Monday, September 02, 2013

Teaching English as a Non EU Citizen in the E.U.

So as of late, I have been contacted by quite a few Americans who have either read on the internet or spoken with a TEFL course advisor (not us) stating that its easy enough to work under the table and earn anywhere from 1800 to 2000 euros per month in western European countries such as France, Spain and Italy. That is absolutely untrue.

Maybe it was possible 10 years ago...maybe, but it is certainly not happening now. Consider this, there are plenty of native English speakers who are E.U. citizens already living in such countries, why would a non EU citizen be in such demand that they could earn twice the minimum wage? I must say that this so called advice is irresponsable and bordering on criminal. Governments are now cracking down heavily on unreported income and companies that do such practicse risk heavy sanctions as well as the possibility of being shut down.

For anyone considering teaching English in this part of the world know that the standard pay is minimum wage...if the given country has a minimum wage set. So for France that equates to approx. 1200 to 1300 a month. Yes its true if you teach Business English, if you have some experience and you  gradually make contacts you can earn a good deal more. But understand that just showing up with a TEFL certificate will get you 1200 to 1300 euros per month. It doesnt matter your nationality.

So above was a lot of negativity. Now some positivity...despite the economic crisis, the ESL business is holding steady and there is a lot work available. If you are a non EU citizen and would like to teach in, lets say western Europe, here are some facts.

It is possible to work legally in the EU as a non EU citizen but it requires planning ahead of time. I have recycled an older post and have updated it as some things have changed and for the better.

First things first, the E.U. question. Yes, it's true, you must hold an E.U. passport or have the correct visa to qualifiy for any job position in the territory. Unlike its neighbors, Spain and Italy, the French mostly follow this rule and as such I will focus on France for a moment.

However, it is still possible to work in France if you are non E.U. if have can obtain the "Carte Sejour". As a non E.U. person, the easiest option is to enroll in a French language school in France. Once enrolled, the language school will issue you an "attestation" stating that you have committed to lessons with them and you can use it to get a student visa. The student visa allows you to work 20 hours a week. At the end of your visa, for however long it is, if you have a job at that moment you can renew your visa as a carte sejour. With this you can legally work full-time. This is probably the easiest route no matter what your age.

If you have mastered the French language or have absolutely no interest in long term lessons of any kind, the other option is to become an "Autoentrepreneur". It means a free-lance professional. While you can do this in any domain, "English Teacher" is probably the easiest to break into as you are a native English speaker, so it will tempt potential clients to choose you over a French person. To do this you apply for a long term visa, similar to the student visa process but longer, stating that you will support yourself as an Autoentrepreneur. Once in France you can register yourself with URSSAF the government entity that oversees this statute. The registration is actually the easiest part of this entire process. Then you are free to start looking for work. Looking for work can mean looking directly for clients OR looking for work at a language school in the form of a short term contract deal. In fact, now many companies would prefer to hire an autoentrepreneur because they would not have to pay as much tax for that individual.

All in all, the E.U. issue doesn't have to be an obstacle to living and working in France. However, it does mean that more work and money will be required just to set up. Also know that there is no way to avoid the visa paperwork in your home country before coming to France and without a doubt, it will continue when you arrive. G.G.

Follow ThLanguageHouse on TwitterBookmark and Share

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Will you be a Happy Expatriate?

There are certain personality characteristics that are inherent in people who live abroad successfully and happily. Do you already possess some of these traits?

It takes a certain amount of courage to leave your home country, a place you are familar with, and go off to live in a country/countries where you have never lived. There is no way around this. You must be capable of taking that great leap into the unknown or else your dream of living abroad will remain just that- a dream.

There will be many things that happen in your host country which are done differently than in your home country. Know that you cannot change a culture. However things may done and whether or not you approve, in order to exists  comfortably, you must follow both the spoken and unspoken rules that exist in your host country. If you keep an open mind and a willingness to adapt to your surroundings, you will succeed. 


You are going to have setbacks during your quest. This is normal for anything we want to accomplish in life if its worth having. However, living abroad will sometimes test your determination even more because you will be outside of your comfort zone- by possibly not speaking the language, not yet having friends, undergoing the stress that goes along with worring about money or finding a place to live. Therefore you will have to be able to talk to yourself positively and keep after the goal. Know that you will receive rejection so expect it, learn from it and be prepared to move on and continue until you get what you want.


Finding a job and a place to live in a foreign country requires a well-rounded repertoire of resources. This may include the prospects you turned up in your research before you left home, as well as any opportunities you may have discovered once you arrive. The best resources are personal contacts and references, local newspapers, local residents, and especially the internet. But having the information is not enough; what counts is how fully you exhaust and utilize those resources. Therefore, it is essential that you do your homework, keep very thorough and organized notes, follow up on every lead, and don’t overlook any possibility. 


