Travel & Teach - Cyprus
This sun-drenched island has been at the crossroads of world events for centuries, but only more recently has it starting becoming a popular TESOL destination.
Cypriots are an individualistic people which results from a very colourful history. The island has been and continues to be a political hot potato in terms of European issues, specifically between Greece and Turkey. After formally gaining independence from the UK in 1960, the Greek Cypriot majority lived alongside the Turkish Cypriot minority fairly peaceably until 1974. Then a Greek-sponsored attempt to seize the government was met by military intervention from Turkey. This effectively split the island in half, with the Turkish Cypriots in the north and the Greek Cypriots in the south. In 1983, the Turkish-occupied area declared itself the "Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus" (TRCN), but it is recognised only by Turkey. Now the 2 parts of the island live alongside one another fairly grudgingly, and a UN sponsored settlement is still being sought.
The division of the country affects economic affairs, and therefore EFL opportunities. The Greek Cypriot economy is prosperous but has suffered from a lack of consistent growth in the 1990s, with lack of political stability having an effect on the number of tourist arrivals. In 2004 the country acceded to membership of the EU, but certain work restrictions were maintained, even for EU citizens.
Although Greek is the national language of Cyprus, English is spoken almost everywhere, with most road signs in Greek and English. But unlike Greece, Cyprus is not often a first stop for the new EFL teacher as there appears to be much less demand for English teachers from outside the island. Therefore, unless you have some good contacts or are very lucky, your search for work is unlikely to be a fruitful one, as formal employment opportunities are rarely advertised outside Cyprus. There is little demand for EFL teachers in the Turkish held area of the country, as there are a large number of expatriate English speakers and, perhaps because there is little tourism to this part of the island, there is not the perceived need for English. Therefore the opportunities that do exist are likely to be in the Greek part of the island.
In the Greek part of the island, English is the second language. Being taught from an early age at school, children grow up accompanied by the language and the dramatic increase in tourism has added to its popularity. However, because it is taught so widely in the state system, there are far fewer private language schools – hence the demand for the EFL teacher is much less than other European countries.
British Council http://www.britishcouncil.org/
British Council in Cyprus: http://www.britishcouncil.org/cyprus.htm
Cypriot Embassy UK: http://cyprus.embassyhomepage.com/
Cypriot Embassy USA: http://www.cyprusembassy.net/
Cypriot National Tourist Office: http://www.cyprustourist.com/
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Travel and Teach
As stated above, positions rarely appear in the international press, although you might get lucky and find an advertisement in the EFL section of the TES (Times Educational Supplement) on Fridays or the Guardian EFL pages on Tuesdays. Alternatively keep an eye on Internet EFL recruiting websites.
The British Council does not have a teaching operation in Cyprus, and we are informed that it does not maintain a list of schools, although the office may be able to direct you to a list in the yellow pages of language schools or private schools (see British Council address under Useful Contacts). The majority of EFL teachers in Cyprus are expatriates who have settled permanently and while there are positions available, if you already in Cyprus then you are more likely to get the job.
It is expected that the number of opportunities will increase, particularly as Cyprus develops more into the EU fold. If you wish to obtain a job as an English tutor, you can advertise your services in the English Language press. Try the Cyprus Mail (PO Box 1144, Nicosia, also contactable via their website at www.cyprus-mail.com) or the Cyprus Weekly, (2 Grypari Street, Trust House Suite 102, PO Box 24977, 1306 Nicosia – again see their website www.cyprus-weekly.com.cy).
EU citizens who wish to work in Cyprus will still need a work permit. These are quite difficult to secure and teaching on a tourist visa is illegal. However you can now commence the process from within Cyprus by contacting the Migration Department of the Ministry of the Interior, although to work in the state sector you’ll have to possess a degree in English Language, Literature or Linguistics. Most likely you will also need to be fluent in Greek as well.
Conditions are not so tight in the private sector but you will still need to gain a work permit. Full-time contracts will often be the norm here and there is likely to be demand for Mother Tongue English speakers. A TESOL qualification will also help to put you in a better position to obtain a post. You might find the guide to writing your CV on our site quite helpful here.
Pay and conditions do vary greatly. If you are being paid by the hour, expect to receive approximately between C£8 – 10 (the upper end of this is possible if you are giving private 1-1 tuition. If you are salaried, the first C£ 5000 is tax free, and after that expect to pay around 20% tax on the remainder. Cost of living is relatively inexpensive, although finding an apartment (at C£ 300 – 400) is difficult and quite expensive, so you may have to be prepared to take a room instead.