International Institute for Languages

Has anyone here been hired by the International Institute for Languages in Saudi Arabia? They offered me a job teaching English in a medical school in Riyadh. Is that common?

Is what common?

smurfette :

Is what common?

For that organization to offer people jobs in medical schools, universities, etc.

In Saudi Arabia, when a company does not hire you direct, a sponsor (middleman) does all the other work, finding you accommodation and administering your salary.  They also keep your passport.  With this system, problems can arise, late salaries, poor accommodation. Previously, I was with a company called Al Hoty Establishment who were great.

I was offered a 12 month contract with IILSA to teach English to clients of ARAMCO in Ab Qaiq, Eastern Province, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

In order to avoid the age restriction on visa applicants, IILSA had me apply for a Business Visa for 180 days. During that 180 day period IILSA were to arrange for my work permit.

I applied for a Business visa. IILSA had nominated UAG Turkey as my current employer so as to convince the Saudi Embassy in Australia that I was acting as a Business Advisor. This did not gel with the Saudi visa agency and I was urged to replace this UAG with my own business, Logical English. This I did.

I was issued with a 30 day business visa and it cost a fortune [$700]. However, unbeknown to me, IILSA began to obfuscate on this matter and ultimately ceased communication with me and I was left with no Saudi destination, no employer, and $700 waste of money.

International Institute for Languages is contracted to serve academically ARAMCO. IILSA is, on face value, a dishonest and incompetent company and a complete waste of money and time.

Adrian Keefe MA [Lit]

I was given a Skype interview by the International Institute for Languages, Riyadh. I waited for them to contact me but no-one showed up.  I then sent them a message alerting them to the fact that I was awaiting the interviewer.  They got back and said that the "interviewer hadn't turned up for work" and that they would rearrange an interview.  Shortly after that (maybe an hour or so), they emailed me with a job offer with no interview having taken place!  I also would have had to apply for a Business Visa as I am over 60 but I felt a tad suspicious and never bothered to proceed with the application.  Actually, it is highly unlikely that you will get a job anywhere in the Middle East when you are 60+.

The International Institute for Languages (IIL) is one of the worst employers in all of KSA. Firstly, they won't bring you in on the correct visa, which means you are at a severe disadvantage: no car, no mobile phone, no apartment, no bank account, etc. This puts you at IIL's mercy, and that's exactly where they want you. If it's in IIL's benefit to move their teachers from serviced apartments to the slums at a moments notice to save money that's exactly what they'll do. If they decide to send you to another city in KSA because they feel like it, then pack your bags. If they decide to change overtime pay the night before payday, get ready to take a loss. However if that's not enough to deter you, consider this: several employees who fell out of favor with certain managers had their apartments broken into, when one of the employees called the police and the British Consulate, the manager Muntaser Ali, told him that he'd "have to leave" if he ever contacted either again. I find it odd that an organization would restrict someone from being in touch with his embassy or reporting a crime. It get's even more egregious, however. On another occasion, an American teacher-trainer was physically attacked in the workplace by a manager. Rather than to terminate and take police action against the manager, the teacher was sent home. I worked for IIL for six months, and I witnessed more crime there than in my six years of living in Detroit. It's worth noting that IIL is staffed by mostly Sudanese ex-pats. Sudan isn't exactly known for ethical business practices. Proceed at your own risk, but don't say you weren't warned.

LearnedTeacher123 can I ask you what city you were in? I am going over in two days with this company.

I lived in Dammam, but the work sites were in Abqaiq and Al Hassa. If you aren't being brought in on the prope visa, which would lead to an Iqama, I'd suggest walking away.

HI. Learner. Can you tell me. What kind of visa you were on because i know companies sometimes bring you with business visa just simple fact of faster process.

Please tell me what kind of visa you were on

I was on a 90 day work-visit visa, which they never converted to a proper work visa/iqama.

