Some clips of Flight of the Conchords. "Business Time" and "Jenny" are partcularly great. Two very talented and funny Kiwis!

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Monday, February 04, 2008

Berlitz Istanbul, Turkey

Another comment that appeared on the "nominate a school for blacklisting section."
I wouldn't recommend Berlitz Istanbul. If you are interested in seeing a foreign country for 6 months and experience a new culture then this place is a no-brainer. But, if you are looking for medical benefits, a teacher's permit, travel pay (all promised in the original contract) forget it! There is no honor by this thief. They even pocket the teacher's income tax at the end of the year!

Strong stuff! Anybody care to add to this. I'll remove it if nothing more substantial emerges


Addendum

Indeed it has. The Inspector's Investigations unearthed the following ancient (2003)
observations elsewhere on the web!
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As you have all probably seen, Berlitz Istanbul is hiring once again, and I wanted to warn the uninitiated out there that they are a very poorly-run organization and I would advise anyone against taking a job with them. The reason they are always hiring is that their teachers are always quitting. Avoid them like the plague.
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I have been contacted by Inlingua Istanbul and noticed that their Web site contained "Berlitz." Are they one and the same, or affiliated??
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Check this site out for more info on what life is like working at Berlitz Japan and Korea.
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I've said this before as well Berlitz has a bad reputation in Taiwan and Korea and, depending on your school, Japan.

If you are patient and look carefully, I believe better schools can be found than Berlitz.

Check this site out for more info on what life is like working at Berlitz Japan and Korea.

I just finished reading another thread on the Saudi Arabia Forum here at Dave's and it looks like Berlitz in the M.E. offers a pretty weak package for prospective teachers.

I've said this before as well Berlitz has a bad reputation in Taiwan and Korea and, depending on your school, Japan.

If you are patient and look carefully, I believe better schools can be found than Berlitz.
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I also advise teachers to avoid Berlitz Istanbul. Speaking from experience, I can say that their management staff is very difficult to work with and they really don't seem to care about their teachers at all. Probably the reason why their turnover is high (the average teacher stay seems to be about two or three months). Also: if you do get into negotiations with these guys, beware the contract. They may tell you it's just a formality, but they're actually very serious about it and may try to pursue you in court if you attempt to quit. It may be worth getting a lawyer to look at it beforehand. Bottom line: it's possible to teach there, but be very wary and stand your ground at every turn.
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Hi folks,

No one answered the previous poster, is there a sneaky relationship between Inlingua and Berlitz? I've been looking at the Inlingua in Baglarbasi, does anyone know anything? I'm limited in that my credentials are in Spanish, not ESL, and that seems to limit my choices a little bit.

Should I be lying awake tonight like this: ?

Gracias,
stural
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I was offered a position with Berlitz in Beyoglu some weeks ago. Since I'm domiciled in Hong Kong, this entailed packing my belongings, giving notice, arranging transportation etc. One week before I was due to leave Hong Kong I was told by the Berlitz center manager that I could not be hired after all, because the Turkish Ministry of Education had issued a directive that prevented them from recruiting staff in Hong Kong. As far as I know, Turkish schools do not make a practice of recruiting people in Hong Kong, so I found it rather surprising, to say the least, that the MofE would bother formulating and issuing such a specific directive. Predictably, when I asked Berlitz for further clarification (and the name of someone at the ministry with whom I could communicate) my letter was ignored.

I've not been able to determine, by my own efforts, if such a directive was ever issued but I have been offered employment with another Istanbul language school, so I'm very much disposed to believe that I was lied to. If this is an example of the way in which Berlitz treats people I'm not surprised at all that they have such a poor reputation.
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I know this is a bit late to respond, but I was very moved to reply once I read what Iskender wrote.

I did work at Berlitz Istanbul for an entire year. YES! I finished my contract- but I got stiffed for half of the expenses for getting my work permit. I was told that he was not going to pay for my honeymoon. I left screaming nasty things like you are a lying SOB. He agreed with me and said he had no problems sleeping at night and disinvited me to enter his facility again.

Things are not right in Berlitz Istanbul and Marc47, you hit the nail on the head when you said you may have been lied to. This is the biggest problem of Berlitz in Istanbul. The owner and manager is a pathological liar. He really can not help himself.

just a few examples---I have a friend who went to interview with him for teaching the lawyer class. Another friend, who also finished a full one year contract had totally created the materials and the format of this class. The interviewing friend was told that she could not speak with the previous teacher because said teacher had left Turkey and was back in the US. LIE!!! The interviewing friend had had dinner with the ex-teacher the night before. The interviewing friend was then told that there were no materials to be seen for the class because the ex-teacher took them all when leaving Turkey. LIE!!!!!

