Advice sought for American wishing to teach in Europe

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Advice sought for American wishing to teach in Europe

Unread postby Hangernaid » 05 Apr 2010, 17:45

I'm an American, I am in my last year at school and I will complete a Bachelor's in Secondary Education (Social Studies) next May from Grand Canyon University. I have been learning Russian for over a year (I'm not fluent, I will be in Kiev next week taking a 2 week class to help break a plateau that I cannot seem to work through), and I speak some French (unused since High School days).

My goals are to take a 4 week TEFL class for certification this summer, (I have practicums this fall for my Teacher's Certificate), and while teaching in another country, to complete my Masters online. My area of interest is Eastern Europe, maybe Central Europe or Southern Europe. I would prefer Adult education or college aged students to elementary school. I also would be willing to teach some academic subjects, if that would help in finding a job. My areas of study have been History and Geography, with some Environmental Science.

I would welcome suggestions on what TEFL school to check out, how to go about finding a job, will I need an EU Work Visa, and any advice that an experienced teacher is willing to share.
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Re: Advice sought

Unread postby ICAL_Pete » 07 Apr 2010, 11:21

Although not impossible to overcome, your biggest problem is likely to be the visa issue. If you want to work in an EU country then you'll need a passport from an EU country. There are ways around this though but you'll need to be there in person and get a job on a tourist visa and see if the school will eventually hire you and deal with your visa issues.

Eastern European countries outside of the EU will be easier to deal with in this regard.

And as far as qualifications go, in general you'll need a degree (which is covered) and a TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) certificate to get a visa and work. For most entry level jobs in Eastern Europe almost any certificate is fine.
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Re: Advice sought

Unread postby Renee » 07 Apr 2010, 13:21

I have been teaching English legally in Prague, Czech Republic for almost a year and a half, and the experience has been really positive so far. I took a TEFL course through http://www.teflworldwideprague.com, and started working immediately after. My school helped me acquire a visa, and though the process is a little annoying, it is definitely possible. Based on what my "newbie" friends have told me it is getting harder, but as long as you have the support of your language school or a visa company and apply within 90 days of entering the country, you should be good to go. Most countries in Eastern Europe still seem open to letting Americans work there legally. There are many jobs available in these countries for teaching adults as well. (At least I know in the CR there are anyways, not so sure about the other countries.)

As far as which TEFL course to take, the main qualifications for a legit TEFL course are that it is at least 120 hours and includes 6-8 hours of teaching practice. I really enjoyed my course and found that it prepared me well when it came to transfering what I learned in the course, to an actual classroom. My biggest recommendation is to find a course in the country you would like to teach in, and take it there. The reason for this is that the TEFL school should have contacts with language schools throughout the country, which will prove invalauble when it comes time for the job search. My school had a job fair on the last day of the course, in which reps from 12 different language schools came in and gave information, accepted CVs and set up interviews. Through that, I found a job that I started the next week. Without that help, I would have felt lost and overwhelmed when trying to find a job. They also provide us an extensive network of schools and contacts worldwide that we are welcome to ask for at anytime. (In other words, make sure your school also has valid job guidance, it is so much easier than trying to do it on your own.)

Also, in my personal experience and that of many of my friends, when you settle down in a foregin country for a month to take a tefl course it quickly becomes "home," and it is really difficult to pick up and leave at the end of the course. I never planned to stay in Prague beyond the course, but I fell in love with it and cannot imagine leaving anytime soon. I love everything about my life here. I work for one of the larger schools in Prague teaching business English to adults, and I really enjoy it. The students are a lot of fun, and have given me an "insider's view" of life in Prague that has enabled me to appreciate what I'm experiencing so much more.

Overall, my advice would be to pick your country and go for it! Teaching English in a foreign country is a lot of fun, and it has expanded my views and changed my life in so many ways. I came right after I finished grad school (I have a masters degree in School Counseling,) and haven't looked back since. Life abroad is addicting, I don't imagine I'll be moving home anytime soon!
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Re: Advice sought for American wishing to teach in Europe

Unread postby Lucas » 17 Apr 2010, 17:20

ICAL_Pete wrote: For most entry level jobs in Eastern Europe almost any certificate is fine.

Most European schools, including many Eastern European ones, have higher requirements than Asian schools as they require a Trinity, CELTA, or equivalent certificate. You will have higher chances of obtaining a job with a preliminary certificate where there is less competition and higher demand for teachers.
Last edited by systematic on 19 Apr 2010, 22:26, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: off-topic items edited
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Re: Advice sought for American wishing to teach in Europe

Unread postby jeanlerymc » 25 May 2010, 02:59

An American wishing to teach in Europe is probably hard and needs a lot of time for the preparation. But it doesn't matter, in fact, you have the good quality to teach in the other country. I would like to suggest that it is much preferable to teach Science well.
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