Saudi Arabia is a mystery to many travelers. It’s challenging to go to as a tourist as tourist visas are rarely approved, non-Muslims can’t go to the holy sites like Mecca and Medina, & most workers reside in special compounds.
My friends who’ve lived there have explained that’s a weird life: you stay mostly in the task compounds, you can’t really travel many places, and it’s often suggested that you shouldn’t wander the streets alone, especially as a female.
So when Ceil wrote if you ask me that she was a Jamaican woman teaching English in Saudi Arabia (also described below as “the Kingdom”), I was instantly curious! “What would that end up like?!” I wondered. Saudi Arabia is a lucrative spot to teach, but what’s life in the united states actually like? Could it be worthwhile? Ceil gives us insight.
NomadicMatt: Reveal about yourself. Ceil: My name’s Ceil Tulloch, and I’m 44 years old. I was created in Kingston, Jamaica, and raised in NEW YORK. I’ve been teaching ESL/EFL abroad for days gone by 11 years — first in Asia and recently in the centre East.
Currently, I’m teaching at a university in northwestern Saudi Arabia and also have experienced the Kingdom for a complete of 2 yrs. I’m a worldwide adventurer who has traveled to 41 countries, a travel blogger as well as the writer of the nonfiction book, Remembering Peter Tosh (2013).
What’s real life as a foreigner in the united states? First, it’s conservative and provincial. This is actually the first country that I’ve resided in where in fact the genders are segregated so severely and you’ll find so many restrictions on mobility. Since I’m familiar with interacting and socializing with males, plus coming and going as I please, it had been initially difficult arriving at terms with the policy of not associating with men who aren’t relatives in public areas, the separate entrances to public establishments for men and women, or being denied total usage of a facility because of my being female.
Second, it’s quiet and secluded. Because of there being no social venues (carnivals, clubs, concert halls, bars, public pools, etc.) in the Kingdom, socializing is confined to the compound. So, unless somebody decides to throw a celebration or extend a dinner invitation, life’s very quiet here.
Third, it’s diverse. The expat population is approximately 20% of the full total Saudi population; therefore, foreigners have the opportunity to meet folks from the four corners of the planet earth the following. That’s pretty special.
How did you wind up teaching there? Quite unintentionally. Although my master’s degree is in education and my BA in English literature, I never wished to teach. While working as an admin at a company in Manhattan, I saw an ad for becoming TESOL certified and made a decision to contact the director of the institute. He spoke so enthusiastically about his personal experiences of teaching ESL for ten years in SOUTH USA that I made a decision to sign up for the course.
The instructor was excellent, and after I’d completed this program, I decided to visit South Korea and teach there for just two years. I had so much fun I finished up staying for seven years.
The chance then arose to instruct in Saudi Arabia — and I was interested in life in the centre East — therefore i accepted the contract. Afterward, I worked in the Sultanate of Oman for just two years. Now, I’m back Saudi Arabia for just one final contract.
The type of work do you do in the Kingdom? Since relocating to the center East, I’ve been teaching students at the collegiate level in what’s called the preparatory year program (PYP). The English-language PYP is a prerequisite for students ahead of them to be able to study their major. Its aim is to supply students with the rudiments of the four English language skills which will enable them expressing themselves in English at the freshman level.
Could it be easy to find are a teacher in Saudi Arabia? What’s the procedure like? Understandably, retention is problematic here, so there are numerous teaching opportunities obtainable in the Kingdom over summer and winter — specifically for males. The minimum credential necessary for native teachers this is a bachelor’s degree. The most well-liked disciplines are English, TESOL, and applied linguistics.
Additionally, several references are often required. If an applicant really wants to teach at a second or a global school, a teaching license from his/her home country is mandatory. Applicants for university positions almost invariably need a master’s degree or more in one of these subjects, and also a CELTA or TESL certificate with over 100 hours.
Naturally, having prior teaching experience in your community is advantageous. Currently, this limit for teachers here’s 60 years old. The Kingdom doesn’t accept online degrees either.
Upon arrival in to the Kingdom, the employer will request a notarized and authenticated copy of your university degrees, two color photos, as well as your passport to be able to make an application for your resident permit/work visa, which is recognized as the iqama. It took me 8 weeks to get my iqama, nonetheless it can take almost a year. Once an expat comes with an iqama, they can now conduct business transactions such as for example banking, getting phone and Online sites, and mailing packages at the postoffice.
Because of the recent overall economy and drop in oil prices, it’s becoming more difficult to find plum teaching positions here. During the past, I could choose from several offers, but this last time, I only received one, and the package offered wasn’t as lucrative since it was four years back. My friends at other universities over the Kingdom also have shared similar experiences. They’re on offer less attractive packages, and if they would like to renew their contracts, are being asked to have a cut in salary.
Why did you take the work in Saudi Arabia? To be quite frank, I needed to do even more traveling in the centre East and Africa. Saudi Arabia may be the perfect location for me personally to attain my goals because I’m also able to save the most money here.
As a female, how will you feel working and surviving in Saudi Arabia? It should be a significant different experience. It’s been quite challenging as an expat here. As you know, females aren’t permitted to drive in the Kingdom and several places such as for example parks, gyms, and eateries are off-limits to us. (Update 2019: woman is now able to drive in Saudi Arabia).
