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Need Help With Deciding A Country
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Tangosweat



Joined: 13 Dec 2013
Posts: 4
Location: CaliSunshine

PostPosted: Sun Dec 22, 2013 10:11 am    Post subject: Need Help With Deciding A Country Reply with quote

Aloha everybody! Greetings to you all! I am pleased to have found this wonderful website with such a supportive and knowledgeable crowd, and it is a pleasure to join you all in this fascinating journey of intercultural explorations.

Introduction:
I am an undergraduate student studying Communications at the moment, and will be graduating with my B.A. in December 2014, after which time I plan to travel abroad (primarily Europe), and teach English in order to gain intercultural experience. I have negligible work experience, and intend to travel to Central Europe and complete an In-Class training course with one of the Dave’s ESL Café sponsors to acquire my TEFL certification.

The Dilemma:
I have been musing over teaching in one of the following countries: Russia, Ukraine, Poland, Czech, and Germany.

1)I am unsure of the specific pay-scales in each one of these countries, and would greatly appreciate if you all could help out. With negligible work experience, what would the starting pay scale be in each of these places for a beginner?
2)What are the pros and cons of each one of these countries that you have personally encountered?
3)Which country in Europe would you recommend and why?

*On a Side Note*
I have assembled a Microsoft Excel document containing a range of statistical data (separated by sheet tabs) which I have been referencing in order to narrow down my selection of the countries in which to teach. I am linking the document here since many of you might find it helpful as well:
[/url]http://cl.ly/1S3D0C0F1M0L[url]
Not all data is fully accurate, but it is nonetheless helpful in determining certain relevant facts about a country. If any of you wish to modify it or add more data, feel free. I think it would be especially helpful to make a list of common countries with their average pay-range (pertaining to ESL related jobs).

Thank you so much for taking the time to read this![/url]
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nomad soul



Joined: 31 Jan 2010
Posts: 2970
Location: Mesopotamia

PostPosted: Sun Dec 22, 2013 11:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Instead of relying on statistical data, why not rank the countries you mentioned starting with your most preferred location? (By the way, no one's likely to modify your Excel doc even if they actually took time to view it.) Additionally, you could easily peruse those country-specific forums; you'll find other newbies have asked those very questions.
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spiral78



Joined: 05 Apr 2004
Posts: 9126
Location: On a Short Leash

PostPosted: Tue Dec 24, 2013 8:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Assuming you are a US citizen, you will not be likely to find anything other than part-time gigs in Germany. Poland or the Czech Republic are more likely to offer full-time work, but pay in all the countries you mention will be subsistence level. Expect start-up costs as well; living fairly frugally usually ensures that most newbie teachers break even at the end of their first year. Better jobs go to those who have stuck around for a while and have local contacts, rep, and language skills. Timing is crucial; most contracts are Sept/Oct through June and arriving at some time that is not peak hiring season lowers your chances of success (hiring peak end Aug/Sept). Russia and Ukraine are exceptions on your list as some people do find jobs from abroad; the other countries you mention, you'll need to be there in person to interview to even be considered.
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Sashadroogie



Joined: 17 Apr 2007
Posts: 8606
Location: Moskva, The Workers' Paradise

PostPosted: Tue Dec 24, 2013 8:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Russia. Nothing else compares.
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Tangosweat



Joined: 13 Dec 2013
Posts: 4
Location: CaliSunshine

PostPosted: Thu Dec 26, 2013 7:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for taking the time to respond you guys! It is much appreciated:)

@nomadsoul: Statistics are helpful in aiding me to determine what my preferred location would be...I like a low cost of living, legal prostitution, high ethnic diversity, and a low tobacco consumption rate!

@spiral: I am aware that western EU is mainly closed off for non-EU citizens. In response to this issue, I emailed Tefl-course.com, and asked them if I can get a job in western EU (primarily Italy) as an American citizen, if I complete a course with them; and they replied the following:
Quote:
As a non-EU passport holder it will be more challenging for you to gain employment. With a little effort and application the vast majority of our course graduates manage to find jobs in Europe and there are several ways that employers get around the work permit issue. Some employers apply for 12 month student visas for their teachers. Please note that even though the work permit issue in Europe for non-EU passport holder is not straightforward, there is still demand for Non-EU teachers.

What do you think about this spiral? I know that you have mentioned in the Italy forums that your friends have been unable to gain employment, despite fluency in Italian, graduate degrees, and considerable work experience. Does this just sound like a sales pitch?

@Sasha: Indeed you are a fanatic when it comes to Russia, and it was your enthusiasm across these boards regarding it that made me consider this option seriously. At the moment, its a mental tug of war between Czech and Russia, and it hurts! Czech is a central hub of EU, within the Schengen zone with decent pay; and Russia is a giant (which makes learning its language worthwhile), with considerably higher pay...
Can you offer any pros and cons from personal experience, or otherwise, that can aid me in this decision-making?

Thanks y'all! Very Happy
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spiral78



Joined: 05 Apr 2004
Posts: 9126
Location: On a Short Leash

PostPosted: Thu Dec 26, 2013 1:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
there are several ways that employers get around the work permit issue. Some employers apply for 12 month student visas for their teachers. Please note that even though the work permit issue in Europe for non-EU passport holder is not straightforward, there is still demand for Non-EU teachers



'...several ways they get around the work permit issue.' Hardly solid information. Such as, exactly? Sure, there are still some shady employers that will pay illegal teachers under the table, probably, if the teacher is silly enough to assume the risks (google Schengen zone overstay penalties, if you're not already well aware).

