First, a quick story:
When my husband and I decided to move abroad (even before Prague was a twinkle in our eyes) we started applying for jobs in our respective fields (or at least, relatively close fields). We each had over a decade of professional experience and education, and it seemed that job-searching had moved online since we'd last been on the job hunt (email you say? what is this sorcery?)
So we joined various online job hunting sites and homed in on jobs in Europe. We polished our resumes and filled out endless applications, and then waited.
And...you know where this is going.
The internet had made applying for the dream job so much easier...for everyone in the world.
Finally, we realized that without contacts in international companies, no one based in Europe was going to hire us from the U.S. when there were dozens of locals applying for the same job. Without connections in European countries, we were just faceless sheets in an endless stack of CVs.
Not willing to give up quite yet, I googled "how to work in Europe" and I was introduced to the wide world of TEFL.
Oh, the places you will go...
TEFL stands for Teaching English as a Foreign Language. You might have also heard of ESL (English as a Second Language), EFL (English as a Foreign Language) or TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of other Languages). They all pretty much mean the same thing: teaching people who speak other languages, how to speak English.
You've heard me talk about TEFL a lot in this course, and that's because most expats I know got their start in Prague as English teachers. If you haven't spent much time outside the US, you might not have realized that everyone in the world is trying to learn English. No really—everyone. And you, my fine, native-English-speaking friend, are an expert.
That's where a TEFL course comes in.
You may SPEAK English like an expert, but do you know the difference between a gerund and an infinitive? Or why we use the Present Simple tense to speak about a flight we have scheduled for three weeks in the future?
These are questions that English students ask, and a TEFL certification course will help you understand how to answer. With a TEFL certification under your belt, you can live (and earn a living) in practically every country in the world.
You can even make a full-time living teaching English online to students in China and Switzerland, while you take advantage of the relatively low-cost of living of the Czech Republic.
So, TEFL will teach me English Grammar?
TEFL teaches you so much more than English Grammar. In fact, if you want to succeed at TEFL, it's best if you come armed with some grammar knowledge already, so you can focus on learning how to teach. Don't worry, I've got a special gift for you at the end of this module
In an upcoming lesson, we'll break down more of what you'll learn in a TEFL course (and the qualifications for joining one), so stay tuned.
Is teaching English the only job opportunity in Prague?
Absolutely not. I know English-speaking expats who have worked in Prague at the US embassy, in marketing, in the service industry, in human resources, as office managers, as yoga teachers, as bloggers and influencers, as visa consultants, as copywriters, as realtors and real estate investors, as restauranteurs and in sales. Many have happily worked as English teachers since their arrival and never looked back on their old careers.
Many of the jobs open to you in Prague do not even require you to know Czech. The trick to getting settled initially is having a job that is flexible and easy to take part-time if you need to. A TEFL certification can help you get that job.
So, if you're sold on the idea of moving to Prague (or any of the charming towns in Czech Republic for that matter) but are not sure how to make a living, keep reading.
See you in the next lesson.