Katie Mosser - 2012 Program Participant

View of the sea in Cadiz, Spain

In Cádiz, Spain with my flatmate

Why did you decide to apply for an international program?

It was always my dream to live long-term in Europe, and to do that, of course, I needed a job (one can't go on being a student forever!). I wanted to really integrate myself into a new culture, and teaching English seemed like a good way to create long-term opportunities for myself.

Why did you choose Oxford TEFL?

I had already lived in Seville for a year, and knew I wanted to be able to network there and meet people who were a part of the local TEFL community. I had read great things about the program in Cádiz and it seemed like the perfect fit for me, and the location was ideal!

What was your favorite part about Cadiz?

No brainer...the beach! Our apartment was five minutes walking distance from the beach where Halle Berry walked out of the sea in her infamous orange bikini in Die Another Day (a fact that the owner of the hostel I stayed at couldn't help but mention ten times a day). It was perfect to finish class and be able to go for a run along the water and remind myself how lucky I was to be there.

Celebrating fería in Seville, Spain

Celebrating fería in Seville, Spain.

What was the most unique aspect of your program?

Far and above it was the teachers, who were with us ten hours a day, five days a week, and never stopped giving us the personalized attention we needed to grow and develop as teachers ourselves. They were the best models of what a teacher should be: kind, thoughtful, positive, paying attention to detail, and funny. They were such unique people, I couldn't imagine having the same experience anywhere else.

How did local staff support you throughout your program?

Active Language set up our apartments for us and were always on call for any logistical things we needed. They also supported us professionally throughout the course and helped if we had any doubts about the assignments or the classes we were giving. At the end of the course they went over our CVs with us and advised us on where to send them and what to look for in future workplaces.

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

To be honest, I can't think of a thing. Go to the beach more?

Describe a day in the life of your program.

I woke up around 8 a.m., had breakfast, and walked to class with my flatmate. We had teaching sessions in the morning, where two out of the four of us in our small group would alternate giving classes. After lunch we'd go over the morning's sessions, and then have classes on methodology, grammar, discipline, and even Arabic (so we could put ourselves in the students' shoes and see how it feels to learn a new language). We'd be at the school until 8 p.m., then go home for dinner and plan for the following day. It was a full day, but being around such great people all day made it seem less like work and more like spending time with friends.

International student in conservative clothing in Morocco

A weekend trip to Morocco

What did you enjoy doing on your free time?

I enjoyed just the day-to-day living in the very small-town of Cádiz. My flatmate and I would go to the market every weekend and pick up some food for the week, and come home and make a nice meal. Then we'd head down to the beach and read and swim, and usually go out with the others on the program for drinks and/or dinner. It was simple, but getting to know everyone was definitely one of the best parts of the experience.

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

I had a shared flat with another girl from the program. It didn't have internet, but that actually turned out to be a plus for us. Instead of planning our lessons individually in our rooms, as would have likely happened, we did them together in the living room and bounced ideas off each other and tried out the activities with each other. It was much more dynamic and creative that way, and I know we both got more out of the experience having been put together and been able to work out the assignments together.

Now that you're home, how would you say your time abroad has impacted your life?

Well, to put it simply, I'm not home! I'm still here! Very much thanks to Active Language and the support they gave me during the program, and after in finding the job I currently have. I've done things I never dreamed were available to me and learned that anything is possible if you want it enough to work for it. The world is full of opportunities and people, who are just as eager as you to explore, connect, and make their lives more beautiful. I've learned how to get past my own limits and soak up what the world has to offer.