More than 40, 000 foreigners live and work in Egypt. It is possible to find work with one of the many foreign companies, especially if you begin your research before you leave home. Cairo: A Practical Guide, edited by Claire E Francy and published by the American University in Cairo Press (E£60), has lots of information about working in Cairo. Once you have an employer, securing a work permit through an Egyptian consulate or from the Ministry of the Interior (if you are in Egypt) should not be difficult.
The most easily available work for native or fluent English-speakers is teaching the language to the locals. The best places to do this are reputable schools such as the ILI in Cairo. However, all of these places require qualifications and the minimum requirement is a Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults (Celta). The ILI runs several one-month intensive Celta courses each year and sometimes employs course graduates.
If you have no qualifications or experience, you could try one of the ‘cowboy schools’ such as central Cairo’s International Living Language Institute (ILLI; 34 Talaat Harb, Cairo), which is on the top floor above El-Abd bakery. These are fly-by-night places (that said, the ILLI has been around for nearly 20 years) that take on unqualified staff and work them hard for little financial return. But they do pay enough to allow you to stay on and maybe earn enough to take the Celta and gravitate to better-paid employment.
If you are a dive master or diving instructor you can find work in Egypt’s diving resorts fairly easily. As many divers fund their travels through such work the turnover is high and you’re likely to find an opening if you can hang around for a couple of weeks. Owners say that apart from the basic diving qualifications, they look for languages and an ability to get along with people. If you’re interested in a job, a dive centre will usually take you along on a few dive trips to assess your diving skills and to see how you interact with others before offering you work.
It is sometimes possible to find other types of work in resort towns. Sharm el-Sheikh and Dahab in particular have a relatively large number of travellers who find short-term work as bartenders or workers in the many hotels and dive centres dotted along the beach. There are also a few enterprising travellers who’ve financed their stay by setting up shop as masseurs, acupuncturists and herbalists.
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