Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Financing Your Trip Abroad

Despite the challenges that these economic times pose, it is still possible to find ways to finance that long term trip abroad. However it does require that you do some research. Goabroad has an excellent page on potential resources which is provided in the link that can help you.

You can also plan to work your way along your travels. One of the best ways to do this is to teach English. Whether you work for a private English Language school and/or work for yourself giving private lessons, having the skill of teaching will aid you every step of the way.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

A Positive Side to the Financial Crisis?

Now more than ever, people are cutting back on travel due to current financial woes. However, if you've been wanting to travel in Europe, now and in the near future is probably the best time. Airfares are lower than ever before but ,more importantly, the euro is seriously falling against the dollar...a rather shocking development for anyone who must work in exchange rates regularly. 100 euros now equals 125 dollars and the euro is continuing to fall. In France and Italy, as people are rather pessimistic about the financial future, there are now more sales and discount opportunities than ever. The tourism industry is already hurting so this is definitely a time to take advantage of the situation.

How does this affect trends for teaching English? Often when there is a recession, people look to continuing education to hone their skills and make themselves more competitive in the job market. Therefore demand for English teachers should remain stable during these difficult times.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

How to Open a Bank Account in France

Here is my advice for opening a bank account in France. While we will hear a lot of different stories of people getting or not getting an account, if you follow these steps you should be successful.

Typically the most important thing you need is an address in France. It doesnt have to even be your home per se, it can be in care a friend for example. But even then its still possible to do it but it will take more work.

1. Don't walk into banks in person. They have screeners who will most likely tell you, its not possible however, they are'nt the ones who make the real decisions in a given bank now are they. Always call first and ask to make an appointment with someone who specializes in foriegn accounts. Credit Agricole is a good bank that wants foriegn clients.

2. Once you've made the appointment, if you have a French address, any address in France will do, it shouldnt be a problem. If you don't have this, its still possible especially if you're planning to deposit a significant amount of money and you mention you are planning to invest in France, buy a home etc.

3. If you arent planning to deposit a good deal of money and have no French address, you only have one option left; say that you travel in France often on business and you need to regularly make and receive bank transfers between you and your company. That could be a way in and you could use your foriegn address.

If one bank says no, just try a different branch.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Non- Native vs. Native English Teacher

Often, I am asked, "Is it possible for a non-native English speaker, who speaks English well, to teach English?" First off, the answer is YES. World-wide, the majority of English teachers are non-natives. While I will admit that a lot of schools/a lot of regions in the world are ideally looking for native English speakers as teachers, they do often hire non-natives. This is due to the fact that there are simply not enough native English speakers in supply to meet the demand for English learners around the world.

The question is not, "Is it possible for a non-native speaker to teach English?" the question is "Where are the best places/regions for non-natives to find a job teaching English?" I'll start with the parts of the world where I think it would be most difficult.

1. Japan, Korea and Taiwan are not possible because in order to get a working visa to teach English in these countries you must hold a native- English speaking passport. Conversely, if you happen to have the native tongue of a language that is in demand in these countries, you can teach that language. So, if you are French, for example, you can get a job/visa to teach French.

2. Native English speaking countries could be very difficult. There is a decent supply of Native English speakers. However, I would'nt say impossible simply because in the England and the U.S.,at least, there is a huge need for ESL teachers but not enough nationals interested in taking the posts. So while I deem them difficult, its definitely possible. You'd most likely have to look for jobs teaching asylum seekers and such.

3. University work could be difficult as well seeing as they often have a lot of pesky requirements and are usually not desperate for new teachers.

Now, lets get to where I think it is possible;

1. Your home country. Even if you come from a country where job ads call for native speakers, chances are they are not getting enough to meet the demand. As a national, you will be desirable because visas and paperwork are not an issue.

2. Any big city in any country (that I didn't mention as difficult) where there is a demand for English that can't be met. I'll give a few examples;

In France, in many regions, they will only take native English speakers. However, in Paris, Toulouse or Marseille, they can't find enough native English speakers so I have graduates who work in these cities who are non- natives.

In any big city in China, there is a demand for English that will never be met. Again, even if they are advertising for native English speakers, chances are they are not finding enough so apply anyway.

In the Middle East and Eastern Europe, the same rules apply. You should still send out your C.V. to job ads requesting natives as they probably are'nt getting enough applicants.

Of course after saying all this, your dream of teaching English is not going to fly unless you have a TESOL/TEFL or CELTA certification. Certification legitimizes your efforts.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Our New TESOL/TEFL Program in Italy

Due to the voracious demand for English teaching jobs in Northern Italy. We have just opened a new school based in Genoa Italy. Genoa is a port city that is only a few hours from the Italian/French border along what is known as the Italian Riviera. Not far from the bustling metropolis of Milan and the smaller romantic towns of Cinque Terre, Portofino and Santa Margarita, Genoa makes the perfect location for a training center and a strategic base for finding jobs all over Northern Italy.

The Language House helps its graduates secure jobs all over Italy with special emphasis in the north seeing as the demand is so great. Come and join us!

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Taking a TESOL Course at Home vs. Abroad

Often, I am asked which is better... To take a teacher training program in my native home country where it is usually less expensive as opposed to taking the course in the country where I ultimately want to work. The answer is simple.

No matter which country you prefer or which provider appeals to you and no matter whether its TESOL, CELTA or Trinity, always, always take the course in the country where you would like to work. I'll explain why... Lets focus on Europe for a moment seeing as there are more challenges to find employment;

Europe is a region where many teachers would like to work and travel therefore there is a decent amount of competition for jobs. This means that you would definitely need a certificate. This is best done in the country where you want to start as there are many of advantages.

1. You can get acclimated gradually in the country/culture while you still have a support system (training centres usually provide services such as airport pickup, arrange housing during the course, and provide local orientation).

