Monday, June 28, 2010

Our Arrival and First Days

Bism Allah wa as salaamu alaykum.

The long haul flight from Dulles Airport to Jeddah was wonderful – comfortable, enjoyable, and relaxing. The confusion of Jeddah airport was the first taste of the disorganized chaos of “the system” here. Once through it all, we sat waiting for our flight to Madinah, knowing it was all nearly over. Of course, good things are always laced with those extra tests. Despite all the calls to the employer's staff, nobody was there to pick us up. A few more calls and a 20-30 minute wait and the man arrived, speaking no English, to take us to the temporary accommodation. He was driving a RAV4, which was quite interesting when considering we are a family of 6 with 16 pieces of luggage. I sat in the back with the four children, with luggage looming over our headrests. Needless to say, my arm was up straining to keep it from falling on the children's heads.

Several phone calls later, DH understood he should go out and catch a taxi to work in the morning. In the meantime, we made up makeshift beds with bare mattresses, pillows, and one blanket each. DH went out to get something to eat, 2 chickens, 2 big bags of tasty rice, arugula, onion, and chopped salad, for about US$ 9. Masha'Allah, that was dinner for two days.

The first day at work for DH was wonderful, and every day since has been a pleasure wa al hamdu l'Illah. Wonderful brothers, helpful support, and the unfolding of The Perfect Plan have all ensued. Our arrival in late October meant we enjoyed much milder temperatures and lovely, balmy evenings. Our timing meant we were given an offer of an apartment fully equipped in the most ideal location imaginable for just SR22,000 per year. A huge saving for us, and a beautiful home, for far less than if we'd found something within the housing budget and had to equip it ourselves. The funds we took with us were exactly enough to cover the upfront money needed before the payments were issued from the employer.

The next issue, the schools for the children, also was placed in front of us. A few minutes of online activity and a message from the Hijrah to Madinah Yahoo Group said that Al-Fusha Girls' School needed native English speakers to teach English curriculum ESL books. The school was what we wanted, teaching and speaking only fus-ha Arabic. I called and ended up with a deal that all the girls could attend the school and our son attend the boys school for the school allowance provided by the employer and I could work there teaching. That meant I would be there to see how the girls got on the first year and would see first hand how the teaching was. Subhaan Allah! How many thanks can we give to our Perfect Provider?


  1. Asaalamu alaykum warahmatullahi wa barakatuh sister,
    hope you and your family are well inshaaAllah. Sister I wanted to ask you about the al Fusha School in Madinah, I also received the email regarding the English teacher vacancy..I've been trying to call for a very long time but cant seem to be getting through. Do you know if they still have any vacancies available..I know you said that you are working there alhamdulilah. Can you please let me know inshaAllah. Also the number I have isnt working, if its possible that they need another English teacher please please let me know. Jazaakillahu khayr.
    Your sister in Islam Umm Saalih.

  2. Wa alaykum as salaam wa Rahmat Allah wa Barakatuh Umm Saalih.

    I taught at Al-Fusha this past year, but I am not returning. They do still need teachers as far as I know. It is not easy for them to find any native speakers who are already here and will come as local hires.

    Here is the number of the owner of the school. His name is Mr Yousif Saiyed: tel. 0505343797.
    He can also be reached by e-mail at the following address:
    Everything, even if you start with one of the female employees, ends with him.

    Please be warned that the school is liberal on certain matters. The last 8 weeks there I had to hear music nearly every day while they practiced for their shows for the end of year party. Various other compromises were made that I simply could not condone, especially as my daughters were in the school. However, if you are used to teaching here in Saudi Arabia, it will be no surprise, I imagine.

  3. Jazakillah khayr for the reply.
    Sister can you tell me what qualifications are needed pls..I haven't got a TEFL/CELTA diploma but have teaching experience and a BA degree to alhamdulilah.
    Thank you so much for your time. BarakAllahu feeki.

  4. Wa iyaaki ukhty.
    You don't need any TEFL, and I went in without a teaching degree. However, having teaching experience and a BA will be just wonderful for them, inshaa'Allah.
    Are you living in Madinah? Please feel free to tell Mr. Yousif that you got the information from Mai. It may well weigh in you favor if there are any other applicants. They asked me to find two teachers for them for this year...but I couldn't even find one. So, alhamdul'Illah for you ukthy!

    As salaamu alaykum wa Rahmat Allah wa Barakatuh.

  5. Asalamu alaykum again, Im not in Madinah yet but inshaaAllah me and my family are going there soon hopefully this year. I've emailed him so I'll be waiting for his reply inshaAllah khayr, please make duaa for me jazakillahu khayr.
    Another thing I wanted to ask you was how is their pay? Im personally not expecting anything huge lol, but wanted to get an idea inshaAllah..Ive applied for other positions around the Kingdom so wanted to see. Again thank you so much for your time! wasalamu alaykum.

