So, I had basically narrowed it down to two choices: United Kingdom or Czech Republic.
Then after interviewing a friend in the UK, I was not so sure it would be possible. Mainly because of the difficulty due to the necessity of finding a job beforehand.
So it became Prague. I researched English schools in Prague. I bought (and modified) a guidebook.
But there was a nagging in the back of my mind. First, the language. Czech isn’t exactly well-spoken in my neck of the woods, making learning it difficult. And being that I’m going on my own, I’d definitely want to learn as much as possible beforehand.
Second, I’ve always wanted to go to Italy. Blame the architecture major in me…
So I started researching how to learn Czech. The first web site I hit was Rosetta Stone. I figure if there’s any time to invest a few hundred dollars to learn a language, moving to a foreign country is probably it. I don’t see Czech listed on their homepage, so I click “See all languages”. And my heart sank.
They don’t offer Czech.
I went to the university bookstore and glanced at their wall of language dictionaries. No Czech. I already knew that the university doesn’t have a Czech department, but I thought they may at least have a dictionary.
So I hit the web again. Let’s just say that though there are resources out there, for me they’re not as comprehensive as I’d like.
I had been researching English courses in Prague almost exclusively. Now I’m having second thoughts, and I find myself typing simply “TEFL” into Google. One of the first results was for a program with headquarters in Denver. That’s right. Locally.
I should insert a brief sidebar here. I’ve already decided that I do not want to take a TEFL course online or in the states. There are several benefits in my mind of being certified abroad:
- The one-month course provides a transition into living abroad. Sure you’re in another country, but you’re in a classroom eight hours a day for five days a week with English-speakers.
- It seems more likely that the program you participate in will have connections to local job opportunities – and finding a job after “graduation” is definitely important.
- Being in a room forty hours a week with a dozen other people is a great way to make your first friends. And maybe find a roommate for when time’s up and you have to move out of their student housing.
Anyway, back to that Denver-headquartered school I found. They offer two TEFL courses in Italy: Florence and Sardina. And those are $200 cheaper than the course in Prague.
Wow. Can you say, “Dream come true”? I’ve been talking with my friend Jake about this bigwhatif plan of mine for months – we both sit in front of computers most of the day, so have a chat window open in the corner. And every few hours I kept typing, “FLORENCE?” into our chat window – because I still couldn’t believe it.
This post does not mean I’ve decided to book a plane ticket to Italy. There’s still plenty of considerations to make.
- What’s the cost of living in Florence (or Sardina, or anywhere in Italy) compared to Prague?
- If I got to Italy, I won’t know anyone there whereas in Prague I would at least know one person – could I be okay with this?
- What’s the job market like for TEFL teachers in Italy?
Know where else this school offers TEFL programs? Crete. Yeah, you know, an island in the middle of the Mediterranean. That Biblical people visited. Another, “Wow.”
So where does my research progress from here? I’ve set up a meeting with Rachel from their travel advisory department. Need to start writing down all my questions for her…