Despite predominantly negative press around Egypt following the Arab Spring, there’s little hostility towards the use of English as a second language, and so opportunities for TEFL teachers continue to be good. In fact, some TEFL operations have even expanded in recent years to cover a wider area, which is certainly a positive move. Aside from that, there are also many international schools on the lookout for experienced and highly qualified TEFL teachers to join their team.
Ample opportunities for work are one reason to move to Egypt, but there are plenty of other reasons too – warm weather (average temperatures of 20°C to 34°C in the summer, and rarely dropping below 15°C in the winter), amazing cultural history, and delectable cuisine, to name a few. If you like checking out local wildlife, in the Red Sea you can see moray eels, sea turtles and even pufferfish on your adventures. The locals are friendly and many an expat has a story of how strangers have rushed to their aid when they’ve lost their rail tickets or need help translating something. Also, Egyptians aren’t the sort of people to sneer at your meagre attempts to speak their language – any effort you make to speak Arabic will be warmly met and encouraged. However, the country has its challenges too. In Cairo, more than half of the population live in slums, and across the country around 10 million children don’t have access to basic daily necessities such as clean water and education. Read on to see if Egypt could be a top choice for your next TEFL teaching job!
- Popular locations for TEFL jobs: Cairo, Maadi, Heliopolis, Xamalek and Alexandria
- Average salary for EFL teachers: The basic monthly salary for full-time positions is likely to be in the region of 450,000 – 11,000 Egyptian Pounds (£200 – £500 / $290 – $700) per month. Hourly rates are around 200 EGY (£9 / $13) per hour.
- TEFL qualification requirements: A 120-hour TEFL qualification will be required for most positions
- Prerequisite university degree: Required for most roles
- Term times: The school year starts in September
- Currency: Egyptian Pound (EGP)
- Language: Arabic
- Teaching programmes: Business English, University, Private Language Schools, Freelance Tutoring, International Schools
- Age restrictions: Under 60
- Previous teaching experience: Not necessary for all jobs but will be required for better positions
For Egyptians wanting to learn English, there are a few key industries where you’ll see a large number of students. One is the tourism industry, where students who are at a specialised training centres might have in-house lessons in English (or seek them as part-time tuition). Another sector is students in computer training schools, and of course general English and Business English classes are a popular choice. The education sector in Egypt is undergoing reform, which is seeing teachers retraining to bring their skills up to standard. As such, there are sometimes opportunities to teach other teachers who want to be able to use English in the classroom. However, at this time there are still very few opportunities to teach English in public schools in Egypt, where lessons are conducted in Arabic. You’ll find more opportunities in private language institutions and in international schools.
For both adult and young learner students, Egyptians can make for difficult customers. For one thing, Egyptians tend to be headstrong and don’t like being told what to do. Another problem is that if your students are lacking motivation, it can be quite hard to get them to do anything. As such, when seeking out private students in particular, try to gage whether the student has a genuine interest and desire to learn English (such as the motivation of passing an exam, or learning English for their job) as teaching this sort of student will be hard easier than the trudging through mud sort of lessons you can have with those who don’t want to be there. On the plus side, Egyptian students can also be lively, opinionated and a lot of fun. Larger groups can be difficult to keep under control, and if you have a class of mixed nationalities, make sure the Egyptians aren’t hogging the limelight.
Requirements for teaching English in Egypt
|Country||Avg. monthly salary||Degree required||Start of term||Teaching experience||Housing & flights included||Suitable for non-native English speakers||Age restrictions|
|Egypt||£400 - £700
($500 - $900)
According the Expatistan, Egypt is the cheapest country in Africa and the cost of living there is cheaper than in 95% of countries in the world. However, prices are on the rise, so if you want to enjoy a luxurious lifestyle in Egypt then you should be looking at the top-paying jobs. Even then, wages aren’t extravagant. When it comes to finding things to do in your free time, you’ll be spoilt for choice in Egypt, which has a fascinating ancient history and so many cultural sites and relics to explore. The weather is great too, although many foreigners can be put off by the intense summer heat, averaging 20°C to 34°C in the hottest part of the year.
Although a predominantly Islamic nation, expats don’t often feel stifled by life in Egypt as long as the local customs are upheld. Don’t drink alcohol anywhere other than a licensed restaurant or bar as this is illegal. Also, homosexuality isn’t illegal but there is little public acceptance of it, and acts such as flying a rainbow flag can get you arrested. Check out the foreign travel advice for more information.
- Accommodation: £197 – £374 / $269 – $510
- Utilities: £23 / $31
- Health insurance: Cost of typical visit to a GP: £12 / $17
- Monthly transport pass: £10 / $14
- Basic dinner out for two: £15 / $21
- Cappuccino in expat area: £1.53 / $2.09
- A beer in a pub: £ 1.51/ $2.05
- 1 litre of milk: £ 0.71/ $0.97
- 2 litres of Coca-Cola: £0.67 / $0.91
(living costs sourced from Expatistan)