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Seeking specific advice about MidEast jobs

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Joined: 22 Jul 2011
Posts: 1

PostPosted: Fri Jul 22, 2011 1:11 pm    Post subject: Seeking specific advice about MidEast jobs Reply with quote

Hi everyone,

I'm a forum noobie, and I've been doing research on the ESL job market in the Middle East. My situation is a bit unique though, so I'm looking for some advice.

First, about my qualifications: I do not yet have an MA in ESL, nor a TEFL or CELTA. What I do have is about 3 years of ESL teaching experience with Arabs (in the West Bank as well as Arab refugees in the US), an MA in Middle Eastern Studies (with an emphasis on linguistics, including Arabic linguistics, socio-linguistics, and 2nd language acquisition), a Certificate in English Language Teaching from Amideast (only 20 hours though), advanced Arabic language skills, and about 10 years of experience traveling and living in the Arab Middle East. I have also taught university classes in the US on Middle Eastern Humanities and geography.

About me personally: I am married to a Palestinian citizen with one child. I am a (non-zealous) revert to Islam, which I realize may make me suspect to some employers (US or UK companies), but I'm mostly interested in teaching at colleges or universities (might be a benefit then?)

I am currently working on writing a doctoral dissertation (not on linguistics or anything close) - however, the academic job market is so bad in the US that I am probably destined to spend a few years at low-paying post-docs and adjunct positions. The alternative is teaching in the Middle East, working on my dissertation part-time, living close to my wife's home country but with paid flights back to mine, and hopefully saving some decent cash, no?

So, my specific questions:

I realize most MidEast jobs are competitive and require at least 2 years experience, along with an MA in ESL/Linguistics/English or a certificate. Given my 2 years experience, and an MA in a somewhat related subject - could I get a TEFL or CELTA certificate and be competitive for decent university/college jobs in the Middle East (ie, Saudi, UAE, Jordan)? There is an MA in ESL at my home state university that I could probably do for free, but already having an MA and being a PhD candidate I don't really fancy going back to do another MA. I could do a TEFL in the states, or alternatively a CELTA in Egypt (I'm currently in the ME) but I don't want to waste the money if I find out later that I'd be better off just spending the 1.5-2 years doing another MA.

The other question - those of you who might have non-US/UK spouses, are they able to get visas as well, or is that impossible? My wife is not thrilled about Gulf Arab culture, but at least it's still an Arab country close to hers, and she actually grew up in KSA, so we could probably stand it for a few years - but is it possible legally? How do you think potential employers would view it?

Apologies for the long question - and thanks in advance for your advice...

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Joined: 21 Jul 2008
Posts: 185
Location: Central Saudi Arabia

PostPosted: Mon Aug 08, 2011 11:10 pm    Post subject: reply Reply with quote

You have such a wide variety of education in many fields that many options are possible.
From what I've seen in KSA, the CELTA seems to be the primary requirement and further language education (whether Arabic or English) is desirable with greater emphasis being placed on English (linguistics, grammar, or even lit.)

I would get the CELTA as a minimum and if I could complete a graduate degree (at the lowest possible cost) that would be optimum. If you are truly committed to the PhD, then get it. Just don't expect to get a job in the U.S. with it. My experience in the U.S. showed me that graduate degrees are a dime a dozen and I had to endure some petty humiliation from an Edd during a job interview. It was made clear to me that the degree has to have NAME RECOGNITION (UCLA) before the interviewer will even be civil.

Sad Mad P.S. F^<k the Bruins!
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