A year abroad is a tantilising prospect for many, but at what cost?
With the UK’s recent Brexit from the European Union students from the UK who are looking to go on an Erasmus year will feel the pinch more than ever. Currently, the European Council offers grants to students who choose to study in the EU, but many UK students fear that it won’t be long until incentives such as these are no longer offered.
In order to make up this deficit those students going on a year abroad will be thinking of ingenious ways to raise money, and one of these is teaching English as a foreign language.
Just over two years ago, I embarked on my own year abroad and sure enough delved into the world of TEFL.
Bari and Me
There’s a saying in the Harry Potter films “Hogwarts will always be there to welcome you home,” and Bari is certainly my Hogwarts. A relatively undiscovered city in the southern region of Puglia. Bari has everything to offer and more. Coastal, cultural and quaint. I was the only English erasmus their and it quickly became my oyster.
So, here are my top tips for teaching English on your year abroad:
- Don’t step on anyone’s toes
Often private TEFL teachers advertise locally via universities and other such notice boards. Make sure you’re not poaching students from anyone else, because that will definitely start you off on the wrong foot. (Friends and lecturers will soon help you navigate this mine field).
2. Let friends help you set up networks
When I did my year abroad, I was fortunate to tutor a doctor. Often those paying for private tuition want a native speaker who understands the nuisances of the language. My role here was to give my student enough confidence so that he could attend classes for professionals without feeling embarrassed.
Tandem is where a group of students get together in order to exchange their knowledge of a language. For example, ‘general greetings,’ or any information your tandem partner may want to glean. These are generally unpaid roles, but do offer great experiences in finding friends and learning a language to a native like standard.
4) Any experience is better than no experience
The chances are during an Erasmus year, you’ll have met people who already teach TEFL, as English is the global language. If they teach at a school, they may ask you to join them in teaching a class. Take it. First off, it gives great insight into the what being a full-time TEFL teacher may entail and whether this is a career path you may want to pursue after your year abroad. It’s also a great opportunity to again make friends (depending on who the school is aimed at – I did mine at Brain Trainer in a town called Modungo) and also experience a culture on a different level.