Teaching in Egypt is almost like being on vacation!
So you're looking to take time away from teaching, your chosen career path, and add in some travel and adventure. You want to experience a little bit of the world, broaden the horizons before finally settling down. That's a good move and a road which thousands of your compatriots have already travelled down. But where to go is the question, especially since you're not looking to make a huge wad of money. The truth is you won't.
The Middle East is favourite among many newly qualified teachers, perhaps because the culture, religion and daily life is so different compared to that in the West. If you're going to teach abroad, why would you want to substitute American students for those from Europe, for example? The language may be different in Germany, France or Italy but the culture is essentially the same. Generally speaking, so too are the values.
Egypt is a popular destination for many teachers and has been for years now. So who wouldn't want to teach there? Let's face it, beautiful weather, pyramids, long-dead pharaohs, the romantic River Nile, 6,000 years of civilisation, Cairo, Alexandria, Sharm el-Sheikh – the list goes on and on. It's a vacation destination like no other. But, of course, you're not on vacation. You're working, teaching. Pull the other one!
If you've been living on the moon for the last couple of years, maybe, just maybe, you might not have heard much about the difficulties the country is going through right at this moment. If not then you'll have been bombarded by the media coverage of events since the toppling of the Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak in 2011, a consequence of the Arab Spring which swept through the region.
Last year, the dictator was sentenced to life imprisonment for complicity in the murder of protesters during the 2011 uprising, and also for corruption. But earlier this year, he was granted a retrial on technical grounds. But the new trial collapsed unexpectedly when the judge resigned from the case, citing recuse – possible conflict of interest or lack of impartiality – as the reason. Only time will tell what the eventual outcome of this long, interesting, drawn-out saga will be.
None of the political machinations should affect you as a teacher in any way. One thing you'll quickly notice is that the whole country is not in continual uproar, despite the impression given by the blanket coverage of events in the media. It's very much business as usual for most Egyptians who are daily struggling to cope in some rather difficult economic times.
Another thing you'll notice pretty quickly is how friendly the Egyptian people are and how widely English is spoken, especially within the business community. That's good for you from a teaching point of view. The huge appetite to learn English amongst Egyptians means lots of opportunities are available both in terms of private language schools and for freelance work.
Unless you're in the fortunate position of being sponsored, and therefore have a job to begin immediately on arrival in the country, start networking. Talk to anyone and everyone, and before you know it, fingers crossed, a teaching job will surely come your way.
For more on teaching in Egypt, click here.