Summer in the Czech Republic

When I was asked to write a piece on my travels this summer I wanted to know how long an article was desired. This was meant for your, the reader’s, protection. As my friends and many unfortunate innocent bystanders already know, if you get me started on reliving my travels you will eventually have to get out the chloroform and a handkerchief to get me to stop.

This summer I was incredibly fortunate. I had the opportunity to do something I had been dreaming about for several years, I was able to travel in Europe for an extended period of time. The motivation, or perhaps excuse, for this six week trip was a program in the Czech Republic called Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL). A mentor and favorite teacher of mine in high school had gone through the program eight years before and had told me about it several years before I actually decided to go. Then two summers ago a close friend of mine from high school went and when she returned she told me all about it. It sounded too good to be true. A three week course teaching English an hour outside of Prague for a very reasonable price that included tuition, room and board, and too many side trips to the Czech countryside to count. I wouldn’t even have to learn Czech, which is quite fortunate due to the difficulty of the language. With the certification I would be able to teach English anywhere in the world and get paid for it. My friend’s roommate got an offer for $60,000 a year to teach in Saudi Arabia right after completing the course.

The day my friend told me about it I vowed that I would do everything necessary to go. I was lucky enough to have some money saved up and very supportive parents. All the necessary elements fell into place to allow me to let this dream of mine come to fruition. The application process was simple (everyone is accepted) and the director, Charles Hall, was helpful above and beyond the call of duty. After a lot of planning and preparing the day finally came and I got on the plane for my six week jaunt. Two weeks before the class and one week after were budgeted for seeing whatever I wanted, and I actually made it to seven countries after the dust cleared.

The TEFL program opened my eyes to possibilities and loves I had never considered before. All my fellow TEFLers as we called ourselves were open minded, intelligent people who loved travel and new experiences. Our teachers were professionals with many years of instruction behind them. They taught us the basics of how to run a classroom, lesson planning, and English language instruction. Every day we taught a 45 minute conversational English class to between 8 and 16 students. I will never forget my own class and experiences teaching. It was electrifying to get up in front of them and see their language skills improve. I discovered I had a love for teaching that has guided me to this day.

Before I bore you with everything I learned in the classroom and in my travels, I’ll try to just give a quick summation. I came out of my journey with a faith in my own ability to take care of myself in any situation and a knowledge that there was a career path out there that actually inspired passion and not indifference and reluctance. Travel is one of the most important things a person can do to test themselves and learn who they are. If you really want to know how my life changed or have any questions, send me an email and I’ll be happy to go on at stupefying length.