The ancient pyramids, the Valley of the Dead, the Valley of the Kings, and the Nile River – I could go on and on. Who wouldn't want to come to Egypt? It has all of the amazing sights made famous by that desert-based adventure films. It isn’t a question that Egypt is on any traveler’s "must see before I die" list. However, there are those who may want to experience Egypt from a more local and native point of view and some might wonder if they can make a living in Egypt. The best option for that person is to teach, as the demand for teachers in Egypt is very high and there are a myriad of jobs.Photo credit: zolakoma.
In Cairo, there is a large demand for English and French language teachers at every level of the educational system. Foreign teachers usually work for one of two types of institutions:
Private Language Academies/National Institutions:
These schools follow the national Egyptian curriculum. They function like private schools, but offer slightly lower tuition rates than the international schools. Although these schools hire foreign teachers, the salary is usually quite low. An example of this type of school is Al Hoda Language School.
Private international schools are typically categorized as English, French or German schools. The English schools are divided into two further categories of American or British schools. Though there are many language schools in Cairo, the private international schools will offer the highest salaries. Examples of these schools are The British School of Cairo and The American International School of Egypt.
When and Where to Look for Jobs:
The best way to look for a job is to come to Cairo and approach each school directly. In addition, ESL training centers are reliable sources for teaching job leads.
The best time to find employment as a teacher in Egypt is from May-August. However, you can find available teaching positions year round.
If you plan to teach in Cairo, the minimum requirement is that you are a native speaker of the language you teach. You can make a decent living with native speaker qualifications. If you are looking to take a managerial position, at a language school for example, teachers must hold a degree of higher education and have some experience teaching in universities.
Salary & Cost of Living:
- Monthly Average Salary: $800 USD
- Average Hourly Rate for Private Lessons: $30-$40 USD per hour
- Housing: Directly approach landlords of visibly unoccupied apartments or find a local realtor
- Popular Neighborhoods: Rehab City, First Settlement, Fifth Settlement, Nasr City, Dokki, Zamalek, and Maadi
Many foreigners and English-speaking Egyptians live in the neighborhoods listed above, making it easier for foreign teachers to get around. The downside to living in these areas is that the cost of living is much higher than other areas of Cairo. If you have some knowledge of Arabic, you would save hundreds of dollars living outside of these areas, which are geared towards foreigners. Either way Cairo is a relatively safe city regardless of the area you decide to live in.
The average cost of living in Cairo is $700-$1000 per month. This is relatively cheap compared to most major cities. If you wish to save money, it is best to shop like an Egyptian. Go to local open markets, such as Souq Atabah and Souq Khalil, and use public transportation. Try not to dine out too often. One of the biggest mistakes of foreigners new to Cairo is that they make the majority of their purchases in establishments that are geared toward foreigners where prices are extremely high. Another huge mistake is that they constantly compare the prices of items into their native currency which in the mind of the buyer lessens the value of the product. Often the buyer ends up spending more money this way.
Classroom & Work Culture:
Although Cairo is a fairly modern city and tolerant city, it is a predominately Muslim country. Be culturally aware and respectful of the norms of the city. All foreigners should dress modestly and be careful of the relationships formed between men and women.