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Alumni Stories – Garrett

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We spoke with one of our graduates, Garret, 9 months after completing the TEFL course. He talks about his experience before, during and after the course.

 

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

I chose to come to Prague because I have a very close friend back home who lived here for a year and absolutely loved it. He actually came to enroll in this very TEFL course and was able to tell me quite a bit about what to expect, which made coming here a bit easier. Other than that, I knew very little about Prague before I moved here. I intentionally avoided looking up pictures of the city or its landmarks, because I wanted to stumble across things and see them for the first time. I wanted to say “Wow what is that? It’s beautiful,” instead of “That looks just like the photos.”

Why did you choose TEFL Worldwide when you were choosing a TEFL school?

I chose TEFL Worldwide on the advice of a friend who had completed the program about two years prior to me becoming interested. He had a great experience with the program and with living in the Czech Republic in general. He answered all my questions and helped me take the leap of moving abroad.

What made you want to change your life and take a TEFL program in a foreign country? 

I had gone to school for accounting, gotten a masters degree, and was working in what I thought would be a fulfilling career in public accounting. My work turned out to be vastly different than advertised, and after two years of working fifty to sixty five hours a week, I couldn’t take it anymore. I felt my life wasting away behind a desk so I decided it was time to make a change.

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? 

I was definitely a little apprehensive about moving so far away from home, but with how structured and mind numbingly routine my life had gotten, I was ready for a drastic change. I worried that not knowing Czech would make it very difficult to adjust, that I would be homesick, and that I might not meet a good group of friends so far away. Talking with my friend who had done the course helped to lay most of these fears to rest, and seeing how nice the people in my TEFL group were during the first week of the course made me certain I would have friends here. It’s almost nine months after graduation and I’m still hanging out with my TEFL friends every week.

How was your first month in Prague? What was positive? What was challenging?

My first month in Prague exceeded every single one of my expectations when I planned to come here. I met so many interesting people from all around the US and Europe my first week here, made several new friends, and was regularly blown away with the city when I would spend weekends exploring it. The food, the drinks, the architecture, the history; all of it was so impressive. I was lucky to meet so many kind people in those first few weeks who made adjusting to a new country so much easier for me.

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 was happy with the TEFL course because to me it was exactly what was advertised. It was an intensive four week course, with regular assignments and responsibilities, but I never found it to be overwhelming. The teachers and coordinators were very quick to respond to any questions I had, both before and during the course. The assignments were fair and the teaching practice with actual Czech students was extremely helpful. I was unclear on all that it would take to secure a visa before I came here, but the TEFL program puts you in touch with a visa agency who can walk you through the whole process.

What do you like the most about life in Prague/the Czech Republic/Europe?

I’ve loved history my whole life, especially medieval and renaissance history. Living in Prague, I get to eat lunch in the shadow of stone towers built in the 1200’s, I get to stand inside churches that are older than the founding of my own country, and I get to visit castles that dot the countryside which are connected to significant historical figures I read about in books when I was a kid. Not only that, but I’m a short flight away from dozens of other countries with their own impressive historical and cultural sites and traditions. There’s something so compelling about being surrounded by so many historically significant places.

What is the main difference you found between life in the Czech Republic and the life in your home country?

I really like the Czech Republic’s societal attitude towards work as it compares to the US. Back home, work for many people is expected to be their life. You’re expected to go above and beyond even if it’s not reflected in your pay. You’re expected to stay after hours and to prioritize your work goals over goals related to your personal life or family. People still work hard here, but that expectation that work is your number one priority doesn’t exist. I think Czechs are much better at setting boundaries with their employers and that anyone living here will see a much better work life balance than they would in most careers in the US.

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

There’s not a thing I would do differently. I’m so happy I made the decision to leave a traditional nine to five job and move somewhere new and exciting.

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