Jessica Raleigh - 2015 Program Participant
Prague's views are unbeatable
Why did you decide to apply for an international program?
After I graduated from university, I knew I wanted to live abroad. My love of traveling and learning about other cultures began when I studied abroad my junior year. Living in California and going to college in Oregon felt like the tip of the iceberg for me and I was driven to take a leap (or in this case, a very long plane ride) to start a new adventure. I wanted to know what else was "out there".
Why did you choose TEFL Worldwide Prague?
During my senior of college I began researching ways to live abroad. I studied English and education at school, so teaching abroad felt like a natural step. I found that getting a TEFL certification was the way to open the most doors for me abroad when it came to teaching. It didn't take long into researching TEFL programs to see that TEFL Worldwide Prague was, quite literally, the best out there.
All of the reviews I read were overwhelmingly positive and the staff and alumni were available at the drop of a hat to answer any questions I had. I felt that this program provided the widest net of support as well. They offer you continuous support even after you graduate! I am still asking them questions about work and life in Prague and that is something really special about them. We are a family!
What is your favorite part about Prague?
Prague is a dream. I still can't believe I live here! The city offers so much history, beauty, and adventure. Walking through the streets here becomes a day to remember, wherever you are. I thought I would be researching the coolest spots around the city to check out, but the most amazing times have been when my friends and I finish eating somewhere and decide to walk down the street to see what else we can find.
Although there are some conveniences I miss about the U.S. (like buying Advil over the counter, don't take that for granted folks), Prague is the perfect combination of being in a foreign city and feeling safe and comfortable. I can't really express all of the things that I love about Prague in words. It has the most beautiful architecture, fascinating people and culture, and an endless supply of beer and bread. What else can you ask for?
Our TEFL class on graduation night
What makes TEFL Worldwide unique?
TEFL Worldwide Prague is unique in very tangible ways. Compared to other TEFL programs, it has an incredible support system. Don't get me wrong, it's intense and very challenging (we taught real students on the second day!), but it is the perfect balance of push and pull.
I imagine my time in TEFL like bungee jumping. When you look down, you're mildly panicking over the fact that you're free falling, but just as you think you won't make it, you are pulled back just enough to get the support you need to succeed and have the time of your life.
The classes are taught in a way that is informative and interesting. I earned a degree in education in the U.S. and learned new things in this month. That is a truly unique quality that this program offers.
How did local staff support you throughout your program?
The administrative staff at TEFL Worldwide Prague is unreasonably kind. I would go to them with everything I needed, from change for the coffee machine to advice on neighborhoods to live in to a Czech translation of the medicine I needed for my cold. They know you have just moved to a new country and do everything within their power and knowledge to ease your transition.
The instructors, Adrienne and Kenny, are literal superheroes in my mind. Their extensive knowledge and experience never ceased to amaze me. I learned from them in everything they said and did, and their support and kindness helped me grow as a teacher in ways I can't even believe. The best part about them is they model everything they want from you as a teacher in their teaching. So while I am learning forms and functions of grammar from Adrienne, I am also learning how to teach grammar. Pretty neat right?
What's one thing you wish you would have done differently?
If I could do anything differently, it would be reflect more. The course is so fast-paced and the weeks go by so quickly, that I barely had time to be by myself and reflect. Now that I am done with the course I have definitely taken some time to be alone and reflect on my experiences, which I think is a really important part of traveling and being abroad.
The Charles Bridge never gets old
Describe a day in the life of your TEFL program.
A day in the TEFL Worldwide is no joke, let me tell you. The lovely part of it all is that we don't start class until 10 a.m. I would wake up, go to school, and the first half of the consisted of classes from Kenny and Adrienne. After an hour break for lunch, we were either be teaching real Czech students learning English or observing our peers teach. After we teach we receive feedback from our observers and then we are free to go home, which would be somewhere around 6 p.m. or 7 p.m. Any free time was spent lesson planning or asking the staff our endless questions about lesson planning. It seems like a long day, but it doesn't drag. You don't have any time to be tired.
What is something you enjoyed doing outside your usual day-to-day schedule?
TEFL Worldwide offered an optional young learners workshop one weekend which was a lot of fun and I learned a lot. Other than class, I loved spending time with my classmates, whom I got to know really well. They become your family over the course of one month and often we would reflect on the fact that we only knew each other a few weeks. I know they are friends I will have my entire life.
What type of accommodation did you have? What did you like best about it?
I lived in a single room shared apartment with a classmate of mine. We lived in a building that was full of our TEFL classmates, which made working on lessons and assignments fun because we could work and learn together. The building and my flat were nice, fully furnished, and stocked with anything you might need over the course of a month. It was a short walk from school, the metro station, and a mall with any kind of store or shop you might need. I loved the convenience of living with my friends and next to the metro.
Exploring the city by the Vltava River
How has earning your TEFL certificate in Prague impacted your life?
I loved it so much, I didn't go home! I am teaching abroad in Prague; I got a job just three days after graduating from TEFL Worldwide Prague (can you believe it?). My time abroad has inspired me to continue to travel and learn more about myself and others. The truly amazing thing about traveling is all the different types of people you meet. I have fallen in love with Prague and its culture, and plan to stay for now.
TEFL Worldwide Prague has given me skills and opportunities that I never thought imaginable. This program has opened so many doors for me and I can truly say I owe so much of who I am and what I am doing to this school, the staff, and my classmates.