So, the first post wasn’t that auspicious. Sorry, but Shark Week was calling. Well, one of the less inane shows, anyway.
In less than a month I’ll be in Cairo. In fact, one month from now will have been my first day in CELTA! Whoa whoa whoa! Time flies! Sorta.
But what is CELTA, you ask? What is this blog for? What is going on? Why! What! How! Where! When! Wishbones!
Realizing that in order to learn to speak/write/read (but mostly speak) Arabic fluently I need to get myself immersed, I decided the place I wanted to be, no, needed to be, was Cairo, Egypt. For many reasons.
Reasons Why Catherine Should Go to Cairo Instead of Any Other Middle Eastern/North African Place
1. Cairo is the heart and soul of the Middle East, with the largest population in the Middle East.
2. The Egyptian dialect of Arabic is more widely understood than any other, so even though I want to learn fusha (Modern Standard Arabic), I will need to learn amiyya (colloquial), and Egyptian is the way to go.
3. Cairo has a large expat community with a strong support network.
4. For reasons above, there are a LOT of organizations in Cairo and a lot of connections and opportunities.
5. Cairo is one of the most interesting cities (and Egypt one of the most interesting countries) in the world right now as it tries to reform itself after the January 25 revolution.
6. Because of the revolution and continuing unrest, a number of people had to leave Cairo. Hopefully, I can take advantage of that.
7. I have a lot of connections to people in Egypt and know I won’t be alone.
8. I was there for the beginning of the revolution. I had set my heart on being in Cairo for months, but got 12 days instead. I need to return. I need to see these pyramids people keep talking about!
9. Since I have experience with Egypt and worked with an organization that works in Egypt, I feel comfortable picking up and moving there.
But how to get to Cairo? Well, the quickest way was to do what so many people around the world do…teach English! I knew you could go and teach English with zero qualifications. You get sketchy positions and worse pay, however.
So I am taking part in the CELTA course at the British Council in Agouza (a neighborhood in Cairo). CELTA is a certificate in teaching English to speakers of other languages. I’ll be throwing under terms like TESOL and TEFL probably, know that means teaching English to people who don’t speak it. Anyway, CELTA was created and is maintained by Cambridge University in England. The British Council in Cairo is the hosting institution for it in Egypt (but you can take it around the world). It is the most widely recognized and respected TEFL certificate in the world, which translates to a competitive advantage in terms of getting jobs.
My program starts September 16 and lasts through October 11. It is 5 days a week, 9-5:30, and is CRAZY, crazy, crazy intensive! It is a lot of information shoved into your head in a short amount of time. In other words, I will be dreaming in grammar lessons for 4 weeks, probably.
At the end of the program, I will hunt for a job! The timing of the program is a little awkward, since the school year in Cairo starts in September. Which means I will either have to look for other situations (teaching to adults, tutoring, etc) until January or hope for a random opening in some school. But I’m not too worried; I will make it work.
I think this is enough from me now – I leave September 11, and I will post here a few more times before I go!
Oh, and did I mention my parents (and I by proxy) are moving to Massachusetts in two weeks and we are driving across the country with our 3 pets and a moving truck and doing it in only 4 days? Now you know!