New member starting contract with AETG at PNU mid-September

Hi everyone,

It's great to find a site with a load of really useful information, ideas and comments on - thank you to whomever created the site, it's very informative.

I have been offered a contract with AETG at PNU and am currently going through the visa and medical process here in the UK. I hope to be in Riyadh by the end of September at the latest. I have of course read all the bad reviews about AETG, on here and other sites, but I feel I want to try it out and see how it goes. I am of course attracted by the salary, but I also want to try living somewhere very different and have always wanted to visit Saudi Arabia. This is probably a naive view, especially being female, what can I say?!

I would love to hear from anyone who is teaching English at PNU now for AETG or any other company. It would just be great to ask some questions about the university, teaching, resources etc. I don't know exactly which compound I will be living in yet - but it would be fantastic to get to know some people either on arrival or before. This will be my first full year of teaching as I only completed my CELTA in March - so should be a full on year everything considered and it would be amazing to think I could make some good friends.

A bit about me? I'm 29, I come from Suffolk in the UK but have lived in London for the past 6 years, I love reading, watching sports (I try to play them, but I'm not very good!) and I am a big lover of film and pretty much all music.

Anyway would be great to hear from people - hope you're all well.

Ellie x

Hello Ellie.

Welcome to Expat.com! :)

I hope you'll soon be guided by other members.

Thank you,
Aurélie

Many thanks Aurélie

Hey Ellie: 

Greetings :-)  I've been offered a post there & wanted to see how it was going for you.  Drop me a line when you get a moment....

Best,

T

Hi Ellie

How was/is your ixperience at AETG?

Hi anyone out there please fill me in on AETG as an employer as I've been offered a position starting up this year .

So afr I don't know where Ill be teaching and have yet to receive a contract but they are sending my iquama ?

grateful for any info as 90% of the forums covering this gp have been well scathing of admin etc

regards

Here's everything that's been said so far.

Best of luck!

Well I'v decided to go for it. Contract has been signed and my visa should be ready in a few weeks. :)

salamasina wrote:

Hi anyone out there please fill me in on AETG as an employer as I've been offered a position starting up this year .

So afr I don't know where Ill be teaching and have yet to receive a contract but they are sending my iquama ?

They're not likely to send you an iqama/residence permit.  In order to legally work and live in the Kingdom, you need to enter the country on an employment visa  (not a business or work visit visa), which is required for the iqama.  An employment visa entails getting a battery of lab tests, a medical exam, authentication of your relevant education, and a criminal background check, usually in your home country.  It's a time-consuming and potentially expensive process.  Anyway, once you enter KSA with your employment visa, you have 90 days to apply for the iqama. 

Of course, none of this will matter if the company is getting you a business or work visit visa instead.

salamasina wrote:

grateful for any info as 90% of the forums covering this gp have been well scathing of admin etc

Unfortunately, you'll be hard pressed to find 10% of glowing comments about AETG anywhere on the Internet.  And if you expect to make your decision based on a few positive comments, then...

I heard an American bloke turned up, took one look at his accommodation and left.  Having had someone show me their place in the same building over his webcam I'm insulted.  I've lived under similar conditions in my own country for a decade.  Obviously the male and female accommodation is going to be different, and there are a lot of projects you can get sent on (does everyone think the majority of their jobs are at their private school doing split shifts?)

As anyone who has been on the net for a long time knows very well, people come on forums to complain, not generally to say good things, or even when things go passable.  The management at AETG was shaken up, there are some people who don't like the management, and others who get on with them.  At this point all I see is laying fault on the companies side, not on the tutors.  Are we going to defend those who can't take the environment, have meltdowns, talk politics/religion in public, weren't education pathway educated, can't handle a classroom, like to argue and not question?

Beakersful wrote:

As anyone who has been on the net for a long time knows very well, people come on forums to complain, not generally to say good things, or even when things go passable.  The management at AETG was shaken up, there are some people who don't like the management, and others who get on with them.  At this point all I see is laying fault on the companies side, not on the tutors.  Are we going to defend those who can't take the environment, have meltdowns, talk politics/religion in public, weren't education pathway educated, can't handle a classroom, like to argue and not question?

Yes, when it comes to TEFL, forums tend to be sounding boards for those who want to negatively sound off and not as much a platform for praises and recommendations. And yes, there are teachers who accept positions with these companies without doing their research on the employer and/or Saudi culture.  I personally know a teacher who (foolishly) took a position in Riyadh with EdEx without ever being interviewed; the money seemed so tempting and was all she focused on.  She's now quite bitter about her decision and feels stuck.  I'm also sure she's added her negative posts to the many others on Dave's ESL Cafe.

Those seeking info need to consider the message and not just  that someone has complained.  For example, posts whining about the pool or gym not being open at the housing are trivial compared to complaints about late or reduced pay.  Similarly, venting about the Kingdom's conservative culture and/or cultural ambiguity is one thing.  Yet venting about one's contract being changed at the whim of the employer is a valid complaint.  My point is, many of those complaints aren't just noise and should be considered for what they offer information seekers who want to make a critical decision about whether to accept a position with XYZ company.  Frankly, if job applicants are seeing complaint after complaint about certain employers but very few about other companies, that in itself is rather telling.  And waiting and hoping for an inkling of positive feedback is just that: waiting and wasting valuable time instead of moving on.

It does show the importance of networking doesn't it.  Perhaps the worry with public forums is that people are recognisable, in incidents they post, or writing style, and that employers may scour such and blacklist tutors.  I've seen many company sponsored 'blogs' written by tutors no doubt as part of employment, perhaps quite misleading.