This company let 6 women on the female side go after less than two months of work. Is that a joke?! They let CINOP walk all over them. I'm no accountant but I know IIL will definitely lose money if they continue to operate this way.(Moderated: do not give names here please) is the worst principal ever...She has let two employees go for no reason at all and then lies about it. CINOP should treat employees with some respect people... and IIL should not let CINOP walk all over them. SERIOUSLY.

My response to this post expresses my thoughts on coming to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) as an ESL Instructor for International Institute for Languages Co. (IIL) in the National Industrial Training Institute (NITI)/Aramco in Al-Ahsa in its project utilizing a partnership with Kaplan Colleges, International. IIL as the  project’s HR provider and Kaplan as provider of the project’s curriculum. My ideas are informed by both what I see on the ground working here through IIL on the this ambitious and forward looking project and a growing sense of historical and social/cultural context as I research what I am encourntering. It is also affected by my background as a business teacher and businessman, freelance business writer and consultant as well as professional pedagogical ESL experience in China, Colombia and Turkey before coming to the KSA. Finally this reflection considers my reactions to current IIL colleagues at Al Hasa NITI and online comments by current and/or former IIL employees elsewhere in the Kingdom.

Starting with the latter, it was a bit surprising to read these comments on this Forum by a former IIL/NITI employee in Dammam which were negative and seem at times hostile. My experience has been completely different.  This reflection, therefore has led me to consider what we as IIL sourced Trainers are doing here: First, we are not ESL teachers in the usual sense. Neither are working with students at a secondary school or institution of higher learning or university but rather with trainees who are paid trainee employees of Aramco and Petrorabigh.

So when those trainees come to our training classes they are in fact at work and the eight classes trainees attend each day are the equivalent of eight hours of work. Hence it is crucial that our work on English language fluency and accuracy not only prepares trainees for technical courses in their assigned job but that we are to model the kinds of attitude and behaviour that will enable them to get, develop and hopefully thrive in their career at Aramco and Petrorabigh. For example, all mobile phones are collected at the beginning of each class of my training classes and only allowed if I am given a written note from their Trainee Surpervisor authorizing the trainee to have it in order to receive an important personal phone call. This brings me to issue of IIL colleagues’ attitudes.

It is, of course, important that we as IIL sourced Trainers have a safe, clean and comfortable place to live but unlike this blogger to whom I posting this response as well as some my current colleagues at Ah-Ahsa NITI, happily I do and am very pleased with way IIL has and is providing all of those things. So when other actual current IIL sourced colleagues also complain about such things, I am impelled to question whether they are focused on what we are doing here. Further, it seems there is an expectation on their part that being an IIL sourced NITI Trainer is suppose to replicate earlier experience at a secondary of tertiary institution delivering foundaton or like courses for academic students. Hence  comments about IIL/NITI/Aramco/Kaplan project quartet don’t resonate with the reality that we are Trainers, training trainees who are actually at work. This brings me to the research I have done on historical, cultural and social context in the Kingdom that beautifully address this.

There are two superbs sources of information for any potenital IIL sourced – they will also benefit current IIL/NITI/Aramco/Kaplan Trainers – Trainer about the history of oil in Saudi Arabia and the provenance of NITI: A Youtube PBS Frontline video –, hofuf, eastern province, ksa


a Petrorabigh press release –

NITI proper exists to actualize – hence our participation as IIL/NITI/Aramco/Kaplan Trainers also – the Saudization of the oil and related industries in the KSA. Therefore the blogger to whom I am posting this response seems to be unaware of the serious commitment that the project sponsors and providers he seems to denigrate have to this project. The Al-Ahsa NITI training site though still under construction is far enough along to provide an excellent facility in which to hold training classes. When it is completed it will be amazing. So having personally helped several schools and educational organizations in China and Turkey at inception to lay foundations it is exciting and rewarding to borrow from the title of former commander of NATO forces in Afghanistan General Stanley McChrystal’s memoir to again have a “share in the task.”

