Tuesday, October 30, 2012

{travel} teaching english as a foreign language

Hi pretty friends!

I am writing today to tell you more about the program I will be starting in approximately two months. (ahhh!)

Every time I tell an interested friend or stranger what I will be doing with my life for the next year, the reaction is always the same: "WHAT?! Wow! What an awesome opportunity. I wish I could do something like that!" Well friends... I'm here to tell you that you can!

My senior year of college was filled with uncertainties. I had no idea what I wanted to be 'when I grew up.' I switched between multiple different professions constantly. Did I want to get my PhD in counseling psychology? Did I just want to get my masters? But wait... did I want to do school counseling or school psychology? Or maybe I just want to teach? I had two promising interviews in the spring, a final interview with Teach For America & one with the Americorps for a teaching position in Tampa. Neither panned out. At this point, I had nothing but disappointment to lean back on. However, going through the interview process with those two incredible organizations did tell me one thing - I wanted to teach, and that was final.

In April (my graduation month), I started to obsessively check my university's career board. I figured I would just find some full-time job in Tampa while I collected my thoughts and figured out everything I would need to apply for a master's program in elementary education. I began to notice multiple postings for programs that certified you to teach English as a foreign language in Asia and Europe. As I sat there reading the information, I remembered that I knew some people a few years ahead of me in school who did exactly that. One friend did it in South Korea and another in Spain. I messaged them both on Facebook & anxiously awaited their responses with feedback on their programs. Both had nothing but wonderful things to say about the countries they lived in and the programs that went through.

I was still a little skeptical to up and move to a foreign country all on my own. Luckily, I convinced a good friend from high school to go with me. My parents were 100% behind my decision. It was time to start reaching out to different organizations to see which one would be the best for me. In the end, Breanne and I decided to go with the program that my friend Alexis went through - TtMadrid. We researched others in Spain, Italy, and France, but none of them seemed to completely match up to everything that TtMadrid offered.

We will be enrolled in a 4-wk intensive TEFL training course where we will have to create lesson plans, practice our teaching methods, and participate in a final examination with the board at the program. After graduation from our course, TtMadrid will send our resumes out to their wide connection of TEFL hiring agencies. We will also be enrolled in cultural activities and clases de espanol for 10 full months with a school called AIL Madrid.

From the moment that Breanne & I contacted TtMadrid, they have been nothing but helpful and supportive. We just completed out student visa process and purchased our plane tickets. Weeee! I cannot wait to keep y'all updated on my journey with this program. While I am there, I will be applying to graduate programs back in the US. Everything is falling into place.

Just think about a gap year to travel, make money, and build your resume at the same time. If that sounds like something you would be interested in, then I highly recommend you look into doing this. :)

Please, if you have ANY questions, email me at cookingloveandlife@gmail.com. I would love to post about my student visa process if anyone is interested in really looking into this program, or any other TEFL program.

xo, Jen

PS. I am 100% not a paid representative of this company. All opinions and information presented are personally from me.


  1. JEN! That's AMAZING!!! oh my goodness, I'm so excited for you! That's such an incredible opportunity, and it's definitely something you'll remember forever and be SO glad you did. I'm so proud of you darling. xoxoxo M

  2. That's so amazing! I definitely understand your dilemma deciding what to do in Education! I'm an English/Secondary Ed major and halfway through my schooling I started to realize that I want to be a school counselor. However, I owe NC four years of teaching in NC public schools for being a Teaching Fellow, which means they've paid for my school. I think the years of teaching will only help me become a better counselor though!
    I hope you update us about your journey teaching abroad! It's going to be an incredible experience. Enjoy every minute!

    1. I did notice in my research for school counseling that many programs prefer it if you have in-class teaching experience. Also, it is always great to have another profession to fall back on, because unfortunately school counseling positions may not be around forever with all of the budget cuts going on. :( Learned that from speaking with different school counselors in my college town.


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