schools offer ESL classes as the primary purpose for learning English is to get into a Faculty of Medicine or Engineering by scoring well on the SAT exams.

Most of all, the K-12 schools will be able to obtain a work permit which not only provides some job security, but a legitimate way to stay in Egypt.

Before the revolution, it was possible to live - and work - in Egypt simply by renewing a tourist visa. Not anymore. The government figured out that 25% of everyone employed in the country were non-Egyptians, working illegally and living on tourist visas, so the crack-down began and it's very difficult to renew a tourist visa anymore. It's become so difficult that there are now "marriages of convenience" so that non-Egyptians can maintain residency, although that does not come with permission to work.

Also, before the revolution, anyone with a pulse and a passport (from an English-speaking country) could get a job teaching. This has also changed and now police routinely check schools for illegally employed foreign teachers - primarily in Sharm and Hurghada (see "Location"), however that doesn't mean it hasn't happened elsewhere and I haven't heard about it.

The other thing the revolution (and its subsequent turmoil) did was chase away foreigners, which means foreign teachers are hard to come by. Supply and demand has done wonders for salaries and benefits. As one of my American teacher friends said, "The days of foreigners taking scraps are over," and I agree. Demanding - and receiving - work permits are a stellar example of this and a good many decent, well paying schools are now figuring out how to go about it for the first time ever. Why? Because now they have no choice; teachers insist, the government insists, and rightly so.

Naturegirl posted a thread about the top paying schools, and Egypt is on the list. Those top paying schools will want a teaching certificate and experience. They will also pay extremely well, and by this I mean on par with home country teacher salaries (yes, I mean tens of thousands of DOLLARS per year), along with a bonus pack of benefits. Schutz American School in Alexandria and Cairo American College in Cairo are two of those top-tier schools.

As for the others, teachers will get what they bargain for and if they're just "doing okay," the chances are extremely good they could be doing better and simply don't realize it.

The best way to go about finding a decent paying job is to pay the $15 USD at the airport for a 30 day tourist visa and hit the ground running, with a plan:

DO NOT schedule interviews; just walk in.

DO NOT let them leave you sitting in the Reception area for more than 15 minutes. If this happens, tell the Receptionist you're very busy and you must leave, then watch the scramble as they find someone to talk to you so you don't get out the door.

DO make small talk with other people sitting in the Reception area because they probably will be ... parents. Parents are super excited when there's a foreign teacher in the building. Parents are even more excited than super excited when a foreign teacher is employed by the school, hopefully teaching their child(ren). If there is a foreign teacher employed by the school who is not teaching their child(ren), parents will stand on the throats of administrators until they make staffing changes. Yes, foreign teachers are that big of a deal.

DO let your introduction be something like, "I'm here because I'm interested in working in Egypt so I thought I would visit and investigate the opportunities ... my flight out is in (pick a number) days ...." If, for any reason, you let it slip that you have moved to Egypt, you are done in terms of your value because you're there and you need a job. Of course you're there and you need a job, but nobody needs to know that but you.

DO negotiate, negotiate, negotiate, and do it the way the locals do it: they will always ask what you want first, so shoot for the moon. If they try and tell you they can't afford it, thank them and get up to leave and watch as whoever is interviewing you falls over themselves to get you to sit back down because they need you more than you need them. Remember the small talk in the Reception area? Those parents are probably stalker calling administration, asking when the foreign teacher will start, what grades they will be teaching, and which subjects. Of course you will not get the moon, but it's okay to settle for the stars. That's what negotiation is all about, so be prepared to meet in the middle.

Even if you don't end up with a salary and benefits package like "home," fear not. There is plenty of "private teaching" work on the side that pays really well (the standard is 150 LE/hour) to supplement. If private lessons aren't your thing, call a language center (Not Courses is a good one) to make some extra money. They all pay enough to make it worth your time and you won't have to look for students.

Anything I missed?
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veiledsentiments



Joined: 20 Feb 2003
Posts: 15606
Location: USA

PostPosted: Sat Nov 10, 2012 1:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey Colleen.... of course, times are unusual, but I'd be very surprised if CAC hired a walk-in applicant... at least for English. (maybe science or math) And I'd be even more surprised if they hired someone without a US teaching license. They have always paid equivalent to AUC and even the Gulf jobs.

How about Shutz in Alex?

Interesting times for those who can tolerate risk...

VS
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justcolleen



Joined: 07 Jan 2004
Posts: 636
Location: Egypt, baby!

PostPosted: Sat Nov 10, 2012 5:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

veiledsentiments wrote:
Hey Colleen.... of course, times are unusual, but I'd be very surprised if CAC hired a walk-in applicant... at least for English. (maybe science or math) And I'd be even more surprised if they hired someone without a US teaching license. They have always paid equivalent to AUC and even the Gulf jobs.

How about Shutz in Alex?


Meh. I guess I didn't do a great job separating Schutz and CAC from the rest of the pack, did I?

I didn't mean to encourage anyone without a teaching license to apply at either school and I apologize if it appears I did. Also, the chances of being hired at either as a walk-in applicant would be slim to none. CAC is already soliciting for next year and Schutz may be, too. Because those are top of the line (in more ways than salary and benefits alone), they can and do choose carefully.

veiledsentiments wrote:
Interesting times for those who can tolerate risk...


When I see people asking where they should look for positions in the region, particularly those without a ream of paper in terms of credentials and those who do have K-12 teaching certificates/licensed in their home countries, the suggested countries never include Egypt.

There are good positions here, positions that pay more than a fuul and falafel wage, offer housing, etc. Are they all top of the line? No, they aren't. But they aren't all horrid.

In my opinion, Egypt is a good place to start for someone who wants to try teaching in this region; it's not a bad place to cut one's teeth.

Are there risks? Yes, absolutely. Egypt isn't quite two years out of its revolution and it hasn't fully settled down yet. Part of that is a bit of going wild with newly found freedom - freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of lots of things - and how to make that work when nobody really knows what it is yet. The other part of it is, yes, security, particularly police protection, but street smarts tend to help a great deal in that department.

Risk is also why I stressed work permits. Without a registered contract, there can be no work permit, which (as we know) inhibits the potential for abuse by an employer - and that certainly happens.
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