Additionally, once I’m outdoors I have to wear the abaya, which is quite encumbering. So, being truly a very independent and liberal person, it took me some time adjust fully to the Saudi lifestyle.
Regarding teaching here, it’s a bit frustrating because education isn’t really valued & most students aren’t thinking about learning. They basically come to school because their monarch gives them a monthly stipend (approx. $265 USD) to wait an institution of higher learning. Additionally, as a result of culture, fun learning activities with music and film which can be implemented in the classrooms in places such as for example South Korea are prohibited here.
So, the teaching experience for me personally hasn’t been as rewarding since it was in other areas.
What advice have you got for those who want to live and work in Saudi Arabia? Is there other jobs available to foreigners there, or could it be mainly teaching positions? I’d advise that people who desire to come quickly to the Kingdom execute a little bit of research on the culture to make sure that this can be the right place for them. If indeed they choose to come, they need to remember that the thing that matters here’s Sharia law. To survive here, they’ll have to leave their Western moral sensibilities behind.
Other occupations in the Kingdom are in the fields of energy, health, construction, and domestic work, however they have a tendency to be restricted by nationality. I’ve pointed out that the male engineers at the oil companies such as for example Aramco are from america, the uk, and target=”_blank” rel=”noopener noreferrer”South Africa.
The doctors and pharmacists are predominantly Egyptian, the nurses are females from the Philippines. The laborers/construction workers are primarily from India and Pakistan, as the housekeepers hail from Africa and Indonesia.
How does one get yourself a job teaching in the event that you aren’t in Saudi Arabia? The easiest method to job-hunt here’s by networking. In the event that you don’t have any contacts, another best option is by using websites such as for example Dave’s ESL Cafe and Serious Teachers. These were very useful when I was job hunting.
Going right through a recruiter can be an option because so many institutions here appear to be leaning more towards the third-party method rather than the traditional direct-hire method. Once you’ve been offered a contract, you’ll need to go back to your homeland as a way to start the application form process that I mentioned earlier.
I have a tendency to prefer schools that are more developed instead of start-ups. If I’m not really acquainted with the universities that I’m thinking about working at, I’ll execute a Google search of teachers’ reviews of these institutions to understand their experiences and opinions. The three things that matter most if you ask me when contemplating a university offer are:
- The space of contract — I favor one-year contracts (rather than two-year) because if it isn’t doing work for me, having a committed action for greater than a year will be very painful.
- The promptness in paying salary — There were many horror stories of institutions here not paying teachers promptly or in full. THEREFORE I want to make sure that isn’t a concern at the university where I elect to work.
- The typical of accommodation — I love to see photos of the compound or hotel where I’ll be residing. I’ve been lucky to have decent housing, but other teachers haven’t been as fortunate. Some reside in decrepit spaces and also have to talk about rooms.
Why do you consider teaching is a great option for people seeking to live abroad? I really believe that teaching overseas is a wonderful way for visitors to immerse themselves in a fresh culture, plus hone their teaching and communication skills. Since there are many teaching positions around the world, this is an excellent employment opportunity for individuals who enjoy traveling and want in which to stay a particular country for many months or years. Most teaching contracts offer generous vacation/leave days through the school year and summer break, which is fantastic for teachers to indulge their wanderlust.
For someone seeking to live and work in Saudi Arabia (generally, not specific to teaching), what exactly are three bits of advice you would provide them with?
- Bring as much Saudi currency (riyals) as possible with you to tide you over until you obtain your first paycheck. Dependant on your arrival date and the employer’s policy regarding payment, an expat may need to wait two months before receiving his/her first wages.
- Expats have to recognize that contracts here aren’t as binding because they are back the West. Sometimes benefits that are initially promised don’t materialize. For instance, relocation allowances and bonuses.
- A good attitude and love of life are crucial for enjoying your experiences in Saudi Arabia.
Overall, teaching here’s a remarkably unique experience. It’s not for everybody, but in the event that you do supply the country a chance you’ll think it is an enriching, eye-opening cultural experience.
End up being the Next Success Story
Among my favorite parts relating to this job is hearing people’s travel stories. They inspire me, but moreover, they also motivate you. I travel a particular way, but there are several methods to fund your trips and travel the world. I am hoping these stories demonstrate that there is several way to visit and that it’s within your grasp to attain your travel goals. Listed below are more examples of individuals who gave up living an average life to explore the world:
- How Oneika Found Teaching Jobs Abroad
- How Jessica and Her Boyfriend Found Jobs All over the world
- How Emily Taught English to invest in Her RTW adventure
- How Airelle Found employment Focusing on a Yacht
Most of us result from different places, but most of us have one thing in keeping: most of us want to visit more.
Want MORE INFO on Teaching?
I wrote an in-depth, 186-page guide to teaching overseas. This book can help demonstrate those tricks and eliminate your stress, fear, and anxiety about finding employment. It will save weeks of online research and present you the most accurate and updated information you will need. It is compiled by teachers for teachers, featuring a large number of interviews with teachers from all over the world sharing their experiences, along with job recruiters to assist you cinch your interview and get hired. Just click here to find out more!
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