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I'm trying to gather a bit of information about IDCs around the world, and thought you all would be the perfect place to start. For those who have gone through your IDC--where did you go, why did you like it, would you recommend it to others? I'm also interested in hearing about where not to go, not that I want to start a bashing thread, but just to have a more well-rounded opion before I get down to serious research. Also, if I am looking to get my Instructor's cert, and then look for a teaching position in the same area, does anyone have any recommendations (/stories)?
As far as the actual IE goes it'll be near identical whether you do it in the tropics or the arctic circle. No matter where you are or what the conditions you'll ne kneeling with some students next to a shot line.
There really will be little or no variation so if thats a factor, take that into consideration.
The IDC itself i think the instructor will be key to it. Ideally you want one to massively overwork you, that way the IE is extremely easy but again, the format of it will be near identical no matter where in the world you go to do it. You want an instructor prepared to put in extra time to cover any problem areas certain people may have with some parts of the course and THAT makes the difference between an average IDC or a very good one.
I did mine on the island of Malta. Good weather that time of year and even with accomodation for a month (i did other things as well as IDC!), flights and food worked out 50% cheaper than doing the same thing in rip-off Britain where i live.
And yes, i'd highly recommend doing it there and my course director.
I wouldn't bother with these "guaranteed pass" programmes. Provided you've prepared properly the IE itself should be extremely easy so there is no point paying extra for a course purely to cover up your own shortcomings. Outside the US getting a job as an instructor is difficult if you lack other skills (being fluent in 2 possibly 3 languages is a MASSIVE boost for example) as not many places want instructors with 0 certs to their name. For that reason a course offering guaranteed placement even if its for a few weeks is a good idea. That way you gain experience, up the cert numbers and become a lot more employable elsewhere.
Anyone taking offence at anything in my posts - tough. It's only an internet forum. Stop being over-sensitive. The real world isn't as warm and fuzzy.
Remember, underwater only YOU are responsible for YOUR own safety. Nobody else is.
I did my IDC at Emerald Coast Scuba in Destin Florida. Anna Schmitz is the Course Director down there, and has been a CD since the 80's. She is VERY professional and thorough.
The reason I chose ECS was because of Anna's track record and recommendations by several people I talked to. I was so impressed with her that I did my IDC Staff Instructor with her up here in Nashville last October. I also picked Destin because of the proximity to my home town of Nashville and the great diving in and around Destin.
Agree with String on most counts - the IDC will be similar wherever you go. Some programs are longer / shorter than others, but all will feed you the same information and training. A PADI IDC has to be run by a PADI Course Director - and this is not a qualification that just anybody can get.
I did mine in Thailand and loved it so much I've never really left! I agree with String that any extra training / certs you can get is a bonus but I have to disagree slightly that it's difficult to get jobs as a brand new OWSI with no other spoken languages. I know guys who've applied for jobs *before* they took their IE and flew out 2 days after passing their exams! Now *that's* kinda rare but there are plenty of jobs out there; the key is being pro-active about applications.
I work for a CDC in Thailand - I don't advertise the fact because I'm representing myself here, not my shop - but if you need any more info just shout.