The best way to thrive in a foreign destination is to develop a strong network of friends and acquaintances. Not only will they provide you with companionship, but also with information on the city and the culture, valuable survival tips, and emotional support through difficult times. And the friendships you form on your travels will last you a lifetime. 


There’s nothing more reassuring than the comfort and support of a close-knit family. But once you’re traveling in the world, you’ll need to become more self-reliant. You’ll need to be able to make your own decisions without seeking the advice of your parents, siblings or friends. You must be capable of spending at least some time by yourself and even enjoying life, sometimes, on your own. Also, you’ll have to get used to taking care of life’s basic necessities on your own. 


Theoretically, the whole point of wanting to spend time abroad is to experience life from a different point of view and live a life that is different from the life you already know. So if we can assume that that is one of the goals, then you have to be ready to embrace the differences that you will certainly encounter. Some will be pleasing and some not so much but you must be willing to try new things. There will be different food, a different language, different ways of doing things, different pastimes and different ways of thinking. So jump in and explore what your new home has to offer and partake. In fact you should look forward to trying new things as opposed to seeking out the closest thing that resembles home.

A True Traveler

So this should seem obvious, but yes if you want to live abroad, you should actually enjoy the act of traveling and by that I mean the process. The process includes; planning the trip, actually heading to the target country and travelling around the destination country and its neighboring countries.

A Desire to Live Life to Its Fullest

Living abroad can be one of the most personally enlightening and enriching experiences that life has to offer. But to thrive in a new and unfamiliar culture, and to get the full benefit from the time you spend there, you must have a broad sense of perspective and an unconditional willingness to let go of your expectations and immerse yourself in the experience. Live the lifestyle, eat the food, and get to know the people, their history, their language and their culture. Make friends, make money, and yes, make mistakes. But whatever you do, make the most of it!  

If you don't already have some of these qualities, its doesnt mean that you're not cut out for living abroad. You can always develop and improve these traits as long as you have a willingness to change which there again would lend itself to living abroad. G.G.

Follow ThLanguageHouse on Twitter

Bookmark and Share

Monday, December 17, 2012

Curriculum Vitae & Cover Letter in the E.U.

The Basic Steps for Writing a Cover Letter

As a rule of thumb, cover letters should be laid out in 3 basic paragraphs. The main idea of the first paragraph is to state what you want. As a cover letter is used to express interest in a job, the first paragraph should clearly state what specific job position you are looking for and highlight one or two relevant qualifications that you have for that said position. Don’t be vague on the job position you are seeking. If you are, in the hopes of keeping all possibilities open, you could lose out if it’s a big company with many different job openings as they may not know where to direct your CV and cover letter. The second paragraph should mention what you are currently doing now and/or why you would be a good fit for the company or the desired job position. If you just completed training mention that and how you have benefited. If you are about to leave a current job position mention that and say how it has enhanced your professional career as well as how you are seeking new challenges that the target company could potentially offer. Also mention what you could do for them. The third paragraph which is also the closing paragraph must be clear as to when you would be available for an interview, when you would be available to start working and how to contact you. If you are not currently in the country at the time of applying for positions, it is imperative to state the three items above. If you leave this vague, you most likely won’t get a response back because it may seem too involved for the interviewer to access you when it’s possibly easy enough just to select from those already living in the country. For those already living or located in the country of choice, make it clear that you are there now and are at the interviewer’s disposition.

The Curriculum Vitae(CV) or Resume

As the EU now has 27 member countries, in their attempts to streamline many procedures, they have created a standard EU CV. While it applies to those who wish to work in the EU, I think it’s a good template to follow as a standard international CV so I am suggesting you use the template as a start even if you do not plan to work in the EU territory. A link to this CV can be found on the website Europass.

Things to consider when sending your CV and Cover Letter

So your cover letter and CV are ready to go out. How should you deliver these important documents? Yes, most likely you will send them by email. But first convert both documents into PDF files. This is the only universal format available where you can be sure that no matter where in the world you are sending to, when they open the document it will look exactly like what you intended it to look like. Next attach both documents to the email. Do not copy/ paste the body of the cover letter in the email space. You want the person who opens the email to be able to print out the documents so that both can be filed in their appropriate place together. In the actual email space, write a brief summary of your cover letter. Basically, state what you want; a specific job position, and when you would be available. Then mention that all of your qualifications can be found in the attachments provided. Once sending out the cover letter and CV, its fine to do a follow-up call approximately one or two weeks after to first, insure that it was received and second to see if they are indeed looking for new hires and/or find out more about the job market in the immediate region. G.G.