2. You can be sure your certificate will be recognized by local employers and the training centre can give you invaluable contacts and advice regarding reputable local
employers as well as those who pay the best.

3. A standard certificate for Europe is 120 hours on-site, including at least 6 hours of supervised practice teaching on real students (not peer trainees). Online programs aren't well-accepted by reputable employers.

4. Your "teacher practice" will be composed of native/local students which will be representative of those you’ll be working with when you start your job.

5. Finally, jobs in Europe aren't normally found from abroad. You really need to be here with a cell phone and C.V.s in person to get interviews. There are rarely if ever exceptions to this.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Study Arabic in Morocco

Obviously, the best way to acquire any language is to study it in the country where it is spoken. However, in the case of studying Arabic in Morocco, this is no easy task. There exists Modern Standard Arabic which is spoken/understood throughout the Arabic world and Colloquial Arabic which is different in many Arabic countries and is not like Modern Standard. Morocco falls under the category of having a colloquial dialect. So the challenge for the student coming to Morocco is to decide which should be studied first. Below is a brief overview of Modern Standard Arabic (MSA) and Colloquial Moroccan Arabic (CMA)which might help in making a decision.

While both Modern Standard Arabic (MSA) and Colloquial Moroccan Arabic (CMA) are largely derived from the same basic source (so-called "Classical Arabic"), they are in many ways two distinct languages. MSA is the language of the news media, written correspondence, official documents, literature and formal speeches. As strange as it might sound, MSA is not a language spoken fluently by the majority of Moroccans (or Arabs, for that matter).

Though few educated Moroccans have difficulty reading Arabic and understanding Arabic news broadcasts, few of them feel truly confident in using it as a means of oral communication. To further complicate matters for ALIF students wishing to practice their MSA outside of class, many Moroccan professionals have been educated in France or in a French mold, so that in discussing more intellectual or technical topics they may have difficulty expressing themselves without turning to French.

It is not uncommon for a foreign student trying to make conversation with a Moroccan in MSA to be answered in French. Obviously, if you don't know French or (wisely) pretend not to know it, the Moroccan in question will be forced to struggle to express himself or herself in as correct a variety of MSA as he/she can muster.

Students of MSA should not have unrealistic expectations about chatting in literary Arabic with the corner grocer - whose native language may well be Berber anyway! It bears pointing out that for most Moroccans MSA spoken in day to day situations has an almost comical quality about it, comparable perhaps to the effect of speaking Shakespearean English with a small-town grocer.

Concerning the local dialect, this is much easier to practice outside the classroom. However, even when initiating a conversation in CMA, a student may get a response in French from a Moroccan. This may be due to their not believing their ears and having an automatic reaction of conversing in French with foreigners, or it may be due to your own lack of mastery of the dialect. Persistence pays off in such situations and a pretended or real ignorance of French often opens the door to fruitful conversational practice.

At the same time, it should be remembered that CMA has many (Arabized) French loan words and that Moroccans frequently intersperse their speech in CMA with additional vocabulary, phrases and expressions from French, even when speaking to each other. Students should be aware of the limitations inherent in studying CMA, since sooner or later (usually after 3 six week sessions) they reach a plateau in their ability to discuss more intellectual topics (economics, religion, etc.) beyond which they can only proceed by studying MSA from which vocabulary and phraseology are drawn.

Without formally studying MSA they will never gain an adequate ability to comprehend news broadcasts or read newspapers. Students should also understand the typical Moroccan attitude towards CMA: it is not regarded as a “language” in the formal sense of the word and Moroccans may be quite bewildered by the fact that you are studying it formally. For them, only MSA is a written language with formal rules and conventions. They may express astonishment if they see you studying from a CMA course book, and even make remarks suggesting that CMA is not "real" Arabic.

Finally, students of CMA should accept the fact that their hard-earned knowledge of CMA will be of very little value beyond the confines of North Africa. To illustrate this point, it should suffice to note that the common every day words for "bread", "want", "need" and "go" are totally different in CMA and the Egyptian dialect. Concerning the latter, Cairene colloquial Arabic is passively understood by many Moroccans thanks to the diffusion of Egyptian made films on Moroccan television.

Let us help you organize Arabic lessons in Morocco. Visit www.teflanguagehouse.com

Monday, March 17, 2008

Teach English this Summer in Morocco

Morocco has a very good demand for English at the moment as well as a low cost of living. For new ESL teachers, a good way to get experience is by teaching in English camps. The Language House is now offering this opportunity to its graduates. Upon completion of our TESOL course you can have paid work arranged for the months of June and July. Our English camps are based in Marrakesh, one of the most exciting cities in Morocco.

We still have space available on our TESOL Course program in Montpellier for the month of May. Come and join us by visiting our site for more details at www.teflanguagehouse.com or by contacting Gyl Johnson at gb@tesolhouse.com.

Friday, January 18, 2008

How does The Language House Help its Graduates?

We often get asked what The Language House does to help its graduates find jobs. Its a good question seeing as many providers may offer a completely exhausting course program however at the end of the four weeks, there is little or no support to actually find a job abroad. Isn't this the whole point of the TESOL/TEFL course in the first place?

Realistically, most programs(especially outside of China and South-east Asia) cannot guarantee a full-time job after the course as it is up to the graduate to sell him/herself. However, there is a lot that can be done to support graduates and guarantee their success.

The Language House focuses mainly on finding jobs for their graduates in the Mediterranean countries of France, Italy, Spain, Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt and Turkey. Our support includes interviewing techniques, resume help, English language school contacts in above mentioned countries and strategy meetings for setting up in a new country. Along with optional language lessons in French, Spanish, Italian and Arabic after every course, our graduates are poised for finding a teaching job overseas.