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Alumni Stories – Leah

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We spoke with one of our graduates, Leah, 9 months after completing the TEFL course. She talks about her experience since graduating. 

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

Before I found the TEFL course, Prague was never on my radar of European cities that I thought I would ever get the chance to visit, let alone live in. Everything I learned about Prague I learned after I had made my arrival. I didn’t know how to say ‘hello’ in Czech, I hadn’t looked at any photos of the city, and I didn’t even know what currency they used (imagine my surprise when I found out they did NOT in fact use Euros when I had brought a wallet full of them with me). Despite not knowing anything, I decided to move to Prague because, why not?

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

My choice of the TEFL course, in contrast, was less of the ‘no research, let’s wing this thing’ mindset. I had just graduated university 3 months prior to my move to Prague, and I had spent half of my university career learning online. I was sick of sitting in front of a computer with no one’s company but my own and learning from powerpoints and spotty audio from my lecturers. With that in mind, when I found this TEFL course (just by chance, through an ad on Instagram) and I saw that it was offered in person and allowed me to get to meet people and be surrounded and supported by a like-minded community, I knew that this course was the one I wanted to do.

What made you want to change your life and take a TEFL program in a foreign country? / Were you afraid to take a step into the unknown and move to a different country/start a new career?

I knew that I had always wanted to live in Europe, but the ever looming question was always ‘how am I going to get over there?’ My study abroad opportunity was cancelled due to covid, which had me going back to the drawing board for new ideas of how to get to Europe. Then, thanks to the grace and giving nature of social media, I found the TEFL course and realized that this was the perfect opportunity. I of course had heard of people moving abroad and teaching English, and found the idea of doing that appealing, but I never thought that it was something I would ever have the guts and courage to do. But when it came down to what I wanted to do with my life after graduating from University, moving to Europe to teach English just felt like the right thing.

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?

Of course I was afraid to step into the unknown and start from scratch in an entirely new and foreign place. However, the excitement and possibility that I knew could be found there outweighed that fear. I can’t say that I had too many doubts (other than the general anxiety and nerves that comes with doing anything for the first time) mainly because I felt that I only had something to gain. My life in the US had become quite stagnant, and I knew that nothing fulfilling could be found for me there. And i just knew that this move was the right thing for me to be doing at that time. Plus, I had a reassuring voice in the back of my mind telling me: ‘the course is only for four weeks. Iif you don’t like it, you can always go back home.’ Safe to say, I did end up liking it, and I did not go back home.

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?

In a good way, I had very little expectations of the course. I had done a fair amount of reading the course reviews and decided that if I could get through three years of University in Texas, I can get through 4 weeks of an intensive TEFL course in Prague. I will say, I was expecting it to be a bit harder. Which was definitely a good thing, because if I had gone in expecting it to be a breeze, I would’ve been in for a treat. Just because I found it easier than expected doesn’t mean it was easy. I definitely had a few late nights lesson planning and stressing; however, looking back, I was absolutely making a bigger deal out of it than I should’ve been.

How was your first couple of months in Prague? / What was positive?  / What was challenging?

My first month in Prague during the course honestly flew by. By the time graduation had rolled around, I couldn’t believe a whole month had already passed. Life during that first month was fun, easy, and all around a really good time. Then, the winter months hit and it got less easy and fun. I was tackling a lot of things at once: starting a new job, finding housing, building new friendships, navigating a new city, saying goodbye to people in my course, and on top of that, the dreaded coldness of winter. Fortunately, the friends I had made and the TEFL community offered great support for every problem I had, and those problems slowly melted away. Except for, of course, the weather. Which only got colder. But as a born and raised Texan, I had never experienced a true winter so my struggle with that was definitely much more of a ‘me’ problem. But Prague in the winter is so beautiful that I can say that the biting cold is actually worth it. Most of the time.

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

I can say, without any doubt in my mind, that the best thing about life in Prague is the public transportation. It is efficient, reliant, and beautiful. Coming from Texas, where oil is God and everyone has a car, I’ve dreamed of a life with public transportation and now that I have it, I can say that it is as glorious as I imagined. Also, the close proximity to cities and countries I’ve always wanted to travel to is a great, great plus.

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

Though there are many differences between life in Texas and life in Prague, one that continues to stand out to me is the friendliness. Don’t get me wrong, the Czechs are very lovely and kind people, truly. But what I mean is, there really isn’t small talk here. In Texas (and I would even argue to say America in general) people love to make small talk: in line at the grocery store, at a gas station pump, neighboring tables in restaurants, everywhere. There’s just something so lovely about a brief conversation with a stranger that you don’t know how nice it is until it doesn’t happen anymore. But, I will take lack of small talk over lack of public transportation. I really love the public transportation. Really.

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