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Vagabond Travels for Work

Search for Work in Istanbul- Round Five

A vagabond works while traveling, I tell myself after I flunk out of another job interview. The going is getting tough in Istanbul. I was previously told that, with the economic problems in the West, this city has been inundated with foreign English teachers. In point, the language schools seem to be at liberty to pick and choose the native English teachers with the picky thumbs of a spoiled brat.

A vagabond works while traveling, I tell myself as I send off yet another cover letter and CV to an Istanbul English school. I suppose I have not sucked this watermelon dry yet. There are still a few dozen more private language schools in this city who have not yet had the privilege of staring down my shaggy countenance and listening to my special brand of gurgly backwoods USA English.

I am getting interviews almost daily, but I have the feeling that I am only wasting my time by showing up for them. I look very good in the paper world, but in the flesh and blood solid-state world, I am not cut out for the mold that these schools seem to want me to fit. But I have not yet given up, though I know that it is time for a new tactic.
Wade from Vagabond Journey.com
in Istanbul, Turkey- February 25, 2009
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As far as money goes, English teaching in Istanbul is my best option for work. As far as everything else goes, it is just about the last profession that I want to engage in. To make a living as a teaching professional – to make a living as any kind of professional – is foreign ground for me. I was an archaeologist for eight seasons: I am the type of fellow who digs in the dirt, the fellow who is behind the scenes, behind the written words.

A new tactic is needed

Rather than subjecting myself to employee status, I have started advertising my services as a private English teacher. The language schools pay their teachers 17 to 25 Lira an hour, but it is typical for a private tutor to charge 40 or 50 Lira.

I told a French girl who has lived in Istanbul the other day how much money the private language schools pay their foreign teachers. I thought that 17 to 25 Lira was a good amount. She looked at me as if I was nuts.

“I just want you to know,” she began, “that those kids are paying 100 Lira each per hour that you are teaching, so you getting 20 Lira is not very good.”

I was surprised. “How could these students afford to pay this much?” I asked.

“It is because it is not the students that are paying, it is their parents. These are rich kids whose parents don’t care how much they are paying. Money doesn’t matter to them, they just want their kids to learn English. Believe me, these rich kids are paying 100 Lira an hour. I know because I use to take those classes.”

It soon became apparent that the French girl was also a rich girl. Her parents are globe hopping business people who ran two factories in Turkey before fleeing in disgust to Marrakesh.

Even though the French girl kindly let me know that the language schools are prone to underpaying their staff, I still think that 20 Lira an hour is a good wage to make, and this is all that matters to me and my ever shrinking bag of bean money.

A new tactic: undercut the price of the private tutors.

If I am able to undercut the going rate for a private tutor I can still make the same amount of money that I would teaching an entire class. So I have began advertising my services at 20 Lira an hour. This is around $15, and is good money for a traveler looking to boost their funds for further travel.

I have began posting my services on job boards and have made up a flyer to hang up around town:

Experienced and certified English teacher from New York in Istanbul offering private instruction. 20 Lira/ hour.

I figure that I need to take at least a thousand dollars out of Istanbul to get to Cairo. Once in Cairo I am going to try to make up another grand before going off in a new direction.

Looking for work, looking for wages, need to replenish my funds.

Search for work in Istanbul round five

Related Pages:
Search for work- round 4
Search for a Job in Istanbul round 3
Round Two
Round One

Search for Work in Istanbul- Round Five

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Filed under: Eastern Europe, Europe, Turkey

About the Author:

Wade Shepard is the founder and editor of Vagabond Journey. He has been traveling the world since 1999, through 80 countries. He is the author of the book, Ghost Cities of China, and contributes to Forbes, The Diplomat, the South China Morning Post, and other publications. has written 3165 posts on Vagabond Journey. Contact the author.

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