What? I can only imagine that the above mess was drafted by one of the admins at IIL. It certainly wasn't drafted by a native English speaker.

IIL sorted out all my payments and gratuity and flights. No issue with them in my one year contract with them. They often 'subcontract' out teachers to work on Projects and yes, working in some of those Projects (not managed by IIL) can be a headache for some teachers. But working as a contractual worker in KSA = you work month to month and live in an austere environment.

Dear learnedteache123. Thank you for your experience and warning.  Would you hep me with a few questions on IIL, Dammam - Ahsa.

Where was the accommodation (outskirts of Dammam?) - how long was the daily commute basically?

Is the accommodation good and can you come and go as you please? Or is it prison-like.

Thank you very much

Could any one who has experienced IIL help me with a few questions on how bearable it would be to work there, with the purpose of saving for a year. It would be much appreciated.

I've been offered the Has a post and really can't commit until I have some things cleared. To begin:

How long is the commute because I think I've been lied to by the recruiter. She said about an hour after I asked but google maps seems to think closer to two.

Also do they take your passport off you. Can you book a plain ticket and escape at any time?

And lastly when does the day start and end there?

Many thanks


Moderated by Christine 2 years ago
Reason : diffamatory comment on public area. Please use your pm if you want to share a particular* experience.

Ah yes, you're questions. I don't know the Has operation and can't inform you about working hours, etc. You can indeed get a plane out of there, mind: most staff are on visas, not iqamas, and it's a relatively straightforward task to leave. Best doing so just after you've been paid... And no, they don't take your passport from you.

i would like to know if there is a scam going around from IIL ?

Yes, I'm pretty sure there's a scam going on with them. But I've not got proof and I have no way to get any proof. They are completely incompetent, one way or another. Working for them, and for NITI and for Kaplan, was a big big mistake for me and for many other teachers too.

When you say ''the Has post'' do you mean: ''Al-Ahsa''? It's not a good place to work and the Western management at NITI are lapdogs for the Saudis: totally corrupt and useless.

Not al hasa bit they mention the university of jeddah al asfan campus tried googling it nothing came up really then I found this post .and someone with a similar situation.
I would really love to teach in Saudi. But don't have time or money to waste on things like these scams.

You're better off trying for a job with a university. You'll get better (longer) holidays and a more established management structure. Many of the newer projects in Saudi, such as NITI (only 2-3 years old) are chaotic and disorganized and very badly managed. Try for somewhere like the universities in Jeddah and Riyadh; you'll have a better time there. NITI Al Ahsa is a mess of a place.

I have worked for ILL (International Institute for Languages) for six months now. I can safely say they are the worst company I have ever worked for in ten years of ESL teaching.

There is zero care or respect for teachers.

They advertise a high salary but this is a lie. Money is deducted from your salary without notice or explanation. 

If you go to get a new visa which is part of your work, they deduct a week's salary from your pay.

Any problems you may have they just don't care. This is the most disgusting downright immoral company I have ever had the misfortune to work for.

I just got my last pay packet and it has been deducted again without any reason. I have finally had enough and I will be off very shortly.

DO NOT GO NEAR THIS COMPANY WITH A BARGE POLE. International institute for languages or ILL as they like to call themselves are a band of thieves and incompetent liars.

Stay away please.

Well, it sounds like your experience there was/is similar to mine. It's a total mess of a place, and I've never come across such dishonest, corrupt and incompetent people. The Western management - Shaf Asif, Fergus Rea, Phillip Harttrup - are in cahoots with Saudi management. They have no problems with lying to your face, with sacking people whenever their Saudi bosses tell them to, and they will never, ever provide support or assistance to teaching staff. Horrible people, and a horrible, rotten mess of a place to work.

Phillip has gone. He actually used to stick up for the western staff. So this is a backwards step unfortunately. There is a new guy in now from Sudan. Mr Mahi. Things are going from bad to worse.

His belief is that to improve the "education" it's the teachers that need policing and not the the useless sacks of s@@t that they call trainees.