 Follow ThLanguageHouse on Twitter
Bookmark and Share

Monday, November 26, 2012

Preparing for your TEFL Course

So you've registered for your on-site TEFL training. You've got your plane tickets and housing is arranged. Now what? You think you're finished? No, you havent even begun. You still have to take the course which is actually work. So here are some things you can do to prepare yourself for the course. 1. All TEFL, TESOL, CELTA programs have a healthy dose of English grammar. This is because your students will have grammar questions and they will expect you, the English expert, to answer them. Technically, you don't really need to study grammar before you arrive to the course as everything should be provided. However, if the thought of grammar terrifies you then you should, at least mentally prepare yourself for these sessions. The best advice I can give for this is purchasing either: Jeremy Harmer (2001) The Practice of English Language Teaching 3rd edition (Longman) or Scott Thornbury (1997) About Language (CUP) Read at least one of them just to get your head around the idea of English grammar. 2. You will be expected to read and write in English. There will be many opportunities where you must write correctly in English:)) After all, if you want to teach English then you must have mastered it, in theory anyway. Be prepared to write often during the course. 3. Any reputable program has teaching practice. This means, you must plan lessons and then stand up and teach them in front of students. That also implies that you will be expected to present and execute your lesson plan in the hopes that some of your students will learn some English at least some of the time during your class. Teacher practice is usually one of the most valued segments for TEFL graduates of our courses so I recommend you look forward to it and embrace it. Most often the students of English who participate as volunteers are very appreciative and look forward to the lessons prepared. 4. While most TEFL courses should be able to provide job advice, I suggest before you arrive, that you have a rough idea of where you would like to teach and starting when. Have a plan before the course. The more detailed your plan is, the more resources you'll be able to access. This also makes it easier for the trainers at your center to help you and get you started. 5. At the start, plan to have an open mind and be flexible. You are about to embark on a fantastic experience and the more open you are, the more likely you will be prepared to receive all the possibly wonderful opportunities that surround you abroad. G.G. Follow ThLanguageHouse on Twitter
Bookmark and Share

Monday, October 01, 2012

A Reality of Living Abroad

If the plan is to move abroad on your own, then, be prepared to spend at least some of your time on your own. Yes, its true that you will make friends and there will be people who will help you. However, there will also be times when you will have to do things on your own in situations where you may be the only foreigner and you may not speak the language well. That's part of the deal when you move to a new country.

The key is not to try to avoid challenging situations but accept them. Embrace the challenge because the more you do things that force you to stretch outside of your comfort zone, the easier things become; you begin to feel more comfortable in the new country and these challenges will only make you stronger.

One thing you can do is research the country where you'd like to live but more importantly talk to people online who are already living there and doing what you hope to be doing. Find out their advice and what things they tried that were successful or unsuccessful. I say it all the time but living abroad is not for everyone. The more informed you are the more likely you'll be successful.

Follow ThLanguageHouse on Twitter
Bookmark and Share

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Free 35 hours On-line Business Course

Due to an increasing demand for an on-line Teaching Business English program, The Language House is pleased to offer its newest program for free to its Fall TEFL graduates. Register for our September 2011 TEFL courses by August 1st and upon successful completion of the course, you will receive our 35 hours online Business English course absolutely free.

Take advantage of this offer and position yourself as a Business English teacher. Come and Join Us! G.G.

Follow ThLanguageHouse on Twitter
Bookmark and Share

Saturday, July 02, 2011

Believe What you Want to Believe

Our beliefs are powerful drivers that cause us either to succeed or fail all depending on, of course, whether or not our beliefs are empowering or limiting. Any given situation can have an infinite number of interpretations. How is it that there could be 20 different witnesses to the exact same event and yet all 20 give different accounts as to what happen? Its how we choose to interpret the situation that gives us meaning. Often what directs our interpretations are our beliefs.

So whether or not you can or cannot do something all comes down to whether or not you believe you can do it. The next time there is something you'd like to accomplish but you find yourself holding back, ask yourself "why". If you think you can't accomplish something that you know you want, write down all the reasons why you think you can do it and all the reasons why you think you can't. Look at the list with all of the "can'ts" and see if you can spot all of those which are actually limiting beliefs. Things that you believe to be true that stop you from acting. Isolate those and ask yourself:

Where does this belief come from?
Who gave me this belief?
What is it costing me to continue believing this?

Use these questions to challenge your limiting beliefs with the aim of overcoming them. G.G.

Follow ThLanguageHouse on Twitter
Bookmark and Share