  6. Wa alaykum as salaam wa Rahmat Allah wa Barakatuh.
    I joined them with no teaching qualification (an important factor here) and without a BA, so they paid me as they pay the Saudi teachers...SAR 2000 per month. That is equivalent to around $500. It is quite possible they will pay SAR 3,000 or perhaps more, to someone who has great qualifications and a track record. However, they are clearly looking for someone who is already in Saudi Arabia. They advertised in Madinah, Jeddah, and areas within that radius. They do not provide benefits as such, however, I know that they have an Iqama, as I was told I could have one if I wanted. All in all, Allahu aalim regarding how much you can get salary-wise. They are much lower in Madinah anyway. However, the barakaat far outweigh the material gain, al hamdu l'Illah!

  7. You are right subhanAllah, living in Madinah is a huge blessing everything else, jobs etc is a bonus! Jazakillah khayr for your hlp sister, I havent received any news from Mr Yousif but inshaaAllah I will let you know once I do. Please remember me in your duaa's barakAllahu feeki.

  8. Asalamu alaykum again sister,
    hope you and your family are well inshaAllah. I haven't received any reply from Mr Yousif, I was wondering if you knew of any similar vacancies..Like I told you InshaAllah me and my family are planning to come to Madinah and I would like something to do whilst Im there, so if you know of any schools etc that are recruiting please let me know. Jazakillah khayr!

  9. Salaamu alaykum sister.

    Me and my husband are planning on moving to Saudi (pref mecca or Madinah) this time next year inshaAllah. I have 1 more year of university in the Uk and my husband wants to do the TEFL back in Boston. DH wants to apply to madinah (he has already got in but due to circumstances could not go this year). Do you think they would have vacancies for next year September.

    I was planning on homeschooling my daughter as I heard the schools were very poor. what is your thoughts on this? I am so lost which is probably why I am trying to research so far in advance.

    again May Allah bless you sister. ameen.

  10. Wa alaykum as salaam wa Rahmat Allah wa Barakatuh Umm Naila.

    If your husband already got accepted to Jami'at al Islamiyyah, then he will have to contact them to see about whether he has to reapply or he can postpone his start date until the following year.

    You would have to some in a different way, as they are not issuing visas for families these days/years. Pray that the policy changes, but prepare to apply for a job that will provide you with an iqama to stay and live here with your husband.

    As for homeschooling, yes I definitely would suggest it. My girls go with me to the Quran/Tahfeedh programme in the mornings, but for regular school subjects I homeschool them.

    The quality of education is improving here, but the system and the behavior of the children in the school is shockingly bad. I am not willing to have my children immersed in an environment of no discipine, no manners, endless supplies of toxic junk food, hypocrisy regarding music and dress, and various acts of bid'ah.

    It takes a lot of course correction and monitoring to let your children attend school here and still turn out well. May Allah protect and guide them all...and us!

  11. Sister I am from Kashmir. I want to go to Saudi Arabia as a math or computer teacher. I have done B.Tech in computer sciences but as of now I have no experience. Can you please guide me about the same. Looking forward to hearing from you.

    1. Brother Navvar,

      As salaamu alaikum. I only know about the hiring procedures for the universities. As you don't have a MA or MS, you would only qualify for public or private elementary and secondary school positions. Sorry I couldn't be of more help.

  12. Well thank you for the reply. Can you tell me where exactly should I look out to find out the hiring procedure for schools?

    I would like to ask about schools in Madina.
    An egyptian family is moving to Madina INSHAA-ALLAH on August. They have 2 daughters, 13 and 8 years old. They study Math and Science in English. Is there in Madina a suitable school for them? Thank you , GAZAKUM ALLAH KHAIRAN.

  14. Wa alaykum us salaam wa rahmatullahi wa barakaatuh.

    As you say it is an Egyptian family, there are two options that could work well. Al Aqeeq International School teaches from English texts and the teachers are mainly Egyptian. They are rather an expensive school and the students I met from there had very weak written and spoken classical Arabic, but it is an option.

    The other, is the Egyptian school which is run by the Egyptian embassy. It is not a "proper school" per se, but they ensure that the students are taught the Egyptian curriculum. I believe this is far less expensive and probably a better option to preserve the level of education and give them a comfort zone and Allah knows best.

    I hope that helps. Wa iyaaki.

  15. Dear Mai...Would you, please , send me how to contact with these two schools? I mean an email , or phone number..etc., so I can ask them about details. GAZAKUM ALLAH KHAIRAN.

    1. Please e-mail us at and we will give you the phone number of an Egyptian family here who will be pleased to advise them inshaa Allah.

      Wa iyaaki.

  16. Thank you so much Jazakum Allah Khairan. I e mailed you at I would also like to know exactly the place of the Egyptian Embassy school.

  17. Hello.mai
    I need ur help.i m the student of bds 3rd yr from I m fluent in english.n also have some experince in fine arts.but I dont have any degree with me for arts..just short courses I I m doing dentistry.i m here for 5 months due to some personal issues.i want to get a job here.can I find any job in alfusha school.or any other
    It Will b a pleasure to see any father is doctor here.and we are new to madina. :)

  18. Assalamu alaykum,
    I was hoping that you and some of the other readers of this blog might be able to help me -
    I am a translator looking for other native English speakers who have a background in Islamic studies to work as translators or proofreaders for material for an Islamic website. The work is paid and salaries will be set depending on experience and qualifications. Interested applicants should forward me their CV at

    Jazaakum Allahu khayran,


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