The host city – Beja – is located in the northwest of Tunisia, approximately a 2-hour drive from Tunis. It is the capital of the Beja governorate, with a population of approximately 70,000. Beja is a relatively quiet city surrounded by farm land, and city slickers might find it uneventful, but it has plenty of local restaurants, cafes, food markets, and access to most amenities. The fresh produce selection is excellent, due to Beja’s plentiful farms. Locals are friendly, and within the host institution, there are plenty of English speakers. Outside, however, knowledge of French and/or Arabic would be very useful, to facilitate every day activities like grocery shopping, eating out, and communicating in general. The campus (which has restaurants and a clinic across the street) is a ten-minute walk from the downtown area, which has ample taxis and a central train station. In Tunisian cities in general, taxis are the preferred form of public transportation, and they are easy to find, inexpensive, and drivers use meters and give customers exact change upon leaving. Downtown Tunis (and the U.S. Embassy in the Berges du Lac 2 neighborhood) is accessible by train (2 hours, about $3 each way), shared taxi (1 hour, about $2.50 each way), or by car (preferred method, 2 hours). Tunis has a population of around 2 million and is home to the country’s principal international airport. It has a moderate and pleasant Mediterranean climate. The city has many restaurants, movie theaters, gyms, beaches, and shopping facilities, and is an easy place for foreigners to navigate. Tourist destinations like Bizerte, Hammamat, and Sousse are also accessible.
Host Institution: Higher Institute of Applied Languages and Computer Science of Beja
The Higher Institute of Applied Languages and Computer Science is a small, specialized public institution that offers bachelor’s degrees in language and computer science, a master’s in translation, and a master’s in computer science. The Institute has approximately 600 students, with 300 in the English program, and 100 professors, with many on leave for research. The Institute has had various international collaborations, including American faculty, and one Fellow prior to the 2011 revolution. It has 3 fully-equipped language labs, and one auditorium. There is a small student “radio station” that broadcasts on campus. Classes are held Monday through Saturday morning, with Wednesday afternoons reserved for cultural and sports activities (the English club being one of these activities). The Institute has restaurants and cantinas on campus, as well as tennis and basketball courts. The campus has WiFi throughout, and the Fellow would be offered a dedicated office space.
- The Fellow will teach a full course load of classes within the School of Languages, specifically American Civilization, American Literature, and Theories of Translation, based on the background and experience of the Fellow.
- The Fellow will provide input into the syllabus and, especially, identify high-quality materials that should be used to teach these courses (not readily available in Tunisia).
- The Fellow will lead the English Language Club in cooperation with English faculty, and develop the English language library and cultural center on-campus for student use. Athletic or cultural activities, such as clubs, are a required activity for students at the host institution.
The Fellow may be asked to:
- Provide professional development support and training to English Access Microscholarship Program teachers to better assist them in teaching English and American cultural values such as civic participation and volunteerism to young Tunisian learners.
- Work particularly closely with the two nearby Access sites.
- Collaborate with members and leadership of the three Tunisian English Language Associations (TATE, T-EARN, and Tunisia TESOL) to assist in designing and providing effective teacher training and professional development.
- Support high-quality programming, including sessions on English language and American education, on campus, at the American Corners, and other relevant partners. Tunisia has three American Corners – one in Tunis, one in Sousse (about an hour from Tunis) and one in Sfax (two-and-a-half hours from Tunis), in addition to an Information Resource Center located at the Embassy.