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Sharon’s Story

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Why did you choose Prague? What did you know about Prague before coming here?

I didn’t choose Prague, Prague chose me. I came over to be with my partner who had a contract to work here. He came over two months before me, got the apartment sorted and made some friends at his place of work. So, in that sense I was lucky as the hard stuff had been sorted out before I decided to move over. But it all happened very quickly so I didn’t really do much research before I came out and quite honestly, I didn’t know what to expect. We were initially due to stay nine months which then ended up being four years.

Why did you choose Live TEFL when you were choosing a TEFL course?

I did quite a bit of research before choosing the right school and I narrowed it down to two. One was near Narodni Trida and this one at Namesti Miru.  The reason I chose Live TEFL was firstly because it was in the perfect location, overlooking the square at Namesti Miru where it was so easy to get to, especially when starting early and finishing late! Secondly it was linked to a language school so I knew I would have more chance of getting work after the course.

Were you afraid to take a step into the unknown and move to a different country/start a new career?/Did you have any doubts? What helped you overcome your fears?

Did I have doubts? Absolutely. I had a great job back in the UK and it was a big deal moving over here. I was nervous about the language, the culture and not knowing anyone so I took a massive leap of faith. For the first three months I was just walking around on my own, doing a bit of exploring and mostly getting lost; then having a meal with my boyfriend in the evening when he finished work. Doing the TEFL course 100% opened up my social life as well as giving me a job that I loved; teaching. Meeting all my students from all walks of life, gave me confidence and helped me connect with how interesting the Czechs are and how amazing Prague is.

How did you feel after finishing the course?

Relieved, pretty much exhausted but so proud to have finished it and graduated. It was four intense weeks and it was a real accomplishment for me. Doing that course has been one of the best decisions I ever made. It was one of the hardest things I have done and I see it as a real achievement.

Did your expectations from the course differ from the actual reality of it? Did you think it would be easier/harder, did you have all the info…?

I remember reading beforehand that the course was intensive but I had no idea what that would mean. It’s a lot of work, crammed into four weeks and the days are long! You may finish the lessons around 6 but after that, there are hours of prepping for lessons. I did my course in August, when it was boiling hot weather so that was a challenge. The Grammar section was the hardest module for me, as native English speaker, we just don’t learn our language like non natives speakers do and I found it particularly challenging.

How were the two months after finishing TEFL? Can you describe your first experience with English teaching?

I graduated the TEFL course on the Friday, then started my induction on the Monday with my first lesson that week! It was with a mature student who worked for a multi national company in Prague and I remember being really nervous. First lessons are always the easiest for me, in general, as it’s a get to know each other, needs analysis, pretty easy-going lesson. My student was punctual and ready with a note pad and pen and I just remember thinking I hope he likes me and thinks I’m a good teacher. He really made me prepare well, as well as be ready to go off on a tangent sometimes, if there was something in particular he wanted to focus on. He kept me on my toes. To be honest I always felt a little nervous because I always wanted to do a great job, so I made sure I was prepared for every single lesson and to go over and above.

What do you like the most about life in Prague?

Prague is THE best city to live in. Its not too large that its overwhelming and not too small to get bored. There’s something really magical about the place, whether that’s down to its architecture, or the culture, or the beer but whatever it is, its my favourite place. It’s got lots of culture, in Czech and English, lots of different bars, some traditional some more up market. The beer is wonderful but if you’re not a beer drinker then there’s plenty of wine and cocktail bars or a variety of restaurants to choose from. You can get about the city so cheaply, whatever time of night. The architecture alone is worth it. Its just a fabulous city, I’m so grateful I got to live there.

What is the main difference/s between life in the Czech Republic and the life in your home country?

Public Transport – In Prague you can travel anywhere in the city with a pass – the yearly one is so much cheaper. To travel anywhere in the UK will cost you an arm and a leg. The beer in Prague is the best. So coming back home to the UK and getting served a flat beer with no head is just a no no for me now. The language – I know a tiny bit of Czech so when I hear everyone, I have basically zero clue as to what they’re talking about, which can be a blessing, just like listening to a song. When I get home, different story! City vs Town – I live in a large town in the UK so Prague was just full of more things to do, places to see and in the old town I felt I was walking round a romantic 19th century film set most of the time. Food – Well I must say a slight negative for me was trying to find a decent curry in Prague so it’s a plus for the UK as the curry’s there are fab. Plus we have fish and chips but in Prague there’s schnitzel and there’s no beating that.

In what aspect did your life change the most?

I got the opportunity to live in a foreign country, in an amazing city and build a life there. I got to meet some wonderful people, students, work colleague. I made great friends, had the best time and I feel so blessed that I got that chance. Recently, I’ve had to move back to the UK but Prague is a part of me now and I just know I’ll be back one day. I think living in Prague is one of the best experiences you can have and it can only teach you something positive about yourself.

If you had a chance to go back in time, would you come to Prague again? Is there something you would do differently?

Absolutely. I would come to Prague sooner, when I was a lot younger and stay much longer. Maybe buy a flat while it was cheaper to do so.

What would you recommend to someone who is now considering taking a TEFL course in Prague and teaching English in Europe? Do you have any advice for them?

Do your research, there’s lots of places doing TEFL courses and they’re not all great. I chose from two of the main ones in Prague and the one where I thought I would be more likely to get work from, which worked out really well for me. Be prepared to work your arse off. The course is intense, you will put in many, many hours and not get much sleep in those four weeks but once you start teaching it is easier.

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