Choosing your TEFL

Hopefully, if you’re reading this it is because you have heard about TEFL’s and are just as confused as I was when I first started to research them. There is so much information on the internet it’s easy to get overwhelmed, trust me because I was! If you’re here because you’re a bit nosy, also like me, a TEFL is the acronym commonly used for teaching English as a foreign language. For you to gain jobs, and in many countries visas, you must have an accredited certificate by a reputable school. There are online and practical courses which range from 20 hours to 120 hours, but most schools look for 120 hours so I would focus on those in your search. Of course, the practical courses are more beneficial but online is still accepted and often a more convenient and affordable option.

Choosing the right course to gain the qualification to teach English as a foreign language really depends on the reason you’re applying to it in the first place. Are you looking for a gap year opportunity after you graduate? Where do you want to go? Do you want to teach adults or children? Is this a serious career change/path you wish to follow? What lifestyle do you want to have and will your salary support this?   

Asking yourselves these questions is so important when it comes to choosing the right TEFL course because there are THOUSANDS on the internet, ranging from Groupon £18 to courses costing upwards of £1500! I spent hours and hours scouring the internet trying to choose mine but eventually, I landed a teaching position that paid for my TEFL and provides me with teacher training upon my arrival in Beijing. My position will be within a training school, so I won’t be working in a public or private school. Training schools are great for people like me with little to no teaching experience as the amount of training and assistance will be invaluable when I arrive. Training schools do actually come with the downfall that the pay tends to not be as high but I decided to compromise on that in value of the training provided. As I said, you really need to ask yourself some questions regarding your reasons, hopes and motivations for choosing a TEFL course and ESL career.

How much can you spend and does the cost match your intentions? If you are looking to move away for a year, enjoy a new culture and get some teaching experience, are you really going to spend over a grand on a course? The most expensive course is also not always the best, when I was looking I found some companies charging an arm and a leg when they weren’t even accredited! They must, must, MUST be accredited by an external body, ‘recognised worldwide’ is a ploy and you will pay the very heavy price for no real qualification. It totally depends on how much you want to spend and as I said, are your intentions for getting a TEFL going to justify the most expensive? If not, work out what you can afford and do your research.

Have other teachers in a similar position to you used this school? Any School worth their salt will be open and honest, email and ask if it is possible to speak to any former teachers on their experiences with gaining the qualification through that school. Search their social media, see if they have been tagged by real people, be an absolute stalker and dm/message that person and say I’m sorry to be a weirdo but do you mind answering some questions? If they do they’ll block you and you’ll feel like a gimp and if they don’t they’ll answer you and you could save yourself from being scammed or you may find the perfect course for you! The internet is your best friend in this case and there are literally thousands of people in the same position as you who are more than willing to help. Join groups on Facebook, when I first started I just typed TEFL into the search bar and so many groups came up with people posting, asking questions and posting job opportunities daily! Go with your gut, often if it seems to good to be true it is, trust yourself and just be smart.

Where do you want to live? The ESL teaching market truly is worldwide and the course should prepare you for the specific location you wish to teach! My research showed me that those wishing to teach in Spain must have exam preparation skills and telephone teaching! Yet in China, where I will be based, there was an emphasis on teaching adults, children and online/ via Skype. Not only for the sake of your TEFL but for your sake too. TEFL providers can often and really should offer you assistance with looking for job vacancies, accommodation, visas, bank accounts and legal paperwork. You will need police background checks and in most cases, you will need a degree that needs to be authenticated by a solicitor. Visa processes can be long and expensive but your TEFL provider should guide you through it.

You also need to think is this country really somewhere that interests me, is the history and culture appealing? Obviously, that isn’t something you can really know until you arrive, but it would be daft to apply for a job in somewhere like Peru when you have no interest in learning Spanish, no desire to learn about the Inca’s and you’re not a big fan of Ceviche! I chose Beijing for several reasons!

          Location: I really wanted to move somewhere that was easily accessible to the rest of Asia but was still a big city. As much as I’d love to be a beach bum in Thailand, I wanted to maintain certain aspects of my current lifestyle.