The same ex-teacher friend had dinner with the ex-law class. The next day, the class was told that the reason for the delay in restarting their class was that the teacher died. When confronted with the fact that their teacher was very much alive and enjoying sheep for dinner, they were then told that Solmaz never told them it was that teacher, but a teacher. Strange that none of the teachers that were working at Berlitz at the time had heard of any teacher dying.

The personal problems mentioned by Iskender most likely have to do with rotten scheduling of classes, disorganization, weird contracts, low pay, lack of pay for long travel times, and various other job related reasons that have nothing to do with personal problems. I knwo of several instances of teachers during my year and just after who "ditched" Berlitz Turkey.

As far as the center thriving goes- all of the Asian based teachers are having to travel to Europe in order to have classes to teach. There ARE NO CLASSES in the Suadiye branch. It seems ridiculous to say recruiting because of expanding. Summertimes are not good for getting hours at Berlitz Turkey. I know of several instances of teachers who "ditched" Berlitz Turkey

Solmaz does do lip service in regards to "caring" about teachers and students and talks about his "happy family." Unfortunatly, most things come with strings. They also come with nasty things said about the students- "All students at the center are lazy Turkish B*******. He also has an unwritten rule that teachers are not to speak to each other. The Turkish staff is supposed to stop this action.

"The teachers are expected to work hard." Yes indeedy! I went several months working every single day because I needed the hours. I managed to earn an average of about 460 dollars per month for the year I was there. I also spent 6 hours a week travel for one class that paid me for 9 hours of work.

" I am satisfied with the work and I love living in Istanbul. I also find it comforting to work for a place that is secure and likely to endure the economic rollercoaster when other centers may fold."

I admit that I was satisfied with the quality of my students and that when I had a normal schedule, I was satisfied with the work. I too love living in Istanbul, but I find it much much more comforting to work for a University where I have REGULAR hours, am paid at the first of the month instead of two weeks later, actually have insurance and PAID SSK (unlike my entire years time at Berlitz Istanbul), and am paid for vacation time.

There is so much more to be said, but I believe I have said enough. Berlitz Istanbul is an experience I am glad to put behind me. Anyone who is considering working at any location should speak to people who have worked there in the past. I am happy to be finished there.

"I wouldn't write off working for Berlitz because of the comments of those who have no experience working there ..."

I am a real person who worked at Berlitz Istanbul. I have no qualms about signing my name either. I SURVIVED BERLITZ-TURKEY!
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This may also be a bit late to post but from my experience with Berlitz Istanbul it is best not to even begin negotiations with them. I accepted a job with them via email and when I came to Turkey highly regretted it. I spent only two days in the Berlitz office and left before my relationship went any further. The management was rude and unthoughtful and my gut told me to get out. I never taught a course there nor did I finish their training.

Just to get an idea of how little time I spent with them I'll give some background info. The training I did do consisted of sitting in a room by myself and watching 8 hours of videos. The next day I sat around my house all day waiting for them to call me and then finally when I was asked in at 3 was rushed through some of their books so that I could teach the next day. It had been my understanding via the emails we had that I would come in and discuss the job but was put in a room with the contract and when I asked questions was told don't worry, just sign. I had purposely not signed the contract from outside of Turkey because I wanted some other people there and the contract itself asked for someone from the AKYO corp (which owns Berlitz) to be there, I felt pressured into signing something I never should have and due to me being too trusting and advice I had received from a TEFL course I took that I could do no better than Berlitz unfortunately I signed.

Before I told them I would not work with them I had two Turkish lawyers look at the contract. Both told me that it is not valid for various reasons. I received a nasty email from the manager and was told not to respond by my lawyer. A couple of months later I received a court order from them asking for over $USD2500 in damages! Luckily I have a lot of connections in Turkey that are taking care of this. None of the other expats here I have spoken to nor any of the heads of other private language schools I have talked with have ever heard of a case like this going this far.

My advice is stay away from a place like Berlitz, go with your gut feeling and check out all your options! Istanbul is a great city, and Turkish people are very kind. If you are thinking about coming here there are many better jobs at private language schools like International House and English Time that not only pay better but treat their workers with more respect. Even better if you enjoy working with children many schools hire foreign staff to teach English. Good Luck and be wary of Berlitz!

