Where we work / Tunisia
Tunisia, a cultural and historic gem of North Africa, abounds in natural beauty
Known for its historical attractions including the ancient Roman ruins in the city of Carthage, this coastal country also boasts white-sand beaches and crystal-clear waters. Stand on the highest peak in Tunisia, the smallest country in North Africa, and you can view the panoramic beauty of the Mediterranean Sea to the north. To the south, you’ll see the vast expanses of the Sahara Desert (and as the crow flies, Italy is close by, just across the sea).
In this country of contrasts, farmers use the simplest agricultural techniques to grow fruits, vegetables, and grains — yet technologies such as cell phones, the Internet, and social media are changing the way Tunisians interact with and view the world. Tunisians tend to be less conservative in modesty standards and alcohol consumption than other people of Muslim faith but maintain a strong Islamic identity.
Family is central to Tunisian culture and social life, and meals are considered a special time to gather and reflect together. Tunisian cuisine can be described as a delicious fusion of Mediterranean and Amazigh (sometimes referred to as “Berber”) flavors. Well-spiced, roasted vegetables, lamb, seafood, couscous, and tajine (similar to a deep dish frittata with eggs, meat, and vegetables) are frequently on the menu. Dishes often include a side of harissa, a popular red chili paste.
More and more, Tunisia’s large young adult population (60% of the population is under the age of 30) is passionate about exploring life outside of the country’s borders and worldview. At the same time, students from all over the continent of Africa are coming to study in Tunisia, giving our teachers opportunities in the classroom to interact with future leaders, not only in the country, but also the entire North African region. Consider your place in being an answer to a generation’s questions about what brings meaning to life and developing the leaders of tomorrow in a beautiful, unique part of the world.
How many hours per week will I work?
Teachers can expect to work around twelve hours per week, including approximately three to six hours weekly preparing their lessons. This also includes time for administrative duties, language study, and other opportunities.
What is the working relationship like with other faculty and teachers?
Our teachers enjoy the opportunity to interact with our local partners, and often develop positive relationships from this engagement. These partners provide our faculty with office space, including a whiteboard, desks, and chairs, and they also help us recruit students. Teachers also meet weekly as part of a team comprised mostly of Tunisian teachers. Often there are additional opportunities outside of school to get together for fun and friendship.
What is the student demographic?
Teachers in Tunisia primarily teach university students. University life offers a lot of interaction with students and fellow teachers, as well as opportunities to help with various clubs. Students love to get to know our teachers, and are very motivated to learn English, practice communication, and build friendships.
What will my first week look like? How will you help me get my life overseas started?
Teachers spend their first week attending a combination of country and city orientations that involve checking out key sites and going out on language and cultural outings in town with students and teammates. They also get settled into their new homes/apartments.
What does ongoing professional/personal development look like?
Most professional development occurs through a teacher’s team or other expats in the area. There are also opportunities company-wide for book clubs or seminars through an internal online resource we offer.
Teachers determine their own method of professional development. Some examples include pursuing certifications online or through a local university. Teachers work with their team leader to develop a plan for ongoing professional development that fits their specific context. First-year teachers complete their observations and Wheaton College TESL certification while teaching at a language club or university. University teachers collaborate to work with various curricula and observe one another, at times working with local colleagues to co-teach courses.
What is it like to raise a family overseas?
There are a number of expat families with kids that are connected to our teams. Tunisians are very family-centered, so you’ll see families out together often, and plentiful parks for children to play in.
What are some things I might do to contribute to my team if my spouse is teaching, but I’m not?
Non-teaching spouses have opportunities to learn the local language, volunteer in conversation clubs, and help in our many administrative roles. They are such an asset to the team, often meeting with students outside of class and helping with the time-consuming aspects of shopping and living life in Tunisia.
What kind of housing will I have? How far away are housing options from the school and other teammates?
The Tunisia team will assist new teachers in finding housing. Some places come furnished, while others are either partially furnished or unfurnished. For unfurnished apartments, teachers buy amenities such as a refrigerator, oven, couches, washing machine, and beds. In other cases, furnishings can be negotiated. Housing is fairly inexpensive and often quite large, so several singles of the same gender often share one home.
What are some surprising things I might learn after the first 60 days?
Teachers will learn some basic Arabic and French phrases that help them in their daily lives, and may be surprised by how many people remember them after a first meeting. They will experience a unique way of life both in and out of the classroom with the highly-expressive Tunisian people.
What is the team structure like? How often are formal meetings, and what do they entail?
Community and team is extremely important and valued, particularly in this location. Teams meet a minimum of once per week. Teaching teams see one another frequently as they interact on campus and prepare for classes.
Informally, teachers often meet to simply grab a meal together, or hang out over coffee or a meal with local Tunisian friends. We also value gathering together to celebrate birthdays, fun times, and other special occasions several times a month.