The language: Mandarin is the most commonly spoken native language in the world and as China’s economy and influence continues to grow in the Western World, I quite frankly want to be able to put it on my CV. Luckily my company offers free Mandarin lessons! I’ll be Ni hao-ing all over the joint soon!

Cost of living: As with any Capital City, the rent in Beijing will be relatively higher than other cities in China, excluding Shanghai. Yet researching the cost of living for a city is fairly easy and the cost of living in Beijing appears to be relatively low. Of course, it all depends on how you spend your money! I ultimately wanted to live somewhere I could afford a few meals out, enjoy a couple (or triple) beers with my friends, some holidays and the odd pair of shoes every now and then! Googling the cost of milk, bread, public transport, beer, cinema tickets and an average meal out is a good way to figure this all out for yourself.

The history: I am a history nerd and although I studied Medieval European history, the history of China is so appealing. I think there a few countries and cities that can offer such an up-close and personal view of their history and culture. Catch me at the great wall and the summer palace this Autumn! I can hardly wait!

I’m not going to offer you a list of TEFL courses I think you should take because ultimately I am not going to recommend something that I did not take myself! I just hope this post is a bit of food for thought for you and the questions you should be asking yourself before you start an application for a TEFL!  Do you have any experience with TEFL’s? let me know in the comments if I have missed anything out!

 

Life Update: Finishing Uni and Moving to China

Today I’m bringing something quite different to the blog, but the fact that I’m actually bringing something to the blog is a shock in itself! I hadn’t quite appreciated how busy my third and final year of University was going to be, but better late than never right? I do enjoy reading these kinds of post’s so I thought I would share with you what’s been going on and what my plans are for the near future.

I have finally finished university graduating with a 2:1 in history from the University of Hull. My university experience has been amazing at times and horrendous at others but I am leaving having met the absolute lights of my life friendship group. I am feeling bittersweet about graduating, part of me thinks: oh thank god, I’m 25 it’s time to finally get on with life, yet the other half is all: I don’t want to have to think about real-world problems! The fear set in around Christmas time, what am I going to do after I leave? I don’t even have a job lined up! Do I do a masters? Where will I move too? But after thinking about it I realised I just really wanted to travel. I get the fear in my tummy of am I actually going to do something worth while with my time? The issue I had with that is I am not a saver. Money sitting unspent in my bank account is not something I cope very well with, pretty little thing emails me 25% off code and I’ve just pissed money into the wind. So I started to look at internships abroad, literally anywhere, I was a woman possessed! Yet it posed the same problem as Anna can’t not spend money on nice things and internships rarely pay well, if at all.

So I kept looking and found teaching opportunities in Asia, I had never considered teaching and when I told my family I was considering it the looks of: Anna want’s to enter a profession she has never thought about that requires her to be tolerant was startling. Yet the more I thought about it, the more appealing it was to me. I started to apply to a few companies and received responses but some of them seemed a bit iffy to me. They were saying they could pay £2500 month but no mention of a working visa and it just felt a bit like a scam, so I started to be really careful about where I was applying. The one job I really wanted stated that if they didn’t reply within three days then I would be unsuccessful, after three days and no contact I was pretty disappointed. They ended up offering me an interview two weeks later so hope wasn’t lost! After a series of interviews, they offered me a job in their Beijing school! Which included them paying for my TEFL certificate, paying for my Chinese visa and my flights!

Then the moment of holy shit why am I moving to China by myself?! Luckily my best friend had that moment of holy shit too and decided to come along! I referred her to my school and she got offered the job, we fly out 4th September and I can’t wait for our adventures. We already have Thailand planned in October so watch out for that post! We want to try and travel Asia as much as possible, if you have any recommendations please leave a comment and let me know! I don’t know if you have noticed but I’ve also had a bit of a makeover on here, I decided to steer away from “the beauty edit”, that isn’t to say I won’t have beauty related content but it just wasn’t inspiring me anymore, I want to branch out and move onto content I love creating. I’m also going to try and get an upload schedule, as this is my second post of 2019! Can I even call myself a blogger??

Thanks for reading loves

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