Tamara Thorpe,
from New Zealand,
teaching in El Gouna, Egypt.

Which School did you previously teach at and in which town/country was it?

Welbourn Primary School, New Plymouth, New Zealand

What gave you the idea to teach internationally?

My parents have lived overseas, mainly in Middle East and I was always interested in working internationally, not to mention that the tax free option was extremely appealing!

How difficult was it for you to find a job and what route did you take?

Fortunately my brother and his wife were the Head Teachers of Sharm British School in Sharm el Sheikh for 5 years.  They needed someone for a maternity position and knew my qualifications and asked if I would interview.  So I did and was offered the position.

Did you move abroad alone or with a partner/family and how did this impact your move?

I moved alone, however knowing I had family at the other end it wasn’t so daunting.

How was your first year at your new school?

I spent 7 months in SSH and then found a position in El Gouna, Red Sea where I am currently.  The first year was very exciting, different and I enjoyed myself.  This is now my 3rd year of teaching in Egypt and to be honest it isn’t always easy. Culture, religion, normality and daily life are all so different and at times absurd!

What age group and subject do you teach in Egypt?

I teach Key Stage One-Year Two but in SSH I had Foundation Two and started in my current position in Year One.

What kind of curriculum do you follow and is this any different in the way you taught before – if so, how have you coped with this change?

We teach the British Curriculum-although with a lack of resources it is a ‘version’ of the UK Curriculum.  I have only taught the NZ Curriculum before working in Egypt and find it much easier and clearer to follow.  But I do enjoy the UK Curriculum, I guess like many things you get used to it!

What are the children and staff like at El Gouna?

The children are reasonably well behaved and there is a great mix of nationalities here. Due to the revolution and changes occurring here I have seen more Egyptian children enter our international section of the school.  The staff are also from all over, the majority being British.  I am the only Southern Hemisphere teacher on staff.

What has the experience been like for you socially – have you made friends out of school and if so how, did you join any groups or social activities, what are your favourite things socially about this experience?

I have generally made friends with and through work colleagues.  Socially there are lots of people from different countries which is always interesting.  I met my fiance here-he is from Barcelona and lives and owns a company here so that is a great aspect!

What advice would you give to people in the same situation as yourself who are considering teaching internationally?

Think very carefully, look into the region, school and if possible visit before accepting the job offer.  It might look great on the website but you never know!  Read as much as you can about the country-Lonely Planet and Google are great. Make sure you know exactly what you are getting into!

Is there anything TIC could have done during your recruitment process, or since that would help you with your future career path?

I found TIC very helpful at the time I used them. I will continue to use them for future job searching.

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