The classroom camera's have been switched on not to catch the trainee's out but to catch the teachers.

So if a "trainee" (better known as a spineless shell of a human being) is caught sleeping in class the teacher gets a written warning. Oh yes EVERYTHING is the teachers fault.

So carte blanche has just been dealt to the trainee's that they can now do whatever they want and it's the teacher that will take the fall. Cue even more seeping in class, even more pathetic work dodging behaviour and all the teachers getting the blame.

Good night NITI!

Many thanks for the help on here from everyone. I decided to avoid this place despite the attractiveness of the salary offered and worked here in the UK for the year. Glad I did.

Much appreciated TurkishCoffee & ESL Around The World. Hope the help comes back round to you.

And the utter madness with this company just keeps on flowing. I've been keeping in touch with some teachers who are still there.

Recently two teachers gave in their final notice. Both those teachers had completed two years of service for International Institute for languages. Way more than 90% of people who had come through the door.

Instead of thanking them for their two years of service and honouring agreements, they were called into the office and told "today is your last day, pack your bags".

The two teachers concerned had agreed to be leaving the company a month later but were ,with no notice whatsoever, told to leave.

In the company's defence both teachers were paid their final settlements correctly, well not before a visit to the courts. Another teacher leaving at the same time had to go to the courts to get his flight home paid. It is a standard given that you get a flight back home to your country no matter when you leave. Not with this company however.

A couple of weeks before this fiasco the site manager had told all teachers they must move accommodation. When were they told? About two hours before they were supposed to leave. All the teachers were meant to pack up all their things and leave to another accommodation with literally a couple of hours notice. This gives you yet another idea of just how retarded this company is.

The plot thickens .......... It turns out the company then had to agree to the teachers demands to stay in this apartment block because of the lack of notice.  The company had to pay another months rent. This might be around $10,000 for another month of the whole apartment block.

So how do they save that $10,000 back?? Well,  if you tell two teachers to leave a month early that would save about $8,000 of the screw up back. Don't pay another one's flight and your getting close.

I'm not sure if this is the reason for telling these people to leave early and not paying the other teacher's flight. However after my own experience and now still hearing so much, nothing would surprise me with this company anymore.

General level of English of Dr Soker - Manager of Jeddah Project for IIL

Real Madrid has a great match yesterday and Barcelona has a great match yesterday
we will show all the planes and all the necessary staff
i’m a pillar for everyone
you are going to do a life skill paragraph. this is your destiny
Mr. Odysseus I will be appreciated if you send me all documents through my email. we offer you a sol lewtion
All what I want to tell you that…
The Commander Officer
You seen all the evidence
even mr fayez was the main teacher (meaning even though)
to show the collonnell how the progress of the students
add some information about the intervention and the innovation of both the students and the facilitator for the sake of the success of the program and the commitment to both of the participants and the work
What do we add to you due to the last few weeks?
we leave at 15 to 7

inaccurate use of vocabulary

this the template - referring to a worksheet
it’s undefinite
this is the beginning of the humid
    Mr. Odysseus. I want to thank you for the fornat . Tomorrow.  I will copy for     everyone . Thanks (referring to a photocopy request)
if you need a small machine you need a philippine.
i went to the coffee yesterday
i still wake up till 2 in the morning
this is one of importance of having an office for communicate
i was supporting  chelsea but my favorite is liverpool or manchester united. there was a player , a very good one, emile zola (meaning gianfranco, not the 19th-century French realist novelist)
Find a compartment in the shed = park in the shade
check so the voice is okay = check the volume

Spelling Mistakes

Moamed Bin Naif Academy for Maritime Sciences and Security Studeies
remember to bring your lab top
i want to thank you for the fornat
thank you for your peofessional concern

Inaccurate use of tenses

I will be appreciated = I would appreciate it
one of the ancestor go to palatine
they saw us before = they’ve seen us before
if we came and find the ss not here
everyone he will prepare for vacation next wake.

