Finding a Job in the Middle East
April 17, 2011 10:05 AM   Subscribe

overseasjobfilter: I'm about to be a newly minted BA with a foundational understanding of formal arabic. I want to find a job in an Arabic-speaking country. Thoughts and ideas?

My BA is in Political Science and Economics (I studied mostly international/ development economics rather than econometrics), and I studied 6 semesters of fusha and one semester of Levantine. My goal is to find a way to live in an Arabic-speaking country for one to two years for the purpose of building fluency in the language. If the job happens to be pertinent to my degree, all the better, but it's not essential.

I've already looked into TEFL programs as well as government jobs, but I feel like there are some possibilities I'm not thinking of.

Also, if anyone has experience in TEFL in the Middle East, that would be helpful.
posted by cirgue to Work & Money (5 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Have you looked into the Foreign Service?
posted by Gringos Without Borders at 1:03 PM on April 17, 2011

Check out and look for jobs in places you want to go. If you look at those colleges, see what jobs and fellowships they have available. Working at a university is demanding but also a good way of learning a second language with good colleagues.
posted by parmanparman at 1:30 PM on April 17, 2011

I asked a friend who taught over there this is what he said:

If one wants to teach ESOL or a subject, I recommend Dave's cafe website, it deals with teaching all over the world, it is important to not only see the jobs available, but read the forums, see what good or bad things happened to teachers. I applied through Sabis, they operate schools throughout the Middle East, the Headmaster of the school in Homs,Syria contacted me directly. I liked Sabis, because the rent, utilities and such were paid by the school, not me. One does have to be careful, if the passport shows a trip to Isreal, an Arab country will probably not allow admission, and vice versa. I really wanted to see some of the Holy sights in Jerusalem, but decided against it, because if I get better, and return to Syria, I cannot have any stamp showing I stopped in israel.
If a person wants to teach English in Damascus at the ALC, American Learning Center, they should apply in person, it is still very cheap to live there, and it is the start of Western Civilization, at least to me.
posted by mareli at 1:50 PM on April 17, 2011

Israel does not care if you have a stamp from an Arab country in your passport, although you should be prepared to explain the purpose of your visit and go through the wringer, security-wise. If you check out, you'll be fine. I had spent one year in Abu Dhabi teaching ESL just before I went to Jerusalem for a summer program. I was in Ben Gurion for an extra two hours because of my UAE/Omani tourist stamps, but never bothered again after that. The Israelis are conscious of what a stigma an Israeli stamp in your passport can be, so they're happy to give you a visa stamp on a separate sheet of paper that you keep in your passport so as not to taint it forever.

Back to ESL: As mentioned above, I did ESL in Abu Dhabi for one year. Lots to tell, not much of it good. Lifestyle was fine, but the actual working environment was ridiculous: at a public high school with classes of 30 teenaged boys between 15 and 20(!) years old, all but two of them with the kind of academic motivation that this article would suggest, shockingly run-down and inadequate facilities at the school, etc. Feel free to memail me if you have specific questions.
posted by holterbarbour at 4:10 PM on April 17, 2011

The Central Intelligence Agency is hiring.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 5:20 PM on April 17, 2011

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