Student visas: yes, a way in. The problem with the statement above is that a language school CANNOT get a full time student visa for one of its employees. The student visa program is limited to legit full time UNIVERSITY study (which is an option, but tuition, attendance, and achievement requirements all apply). Tefl.com's finest 6-week Italian course won't qualify Crying or Very sad .


Yes, there is demand for non-EU teachers with legal work visas for the EU. Usually gained through marriage to a local, citizenship through ancestry, or genuine student status, or working holiday visas on an agreement with one's home country, if one is eligible.

The above is pure sales pitch.


Last edited by spiral78 on Thu Dec 26, 2013 1:40 pm; edited 1 time in total
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spiral78



Joined: 05 Apr 2004
Posts: 9126
Location: On a Short Leash

PostPosted: Thu Dec 26, 2013 1:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Czech is a central hub of EU, within the Schengen zone with decent pay;


Just to be realistic, not sure what you consider 'decent' pay. But teaching at the newbie level in the CR will net you, if you're reasonably frugal, just about enough to break even in your first year, on average. Things can be a bit easier if you are willing to live outside of Prague, but it's a saturated job market for teachers and employers can easily fill their rosters with the minimally-paid.
That's why Russia is often more lucrative; more demand.

However, in both cases, the better jobs go to teachers who've already been around for at least a year and have local contacts and reputation (and probably at least basic language skills). Expect to spend start-up money in the first year, and to live frugally while you get established.

It occurs to me that your statistics (haven't time to check them myself) may be misleading. I've heard many times over the years things like 'good salary compared to locals.' This is misleading. Your average local teacher in any part of Europe may make even less than an EFL teacher, but you can be sure that s/he isn't paying anything near the rates for housing that any expat will face, and s/he is most likely part of a family of multiple wage earners.
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Tangosweat



Joined: 13 Dec 2013
Posts: 4
Location: CaliSunshine

PostPosted: Fri Dec 27, 2013 9:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for all the help spiral!
Hmm I see...I didn't realize that the pay in Czech is just enough to break even...bummer. Russia it is then! Would the average pay, (for a beginner like me, with negligible work experience) be about 60,000 rubles?
Not sure if I will still complete a course with Tefl-course.com. From what I understand though, it is much easier to gain teaching employment if one completes a course in the country where one intends to teach.
Is it better to complete a course with Tefl-course.com in Czech, Prague (for $1600), in order to gain employment in Russia (since there are no courses being offered in Russia)? Or should I just complete a CELTA course, being offered close to my hometown, for $2500?
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Sashadroogie



Joined: 17 Apr 2007
Posts: 8606
Location: Moskva, The Workers' Paradise

PostPosted: Fri Dec 27, 2013 9:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

There is a Celta course in Moscow. IH-BKC runs it regularly.

Check it out.

Live the dream!
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spiral78



Joined: 05 Apr 2004
Posts: 9126
Location: On a Short Leash

PostPosted: Fri Dec 27, 2013 2:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Is it better to complete a course with Tefl-course.com in Czech, Prague (for $1600),


If it's on-site, a month long, and includes teaching practice with real students it should be considered CELTA equivalent. However, CELTA is the name brand and easily recognizable by prospective employers.

I've been around for 15+ years and have never heard of Tefl-course.com, by the way. What company actually teaches their Prague course? Is Tefl-course.com just an advertising website (with misleading info about working in Europe on it)?
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spiral78



Joined: 05 Apr 2004
Posts: 9126
Location: On a Short Leash

PostPosted: Fri Dec 27, 2013 2:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Czech, by the way, is an adjective. The country is the Czech Republic. This is, after all, a site for language instructors!

There is a move afoot to allow the country to be officially called 'Czechia,' but there is resistance, thankfully Wink
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Sashadroogie



Joined: 17 Apr 2007
Posts: 8606
Location: Moskva, The Workers' Paradise

PostPosted: Sat Dec 28, 2013 9:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Czechland gets my vote!

But isn't Czech a noun when it refers to the language?

Very Happy
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spiral78



Joined: 05 Apr 2004
Posts: 9126
Location: On a Short Leash

PostPosted: Sat Dec 28, 2013 4:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ah, of course! The OP was referring to the melodious and inscrutable Czech language:-)

I'm clearly befuddled by the holidays and should lay off posting until the hangover goes away Embarassed
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Sashadroogie



Joined: 17 Apr 2007
Posts: 8606
Location: Moskva, The Workers' Paradise

PostPosted: Sun Dec 29, 2013 9:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

No, no, no. That's not the holiday spirit. Post away! In any state of befuddlement! I mean, if I was to refrain from posting because of holiday hangovers, I won't post again until mid-January at least...
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Tangosweat



Joined: 13 Dec 2013
Posts: 4
Location: CaliSunshine

PostPosted: Thu Jan 02, 2014 5:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks again fellas!
That link was helpful Sasha, but upon comparing prices, it seems more sound to complete a CELTA course near my hometown.

I've been brainstorming more about the various facets of Czech and Russia, and my decision has changed in the meanwhile. Czech has a higher cultural and historical diversity, which is more in alignment with my personal objectives. So Russia will have to wait...I leave this fun country in your hands for now; take good care of it!

spiral78 wrote:
What company actually teaches their Prague course? Is Tefl-course.com just an advertising website (with misleading info about working in Europe on it)?

Telf-course.com is a sponsor of this site (Dave's ESL Cafe), and their ad banner is often found on the header pages, and therefore I assumed credibility.

Czechland gets my vote too!
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