Inaccurate prepositions

He’s in a hurry. He’s in a mission
the finals will be at week 16
the evidence for the progress
Mecca is written by a ‘k’, in the other book it was written by a ‘c’
can i take a copy from your credentials
Chelsea was not in his day
i have a question to you.
Why to [sic] you put Saeed Rajh in the list?
There is a department responsible for visa renewal and they are very good in that . Dear Mr. Odysseus
Good day. I sent you request to IIL through a telephone call with the governmental relation  specialist in Riyadh
      We are going to attch  them with the monthly report
i still wake up till 2 in the morning
send me a copy from your iqama
he will pick you up to the academy
according to the students’ level for the placement test
Congratulation [sic] for the extension of [the] Eid vacation.

inaccurate idioms/expressions

Feed the students back = Give the students feedback
i’m gonna see if the CD is applicable with the i-tools
we do not aim to talking. we do not aim to the book.
write the new vocab which we added the value to you
they told us an advice
I will be appreciated if you send me all documents
I’m gonna print them on company letter head papers.
Trust atmosphere is the key word
This exactly what we are going to pass to the collonnel
I’ve got flu. I’ve got the running nose.
He had a lot of pressure on his shoulder = presumably he had to shoulder a lot of responsibility/ he was under a lot of pressure


we don’t have enough virgins = we don’t have enough versions
Help with the cartoons = help carry the cardboard boxes
i taught the ILETS
in-surface training
he got out from car and stated stepping people with the knife
I did the afternoon shaft.

      inaccurate grammar

before there is nothing happen
even they have the whole year they won’t do it
grammar shows the time you will did whatever you need
if i told you what did you do?
so i went out, and i came in. so i will ask you
we use grammar as a structure for mating
have you ever been to UK
you already saw everything
i told my professors i am more experienced than you in US & UK
imagine yourself taking 5 stuff home every day
you make us lost 6-1
ask mr fayez how the students progress after the effort that the teachers made

Interaction with students: Manager arrives while we’re revising present perfect

Fahad: I had breakfast today.
Teacher: Look at the question on the board. Have you HAD breakfast today? The rule is, if you’re asked a question in the present simple, answer in the present simple; if you’re asked a past simple question, answer in the past simple and here… (manager arrives)
Dr saeed. Have you had breakfast this morning?
Dr Saeed: I had breakfast.
Teacher: Abdulrahman, did you hear?
Once again. Dr Saeed, have you eaten this morning?
D Saeed: I ate a nice breakfast.
Teacher: Abdulrahman, what did Dr Saeed answer?
Abdulrahman: He ate…
Teacher: Everyone listen. Dr Saeed, have you had breakfast this morning?
Dr Saeed: I already finished.
Meshal: Is this present perfect?
Dr Saeed: When you communicate, don’t focus over the grammar. the important is communicate.
Teacher: (to Meshal) Why take English lessons then?

After Dr Saeed goes…students can’t believe how inaccurate his responses were.
28th May: Manager, after announcing students will be required to attend 5 hours instead of the usual 4 during ramadan immediately caves in to the officers’ demands and concedes one and a half hours ‘as long as they keep it quiet’.


not only is extending hours during ramadan contrary to common practice, but it bred resentment amongst teachers and students alike because the same flexibility wasn’t extended to them. furthermore, when one of the other two teachers calls, the manager claims he was with ‘the colo nell’. going to the colonel’s office, the teacher discovers that the manager had in fact gone home early as he had done the previous workday (to reserve tickets for his family’, and the next day was seen in the accommodation manager’s office at 235 pm. In fact, every day this first week of Ramadan, the manager has left well before 3pm. When the officers said they’d leave earlier, as early as 130 pm, the manager told them, ‘as long as you keep quiet about it.’

Odysseus, Interesting but not the point of this thread. Really we'd like to hear about IIL's bad practice so that they hopefully start to treat their teachers better in the future. Thanks.

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