Living and Working in Tripoli
Cal is based in the largest city and capital, Tripoli, with over one million of Libya’s six million people. The city is located in the northwestern part of Libya on the edge of the desert, on a point of rocky land projecting into the Mediterranean and forming a bay.
Tripoli enjoys a Mediterranean climate with a comparatively small range of temperatures between the winter low and summer high. Temperatures during winter only occasionally fall below the freezing point and snow is generally seldom seen. In the summer, the temperatures range from mild to very hot. Most days are sunny with blue skies.
Tripoli includes the Port of Tripoli and the country’s largest commercial and manufacturing centre. It is also the site of the University of Tripoli.
Tripoli was founded in the 7th century BC by the Phoenicians, who named it Oea. Due to the city’s long history, there are many sites of archaeological significance in Tripoli. These include:
- Arch of Marcus Aurelius: The Arch of Marcus Aurelius is an Ancient Roman structure in Tripoli, Libya
- Leptis Magna: Leptis Magna, birthplace of the Roman Emperor Septimius Severus, was once one of the most important African cities of the Roman Empire and is now an impressive archaeological site in Tripoli
- Sabratha: A picturesque ancient city on Libya’s coast, Sabratha contains some excellent Roman ruins
The city’s old town, the Medina, is still unspoiled by mass-tourism. The walled Medina retains much of its serene old-world ambiance. The Red Castle Museum (Assaraya al-Hamra), a vast palace complex with numerous courtyards, dominates the city skyline and is located on the outskirts of the Medina. There are some classical statues and fountains from the Ottoman period scattered around the castle. An Ottoman serail now houses the Traveler’s Library.
Three gates provided access to the old town: Bab Zanata in the west, Bab Hawara in the southeast and Bab Al-Bahr in the north wall. The city walls are still standing and can be climbed for good views of the city. The bazaar is also known for its traditional ware; fine jewellery and clothes can be found in the local markets.
Teachers’ Salary and Employment Benefits
Prospective teachers often focus on salary as a first consideration. Although this is understandable, it precludes a full appreciation of the cost of working and living in Libya.
A standard contract is given to all newly hired teachers. The initial contract is for one year with an option to renew for a second year. The salary offered to a teacher is generated from a published grid. It reflects both the number of years of full time teaching experience and qualifications such as a second and higher degree. However, one’s position on the grid is not the only determinant for calculating financial well-being. It is also important to consider the relatively low cost of living in Libya, together with the fact that international teachers are provided with free accommodation. Add to the financial equation the reality that there is no daily transportation outlay, because the teachers’ apartments are only minutes away from the main school building.
The salaries of teachers in Europe or North America may impress people in the developing world, but their reactions have to be adjusted when they learn about the high cost of living in those areas. Similarly, when considering a teaching position at CAL, one should evaluate purchasing power and attempt to calculate how much disposable monthly income one can enjoy. Many of the present staff has reported that they are able to save more than 30% of their net monthly income, having paid very little income tax.
Apartments are furnished and equipped with what is needed for comfortable living, including Internet and basic cable television. Laundry facilities and community recreation room are other notable features. Couples are given a larger apartment than single teachers. A further benefit is the fact that returning teachers retain their apartments for the months of June, July and August, and so they have rent free accommodation if they choose to stay in Libya for the summer.
CAL provides return airfare for teachers who are hired overseas, as well as general assistance in obtaining entry visas for Libya.