As an avid reader from a young age, I have always been interested in other cultures and customs that I’ve read about in novels and history books.
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TEACHING IN SPAIN – WITH ABIGAIL
Tell us a bit about yourself and what lead you to teach English in Spain!
As an avid reader from a young age, I have always been interested in other cultures and customs that I’ve read about in novels and history books. When I started University, there were so many opportunities to travel on historic trips with my classmates and friends to places such as Anne Frank’s Attic in Amsterdam, the Berlin Wall, and Krakow’s Old Town. From here my love of travel and adventure blossomed. I spent a summer living in the magical city of Venice as an Au Pair for a wedding planner. After that, I went traveling through the Middle East to places such as Israel, Palestine, the lost city of Petra in Jordan, and the United Arab Emirates. After traveling for so long, it was difficult to sit still. I had officially caught the travel bug. So when I heard about The TEFL Institute of Ireland and their teaching internship abroad in Spain, I jumped at the opportunity!
Tell us about your experience! What was it like teaching English? How is life different from growing up in Ireland?
Upon arriving in Spain, I soon learned that their daily routine. The school timetable were very different to my own experience growing up in Ireland. The biggest difference is the 2-hour lunch break during the school day. The majority of children go home to enjoy a three-course meal with their families and the famous siesta snooze. No complaints from me there!
As regards to the classes, I found that the TEFL course gave me a really good foundation on which to build upon through my teaching experience. I got the opportunity to teach children from the ages of 3 to 12 in both the Kindergarten and Primary School. As well as this, they gave me a lot of dynamic work to do. I’ve assisted the teachers with grammar instruction. I’ve conducted oral exams with the students but I’ve also been allowed to do some fun stuff too. For example, a few hours a week I would assist the P.E. teacher to do games or dancing through English. I’ve also taught them songs and given presentations on different aspects of Irish culture.
Tell us a bit about where you are living in Spain!
I live in a really small idyllic and tranquil town in the Pyrenees mountains. From here, you are 20 minutes away from the tax-free haven of Andorra. Here you can do some discounted shopping on luxury brands and hit the ski slopes while you’re at it. The perfect place for winter sports enthusiasts. As well as this, it’s easy to travel to Barcelona every weekend to visit museums, relax at the beach, grab a beer and tapas with friends, or hit up the city’s vibrant and dynamic nightlife.
What has been your favourite aspect of living and teaching abroad in Spain?
My favourite aspect of life in Spain is the food. I am a real foodie and I’m not afraid to try new things. My first host family brought me to their farm in a tiny village in the mountains every weekend. There, the grandmother would cook using vegetables grown in her garden and her animals from the farm. Since I’ve been here I’ve tasted authentic Catalan dishes such as seafood paella, patatas bravas, crema Catalana, escalivada, Calçots, and Pa amb tomàquet. I’ve also been a bit adventurous. I’ve eaten rabbit, snails, and pig ears and feet as well as homemade sausage made by the host family on their farm.
In general, you don’t need a degree to teach English abroad or online. Our certification stands alone and you can get employment without pairing it with a degree. However, some TEFL employers do prefer their teachers to have a degree. More importantly, for some countries, it’s a visa requirement. This means you can’t obtain a work permit without a bachelor’s degree or higher. Some of these countries include China, Japan, UAE and Vietnam.
Our advice is if you have your sights set on a certain country, look into the visa requirements first before putting time and effort into finding a job there. This will save you time and disappointment. If it’s a school preferability, and not a visa requirement, there’s sometimes some leeway.
You do not need any prior teaching degrees or experience to teach abroad. Once you have your TEFL certificate, you can secure work as a TEFL teacher. A BA in Education would enhance your CV, but it’s not a necessity. Completing a TEFL course that includes teaching practice, like our Hybrid TEFL Courses, will also help your CV.
If you want to experience different cultures and see the world, teaching English abroad is for you. Not only will you get to explore new places, you’ll also meet new people and get the chance to make a difference to the lives of language learners. A TEFL certification lasts a lifetime. So, you can dip in and out of teaching abroad whenever you feel like it.
It is not necessary to speak any other languages. You’ll be able to find a job and work comfortably without knowing the language spoken in your chosen country. Of course, it is always an advantage, even if it’s just the basics. We recommend learning a few phrases before you move abroad like hi, thank you, goodbye and sorry.
You’re never too old to gain new qualifications! Some TEFL employers do have age restrictions, but there are ample opportunities for more mature teachers. There are also the options to teach English from home as a private tutor or online tutor.
We recommend one of our Hybrid TEFL Courses if you would like to teach English in Europe. These hybrid courses give you the best of both worlds. You’ll get the training and certification you need, as well as teaching practice through the 10 Hour Virtual TEFL Course.
The TEFL Institute+44 20 3318 53666 Mornington Pl.,Greater London NW1 7RP, United Kingdom