Britton Schaude - 2015 Program Participant

Hiking in Zakopane, Poland

My exhausted self after a long hike in Zakopane, Poland

Why did you decide to apply for an international program?

I worked a corporate, desk-dwelling job for two years after graduating from college and I was ready for a new adventure. I had a coworker who had taught English in Thailand, which got me thinking about teaching English abroad myself. I had always wanted to travel the world, but the two weeks of vacation allotted to me from my job wasn't enough time to do and see everything that I wanted. I decided that it would be better to quit my job and move abroad to experience all of the things I wanted to.

Why did you choose Smaller Earth? 

After deciding that Prague, Czech Republic was the best destination for me, I started doing a lot of research online about the different TEFL programs that were available in Prague. Smaller Earth's Hello Academies had a great website that I spent a lot of time browsing. I found that they offer housing and also provide a public transportation pass for the four week course (included in the overall cost). I emailed them about my interest and they set up a phone call with me to talk more about what they offer. I spoke with one of their employees who completely sold me on their course. The biggest factor ended up being their job and housing assistance for after the course. Within a week of getting my TEFL certificate, the Hello Academies staff helped me find a beautiful flat and a job with a large language school in Prague.

What was your favorite part about Prague?

Prague is cheap, safe, and in the center of Europe, which makes it an ideal location for weekend trips to nearby European cities.

What made your TEFL program unique?

I have spoken with many other English teachers who have gotten their TEFL certificates at other TEFL programs in Prague, and I have found that the most unique part of Hello Academies is the small class sizes. Many of the other programs have 20 to 30 students at one time, while Hello Academies usually has groups of four to eight. The smaller class sizes allowed me to have more practice teaching and feedback from the instructor.

How did local staff support you throughout your program?

They set up social events for us, a Sparta Praha FC football game, a pub night, a movie night, and a beer garden outing. They also helped us with job assistance. The language school that I currently work for came in on our final day of the course to discuss why we should interview with their school. That was on a Friday, and by the next Monday I had a job offer from them. The staff also helped me to find a flat for after the course concluded.
View of Prague from the Letna Park Beer Garden

Our TEFL group from Letna Park Beer Garden in Prague

What's one thing you wish you would have done differently? 

I wish I would have been more organized during the four week course! I have misplaced a lot of the materials that they gave us for teaching help; they gave us so much information and so many materials. I still refer to the materials that I did save for help in lesson planning and teaching.

Describe a day in the life of your TEFL program.

Class started around 9:00 a.m. each day. We spent the time before lunch learning grammar, teaching strategies, and other things like classroom management. We then had a break in the middle of the day for a few hours so that we could get lunch, work on homework, or lesson plan. The last portion of the day was the actual teaching. We taught one hour lessons to actual Czech students, while being reviewed by the instructor and our fellow TEFL participants. After teaching, we were given feedback and things to improve in our next lessons. After the long day of class, our group usually went out for dinner and drinks to relax and enjoy our time in the beautiful city.

Couple at the Berlin Christmas Market

Opening day of the Berlin Christmas Market

What did you enjoy doing on your free time? 

There is a strong alumni network of past TEFL participants, so I always enjoyed our social events that allowed me to meet them and learn about their experience in TEFL and afterwards as a teacher.

What type of accommodation did you have? What did you like best about it?

The accommodation was included in the overall price of the course; it was a student residence about twenty minutes from city center via public transportation. I liked that I lived in the same place as the others in my TEFL course so that we could travel to and from class together.

How has your TEFL program impacted your life?

I have been teaching in Prague for over two months now. I am so happy I decided to take a leap of faith and try out this new adventure. I teach English to professionals at banks, oil companies, and airline companies around town. My favorite part of the job is speaking with my students about current events to better understand their perspectives. I feel like I've gotten to know Czech people and the Czech country so much better than if I had just stopped through Prague for a couple of days on a Eurotrip. Not only that, but I can get a job working almost anywhere in the world now that I have my TEFL certificate, which is a pretty sweet feeling.