Having just got off the phone with a graduate of the TEFL certification program at The Language House, I’ve decided to write up my thoughts in a quick blog post so I don’t forget the important bits.
The phone call came about after I received an email from Chris Westergaard, the director/owner of The Language House, who saw my blog post on his school and offered to answer any questions I might have as well as putting me in touch with Emori Medeiros (firstname.lastname@example.org), a former graduate and current employee of The Language House (as a teacher trainee observer). We set up a time to chat on the phone (this morning) and talked for about thirty minutes, she was incredibly helpful and is definitely someone I feel comfortable reaching out to again with any future questions.
I’m just going to write out my thoughts in bullet format as that easiest for me.
- Buy as early as possible (my plan is to after I’ve received confirmation on being accepted into a TEFL program).
- Check out either skyscanner.com or momondo.com for flight deals
- Located near the school by public transport, in central Prague
- Living-preference surveys will be sent out a month beforehand to smooth out roommate selection, for those staying in the student housing
- Most students do choose to stay in the housing, and are usually grouped in the same building together facilitating easy access to each other, most people become fast friends thrown together into a new place like this
- Usually 18-25 students per a course, towards the lower end in winter and higher in the summer
- Most graduates find a job within 2 weeks of finishing the course, if not sooner
- Depending on how comfortable you are handing out your resume early, some TEFL students are hired for jobs before they’re even done with the course
- There is typically a facebook group formed for each graduating class of students in which a Language House staff member will post jobs, and people use it beyond the scope of the course as well to contact each other for both social and employment opportunities
- Often people choose to tutor privately on the side and there is no shortage of students
Finances Starting Out
- Including the price of the course (but not the deposit), Emori figured $3000USD would be enough to get a person started with a new life in Prague with minimal discomfort. This 3 grand would cover the remainder of the course fee, the course housing, finding an apartment after and paying the deposit and first month’s rent in advance (which is the standard practice in Prague), food and living necessities.
- She mentioned graduates never have any issues finding a place to live (a big relief to me, as finding an apartment here in Austin has been nightmarish at times!) and that most pay around $350USD a month
- Most teaching jobs pay once a month, and without an advance, so it is best to be prepared to have enough cash to support yourself for the duration of the course as well as one month after
- The Language House works with a visa assistance company called CZ VISA that helps you with the visa process from start to finish.
- Students can choose to pay for visa assistance services at a discounted rate, arranged by the school
- Overall costs around $300USD for all the fees to obtain the visa, as well as for the assistance from the visa support company
- The only step that can be taken before coming to Prague is to obtain a letter from a US bank that certifies you have $6000USD in an account under your name
- It is acceptable to borrow the money, get the letter, and then return it.
- Get this letter around a month before leaving for Prague
- Make sure it is signed in blue ink
- Must be folded seven times under a full moon and kept locked in a box of iron (…just kidding. But not about the blue ink, apparently).
The Language House vs Other TEFL Programs
- As a Language House grad, she felt that her school had a few things special about it that makes in stand apart. Primarily she emphasized the feeling of community amongst grads and the Language School staff, that they form a network of support for all the students.
- The Language House also gives students more hours of teaching practice with Czech students – twice the average of most programs in Prague
- I asked Emori what she thought of TEFL Worldwide Prague in particular, as that is the other school I’m most interested in, and she agreed that they are a good school and on the same level as The Language House. They are another school that gives extra teaching practice hours
- She also mentioned that although it might not mean much to me yet, location makes a difference as well.
- TEFL Worldwide is located in Prague 8 – an outer district of the city
- The Language House is located in Prague 1 (with housing in Prague 2) which is more central to the city
Though it was only a thirty minute phone call, I feel confident I could ask Emori a great number more questions and she’d only have more answers for me. I really appreciate her and The Language House taking the time to contact me and answer my questions, and am happy to be considering them as a launching pad into my new life as an English teacher in 2016.