TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF!
What is your citizenship?
What city and state are you from?
What is your education level and background?
Master's Degree or Higher
If you have traveled abroad in the past, where have you been?
Austria, Germany, France, Italy
What sparked your interest in going to teach English abroad?
I felt it was time to do something different. I was laid off last December, and while my career was satisfying, I didn't want to spend the next 16 years doing the same thing. I have been working in Tunis, the capital of Tunisia, and am very happy with my choice.
TEFL CLASS INFORMATION
Why did you decide to get TEFL certified and choose International TEFL Academy?
I was in Austria and needed a certification close to where I was. I have spent a lot of time in Prague and had always enjoyed the city, so it seemed like a logical choice.
Which TEFL certification course did you take?
TEACHING ABROAD IN TUNIS, TUNISIA
Which country did you decide to teach English in and why?
I decided to teach English in Tunisia because of the cost of living, salary, ruins, beaches.
How long have you been in this country and how long do you plan to stay?
Eight months and I plan on staying another year and four months
How did you secure your English teaching job?
Applied, found it with a Google search.
How did you get your work visa? If you didn't get a work visa, please elaborate on working under the table without a work visa.
My employer helped with the visa paperwork and visits to the responsible party within the government. All in all, it was not a difficult process, since their support was so good.
Tell us about your English teaching job!
I work a minimum of 30-35 hours a week, pay is around $14 an hour US. I am able to live well, travel, and save at least €300 a month minimum, more if I don't travel. My students are primarily adults, mostly business professionals: IT people, geologists, doctors, lawyers, PHD researchers, or students pursuing advanced degrees. We are on a two-week holiday now, and between sessions there is always a six to ten day break as well, which leaves ample time to explore.
How did you find somewhere to live and what is it like? Do you have roommates?
I had an easy time finding somewhere to live. I took the first place I looked at, it is a servant's quarters behind a villa. I have 800 square feet, a house with 22" thick walls but no air conditioning, and my rent is less than my air conditioning bill in Las Vegas. I am able to live alone.
COUNTRY INFORMATION - FUN!
Please explain the cultural aspects, public transportation, nightlife, social activities, food, expat community, dating scene, travel opportunities, etc. about your country:
Tunis has a theater and cinemas in Arabic and French.
Public Transportation: There is a bus system and a streetcar system, as well as a light rail line in Tunis. Intercity travel can be done with trains or with a louage, which is a shared taxi and is very inexpensive. Most expats use mostly taxis. They are very inexpensive and always available.
Nightlife: There are beach resorts with nightlife, nightclubs, discos etc in all cities, and while hard alcohol and imported wines are expensive, Tunisian wine and beer are not. Tunisians are friendly and very curious about foreigners, Americans in particular.
Expat Community: There are expat groups and one's employer is also a good source of friends. Tunisians are also easy to meet and always ready for coffee or a meal.
Food: Tunisian food is an acquired taste, and restaurants in my experience are not particularly good. There are some very nice Italian restaurants. If you must have Thai, or Chinese, or Indian, here is not the place for you. I cook myself most of the time, and the food quality is exquisite. There is very little imported and when one goes to the open air market one has to buy what is available, but it is very cheap, natural, and delicious. Spices here, like saffron, are also cheap.
Dating scene: Some people date, some people do not. That is a personal choice. My personal experience is that they do not like people to be single and childless, other people at my school have reported this issue as well.
Travel Opportunities: Within Tunisia is a lot to see, from Roman ruins to desert, to beaches, to mountains. If one speaks French one can go anywhere with ease. A few words of Arabic are appreciated and go a long ways.
COUNTRY INFORMATION - MONEY
What are your monthly expenses?
Utilities: 4x per year $40
Food: $40/week, but I eat like a king and entertain on that as well.
Espresso in a cafe is less than a dollar, a movie is two dollars.
Public Transportation: Taxis are my biggest expense, I spend $3 a day going back and forth to school.
Phone/Communication: My cellphone costs me between $10-$15 a month, depending on talk time, and I spend $20/ month for a SIM card for unlimited Internet.
How would you describe your standard of living?
In your opinion, how much does someone need to earn in order to live comfortably?
Someone could live comfortably on $800 a month here, less than half of what I make
ADVICE FOR PROSPECTIVE TEACHERS IN TUNIS, TUNISIA
What advice would you give someone planning or considering teaching abroad? Would you recommend teaching in your country?
I would wholeheartedly recommend teaching here to open-minded, thick-skinned people who do not feel the need to be a missionary. I am learning to be flexible and can handle anything that comes my way. I taught in the States for 15 years, and I will say that nothing in my college experience prepared me for the classroom management challenges that I have faced. I feel confident now that I can deal with anyone.