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I see Berltiz is advertising yet again!! I wanted to add to my previous message for those who just don't know!

Beware of any email from a person named “Dave Smith” in correspondence with Berlitz Istanbul. There is no such person and there has never been any such person at Berlitz Istanbul. “Dave Smith” is a creation of Solmaz, owner and manager of Istanbul Turkey. Several people have fallen for this unethical created version of a “fellow American, who just loves working at Berlitz Istanbul” and have come to Istanbul only to find out that this “great” guy that they had been emailing about working for Berlitz Istanbul is admitted to be Solmaz himself. Solmaz has said that he emails people with the name “Dave Smith” so that people feel good about Berltiz Turkey and want to come work there.

I personally find it disgusting and highly unethical to represent oneself as an American working at Berltiz Istanbul when he is the owner of a franchise with well known problems with many past employees- as well noted on this board.

Don’t just accept any American sounding name as a reference. It is easy to lie via Internet and as stated in the past- it is easy for this person to lie to your face too.


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Inspector McHammered of the Lard in Pamplona, Spain

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15 comments:

Anonymous said...

It's obviously a franchise wide plague. The Zagreb Croatia Berlitz is nearly identical in description to what I've read about your experiences. Management that is late in payment, if you get paid at all, an inability to grasp certain concepts like scheduling and time, and a general treatment of their instructors as if they were McDonald's employees. Bad indeed!

Mike said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

There is no Mike at Berlitz Istanbul. See earlier post.

Anonymous said...

A Turkish idiom for the fictional Mike: ''Yalancinin mumu, yatsiya kodar yanar.'' -Anonim

Anonymous said...

moderator, there is no mike at berlitz istanbul. this is another example of the previous comment about the owner impersonating an instructor. look at the tone of the writing, does it appear to be an ex-pat? please be fair here by showing the man for what he really is...a man who doesnt honor his contractual commitments.

Inspector Mchammered of the Lard said...

Point made.
Dear "Mike?"
Come out come out wherever you are "Mike". If you are not an imposter you have nothing to fear. I suspect that you might indeed be the school owner.
You have two weeks to reveal your true identity (after all you will have nothing to fear from Berlitz as you love them so much!).
If The Inspector hasn't heard from you by then he will assume that you are up to no good and remove your posting.

Anonymous said...

Berlitz also contacted me after seeing my resume on seriousteachers.com. I didn't reply back because I was also told to stay away from that school. DOES ANYONE KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT EYUBOGLU SCHOOLS? Please any comments or advise will do!!!

Anonymous said...

Was my post too offensive? The truth sometimes is...you could post it and remove it if someone complains?

Anonymous said...

I am not Mike, I meant the post that didnt make it onto the blog?

Anonymous said...

Heads are currently rolling and the rest are quitting, the new contracts are crap! The man is the biggest liar I have ever met.

Anonymous said...

solmaz is currently using the alias ''ramazan tasci'' for talking to potential teachers. after he reads this it will change to another name. beware.

Anonymous said...

in my entire esl career, i have never seen a company with this high of teacher turnover, and i have never met a man that has as little respect for his instructors as the owner at this center does.

Anonymous said...

I have talked to several Turkish school owners and yesterday one told me, ''If any school in Turkey promises you a teacher's permit or national health insurance they are lying.'' He reiterated, ''I have lived in Turkey as an ex-pat for over 10 years and I know of no one who has recveived these benefits.'' The contract at Berlitz Istanbul is therefore an accident waiting to happen, as so many have found out the hard way.

Anonymous said...

I noticed that a lot of these scam jobs start at SeriousTeachers.com As a language school human resources director, I have to give my 2 cents about SeriousTeachers.com scam. Beware of SeriousTeachers.com.

In my experience, I have posted 1 job ad on their site for the "free trial". Within 2 days, I received over 60 "form emails" about "interested teachers" though nowhere in the email was the teacher speaking directly to us about our ad. That being said, EVERY link in the email redirected me to a "pay" page to contact any teacher on the list. Funny enough, when we actually did contact some of the teachers, they had no idea who we were and after being directed to our ad, they stated they were not interested.

To me, this is a scam...they bait schools with 'interested' applicants and then ask for money to contact them. In addition, they allow absolutely NO information whatsoever to be communicated...with or without contact information.

Anonymous said...

Dear Inspector:

Could you start a new thread with the last comment here about seriousteachers.com? I would like to add my 2 cents without burying the Berlitz Istanbul info in unrelated info.

Thanks!