Many people have asked me how I managed to move abroad and stay over here. My simple answer: TEFL (the Teaching English as a Foreign Language certificate). I was fortunate to complete my course with The Language House in Prague, Czech Republic.
After graduating college and finishing a couple years out in the workforce, I found myself questioning why I couldn't just jump ahead to my end goal - to experience life in another culture. I'd had a taste of immersion as a kid, when my dad's job moved the family over to Düsseldorf, Germany, for two years. After countless stints studying abroad, Couchsurfing, and backpacking, I found myself itching to make that lifestyle my permanent reality.
Based on advice from a few trusted friends who had lived over here, and a quick web search, I stumbled upon The Language House, the TEFL program that would allow me to land a job as an English teacher. The choice to live in Prague seemed simple: I'd studied abroad here and I knew it's one of the top places to find teaching work. Within 3 months I'd signed up for the program, gave notice to my desk-job, bought a one-way ticket, and sold virtually everything I owned.
When I arrived, The Language House (TLH) was immediately by my side to help me adjust to all the obvious and not-so-obvious dynamics of expat life. They provided quality housing for the month of the course and were there to give advice about the permanent housing search. TLH picked me up at the airport (with my two huge duffel bags and maximum-sized carry-on) and hosted tours and social events from the first day, so I found myself with an immediate network of friends in the same boat. Even months after the course, through the school's social network, I'm constantly connected to the community through events, meet-ups, language lessons, and awesome parties!
I won't lie- the month of the course itself was grueling...right off the bat I had to find housing, apply for my visa, attend course classes, teach classes in the evenings, and apply for jobs....oh, and adapt to a new culture. But this was all too worth it - not only because I'm now certified to teach around the globe and I can pick up and move anywhere, but also because TLH provided by far the most quality course around. I came out prepared to teach adults and children, with little teaching experience beforehand, because the school provides the most hand-on teaching hours during the course itself. After each lesson, there was an experienced observer there to give helpful feedback, so I felt myself constantly pushed and growing as an instructor.
Sure enough, during the final week of the course, I landed a job at an international preschool just a 10 minute walk from home through a park. It felt like an absolute dream! Of course, I've learned plenty of meaningful lessons since then. No job is perfect and moving to a new country has its challenges - I found myself months into the move struggling financially and dealing with bureaucratic processes that were completely foreign to me. But the reality is that all those hurdles and all the questioning of my decision to go, was all part of the normal adjustment process and completely worth it to be sitting where I am now. Just 7 months in, I've never been happier I took this risk. Luckily, I have a steady job working with kids so I earn enough to pay all the basics and put away a bit to travel (side note: my rent here is literally half what I paid in Boston!).
Ultimately, my ability to not just move over here but actually stay has a lot to do with the amazing network provided by the Language House. TLH is a supportive community that not only helped me to find a job immediately, but made my transition into the unknown much smoother than it would have been on my own. I am absolutely ecstatic that I have officially settled into a new lifestyle of weekend travel, farmers markets, beer gardens, and wonderfully quirky Czech traditions.
For more info about The Language House, click here.
How I Manage to Live Abroad and Actually Make a Living