To have a colleague in a particular business telling you things are turned round and, for the region the work is in, the job itself is 'acceptable' or even 'comfortable' at minimum is crucial.  Actual work aside, a roof over your head, wages paid on time, ommission of unnecessary mismanagement, and smooth visa processes are perhaps the most important items we are looking for.

Interesting also that DaveESLCafe requires membership to post and your application is 'vetted' by Dave himself, yet the forum is fully open to read.....

Beakersful wrote:

Interesting also that DaveESLCafe requires membership to post and your application is 'vetted' by Dave himself, yet the forum is fully open to read.....

There's no problem being accepted there.  I'm registered and have answered questions as well as asked them on occasion. 

Let's face it, you had to register *here*, too ... and many people are banned quite quickly for bad behavior since this forum is monitored :)

Something you may not be aware of is that Dave's was blocked here in KSA for a year or two.  It was only UN-blocked about a year ago.   Maybe he's keeping a close watch to be sure it doesn't happen again.

Hi all and smurfette ,

Thx for the info on the iqama and visa entering KSA . I hope you dont mind me asking but do you know anyone who is happy at AETG ?

Also more to the point will I "survive" in KSA ...with the split shifts and poor accomodation . If I'm there for a year ...do you know anyone who has toughed it out ?. Furthermore my deduction from all the negative postings is that the primary "evil" happens to be foreigners like the irish lad Jim in management . If this be the case then I will look else where cos if foreigners are unable to help foreigners what chance do you have in a muslim nation which looks at us as "aliens" well any way ?

A generalisation by the way . But thx for the info . Is anyone posting threads still with AETG cos if you are it would be nice to catch up should I land in the magic kingdom and chew the fat .

salamasina wrote:

Hi all and smurfette ,

Thx for the info on the iqama and visa entering KSA . I hope you dont mind me asking but do you know anyone who is happy at AETG ?

Also more to the point will I "survive" in KSA ...with the split shifts and poor accomodation . If I'm there for a year ...do you know anyone who has toughed it out ?. Furthermore my deduction from all the negative postings is that the primary "evil" happens to be foreigners like the irish lad Jim in management . If this be the case then I will look else where cos if foreigners are unable to help foreigners what chance do you have in a muslim nation which looks at us as "aliens" well any way ?

A generalisation by the way . But thx for the info . Is anyone posting threads still with AETG cos if you are it would be nice to catch up should I land in the magic kingdom and chew the fat .

Shouldn't matter who the evil is from---whether Saudi national or expat---but rather, what that evil is and how it will impact you. Anyway, it's unfortunate you're still soliciting "happy" responses from AETG teachers (and hopefully, someday, who you'll "chew the fat" with)---as if one positive comment will dissolve all the negative ones.  You are still focused on the money and can't see the reality of what it's like to work for contracting companies like AETG, EdEx, and the like.  Frankly, you should be asking yourself how much your dignity and sanity are worth.  If not much, then it's apparent you'll accept their offer.  Good luck with that.

Hi Smurfette ,

A refreshing response and thx . Yes my sanity and dignity I do want to keep albeit for a buck or two . My delving into the remotest possibilty that there may be someone out there who has had a merry experience with these contractors was probably a little naieve .

Any way cheers for the honest reply ...pity they don't have the likes of yourself running the show in those places .

Good luck mate

Hi All!!!!!
I'm just packing my bags and am ready to take that leap of faith into the unknown in exactly 14 days and counting!!!!!!!!

Encouragement please!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Hi Inderpal,

I am just waiting on my visa papers which are ready and on their way to me. So hopefully I will be joining you soon. I have also been talking to one other person on this blog who is also waiting on their papers.

@Jaysenli, are you not having to go down to London for medical and paperwork?

Well they have said my visa papers are ready for me to process and they will send them over to me immediately. Im guessing I will need to do the medical exam etc when I receive them.

NOTICE TO ALL IN-COMING TEACHERS

Welcome to Saudi Arabia.

ADVICE:
Ensure that you have had experience and/or Prof Dev. in classroom management. This is crucial to have if you are coming to successfully teach in Saudi.

If you have taught in UK/American high schools you will have classroom management skills and will be able to apply these same skills in the classroom at PNU or any other university in KSA.

Once you get into the capital, grab a taxi and ask him to take you to the Diplomatic Quarter. You must take your passport to enter. The guards will stop the taxi, look at your pp., and ask you what your reason to enter is. Just say 'embassy'.
Inside, ask the driver to take you to your embassy (UK in on far right side). Go there and make enquires to social events.

Inside the Dip Quarters you can:
*Ride horses (when you enter Dip Q it is behind UK embassy, on the right side of first round about)
*Enroll into the FABULOUS Gym. It is beautiful and highly recommended. The beauty salon is sandwiched next to gym and they offer incredible massages - but they are expensive. There is a swimming pool and tennis courts too. Salon: It is on the left of the second or third roundabout...next to Brazilian embassy.
*There are some fantastic walks, especially down where the horses are.

THE DIP QUARTERS IS A LIFE SAVER FOR MANY EXPATS AND YOU DON'T HAVE TO WEAR YOUR ABAYA.


Good luck....any of you ladies needing advice for ANYTHING, please drop me an email and I will assist you.

You can register with your embassy by email--you certainly don't have to run over to your embassy first thing (I'm sure you'll have a lot of settling in to do first!) but it's definitely a good idea to register not only for social events but to let them know your location in case of emergencies.

The DQ is okay but I haven't quite found it to be the haven Suzan describes.  Brace yourself to pay big bucks for all the amenities (but to step out of the day-to-day drudgery, it's oftentimes worth it).

Good luck.

Thanks for the advice guys :)

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