Wednesday, December 30, 2009

How to Plan a Gap Year Abroad

Planning a gap year abroad can be a daunting task at first glance. However, some simple steps can help you get started.

1. Consider your funds

The best way to estimate is to look at the year on a monthly interval. Before you even tackle that question, you must research the country or regions where you want to spend time to get an idea of the cost of living. Once that's established, consider what you want to do while traveling(ie. what will be your regular activities?) and how you want to live?... what type of housing? All hostels, service apartments, couch surfing or camping.

Obviously, if you want to spend a year abroad you should have access to as much money as possible but, outside of that have, a minimum of 3,000 in Asia (outside of Japan) and a minimum of 6,000 dollars in Europe and the west with the intention to work as you go.

1a. Will you need to work in order to sustain travel for the year?

If you don't have access to a significant amount of money then you should consider looking for short term work or work in exchange for food and housing during your travels. Its an excellent way to meet people and get an inside view to the culture of the country where you are.

2. What countries/region are you interested in spending time?

3. If its several locations, roughly layout how much time you think you'll spend in each location.

Yes, while this is definitely the time to be a free spirit, a rough itinerary is useful when planning. A loose plan and a bit of research can allow you to experience a great festival or conversely dodge an overcrowed, highly touristic event.

4. How would you like to spend your time in a given location?

Give some thought to this question. Are you interested in painting, volunteering, rock climbing or learning the local language? If you've decided this ahead of time you can begin to research relevant outfitters, schools or groups. Its also a great way to network with locals who may be able to direct you to a good deal on housing or car rental.

5. What potential jobs would you be prepared to perform?

Make a list of potential jobs you could perform and might enjoy. And of course Ill mention that if you speak English you should strongly consider work as an English teacher.

5a. Once you have job ideas, consider your CV/Resume...Do you have appropriate skills for the desired jobs?

Update your CV. If you'll be spending time in Europe, there is now a standard European CV. You can easily download it from the web.

Would you like help planning your Gap Year? Come and Join Us! GG

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Saturday, December 05, 2009

How to Choose a TEFL/TESOL Course?

When looking on the net for possible TESOL/TEFL or CELTA programs, its overwhelming to see all the course providers out there. How does one decide which program to take?

Here are some guidelines;

1. Forget about programs in your home country and online courses as you really should take a program located in the region where you would like to live. For further details as to why I stand by this rule visit our section called "TESOL/TEFL/ESL Advice".

2. While, there is no doubt that CELTA is the oldest certificate of its kind, now more than ever TESOL/TEFL and CELTA are recognized around the world as certification for teaching English Abroad. How you choose which certificate is simple. The program formats are very similar...both provide observed teacher practice, teaching techniques, grammar and phonology components for example. However, the major difference lies in job assistance or rather lack there of. If you wish to have solid job support, advice for setting up in the country of your choice and job contacts, you should choose a TEFL/TESOL certificate program because this is the added feature to most TEFL/TESOL programs that CELTA does not provide.

3. Look for a program that is externally moderated by a non profit organization. External moderation ensures that the course you are taking answers to a neutral entity and follows international guidelines laid out by the British Council.

4. Even though you should take a course in the region where you want to live, you should be looking for a company that has a knowledge base which extends past one country. Look for a course that can really provide international job support, not just say the words.

5. Lastly, contact potential course providers and ask them what they will do to help ensure your success in finding a job. That is the whole point of taking the course, correct? Don't pay to take a course with any organization that cant provide you with details on their job assistance. Answering,"Oh well, once you have our certifcate, it will be easy to find work." is not a sufficient response.

At the Language House we focus on the Mediterranean region which includes France, Italy, Spain, Morocco, Turkey and their neighboring countries. The qualities that make us stand out from the rest are:

- We provide small class sizes for personalized attention.
- We are the only program that focuses on one select region which guarantees expertise on living and teaching in Mediterranean countries as well as our clients get insider advice from our local staff.
- Our teaching practice takes place in practicing English language schools as well as mainstream educating bodies (Real Time Teaching).
- We offer the unique ability to aid in finding work and lodging not only in the Mediterranean but internationally.
- We don't just provide a TESOL program, we provide the "how to" information to set up and live abroad as an English teacher.

Come and Join Us!


Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Why Choose Montpellier France?

Montpellier is one of those special places in France that is cosmopolitan but maintains French traditions. Here we get about 300 days of sunshine and its perfectly located so that one is only about 20 mins from the sea and about 30 mins from the mountains. As its a university town, the cost of living remains stable as well as there is always something going on in the center of town.

The locals here are friendly and open to meeting people who come from other places. Montpellier is located in the department of Languedoc Rousillion which is a wine producing region. While the wines of Languedoc cant compete with those of Bordeaux, Burgundy or the Cotes du Rhone, there are some good wines to be found as well as there is almost always an excuse to have a wine tasting activity.

Outdoor activities are very popular in this region because of the diversity within the region. So its easy to go biking, hiking, river or sea kayaking, rock climbing and the list continues.

I can't say that Montpellier is a great place to visit for just the day but its the perfect place to pass some time and soak up the local culture, food, wine and of course, the sun.


Sunday, October 11, 2009

An Age Limit for Teaching Abroad?

There are several questions that I get asked by many individuals over 50;

1. Can I be accepted to your course if I am of a certain age?
2. Will I be the oldest person on your course?
3. Will I be able to find work if I'm over a certain age?

I want to take the time to say to everyone that in the world of TESOL/TEFL there is NO age limit. The Language House has no age limits for accepting individuals and because of that every course always has a wide range of age groups. The oldest trainee we had was 78 and the last time I spoke with her, she was teaching English in Senegal. Lastly but most importantly, one can find work teaching English abroad no matter what age as long as said person is healthy, responsible and of course has a TEFL/TESOL Certificate.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

TEFL Online vs TEFL Full Time

What is the difference between TEFL on-line courses and TEFL 4 week, onsite courses? This is the magic question I get asked over and over again.

While I realize, given the economic situation, that taking an on-line course is tempting because of its dramatically low price it should still be avoided. Why is it so low in the first place? You get what you pay for.

I can't speak for Asia, however in Europe, Turkey and North Africa, English institutions that hire look for a certificate that provided "Observed Teacher Practice" no exceptions. On-line courses can't do that. But there are other reasons as well. Below are the advantages of taking the TESOL/TEFL Certificate (full- time, 4 week course)in the country/region of your choice.

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). Its easier then, to extend housing or even find cheaper housing during the month you're taking the course inorder to remain after the course is finished

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 and North Africa 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.

Ultimately, if you want to live abroad, you have to come on over. So why not get started by taking a TESOL course in the country/region of your choice and take advantage of that time to make the transition. I know that showing up to a foreign country can be daunting but if you want something you've never had, you have to do some things you've never done.

Come and Join Us!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Spend Three Months in the South of France

Take advantage of a great opportunity to spend time in the south of France as a Language Assistant. This volunteer programme is a great opportunity to experience French lifestyle and improve your linguistic skills at a low cost. You live with a host family and in exchange for your own room and meals, you share your language with the host family for around 15 hours per week.

This programme has a focus on cultural exchange, it is designed for flexible people wishing to experience the French culture in depth. Participating implies sharing daily life with a French family, learning their language and culture and adopting it as their own for a period of time. At the same time, the participant will share his/her own language and culture with the members of the local family.

Graduates of our TESOL/TEFL or Language Training programs get a 20% discount off the placement fee. Come and Join Us!

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Our New Location in Antalya, Turkey

The Language House will be opening a new location in Antalya, Turkey begining in 2010. Located along the Turquoise Coast, also known as the Turkish Riviera, Antalya offers beautiful beaches, a culturally rich history with a modern lifestyle.

You can wander the oldest section of town which appears virtually untouched even though its centuries old. Turkey's blend of European culture combined with the east makes for a highly satisfying journey which must not be missed. Enjoy Turkish hospitality, unforgettable cuisine and a thriving nightlife that never ends.

Due to Antalya's thriving economy as well as being a tourist destination, there is a big demand for English teaching jobs here and in the rest of the southern region.
We provide you with all the tools you need for finding work as an English teacher. You can also enjoy a low cost of living here during and after the course with housing starting as low as 300 euros per month.

Our latest location will be located in the center of town just by the clock tower with great view overlooking the sea. Why put off living in paradise any longer? Start off the new year 2010 with us along the Turkish Riviera. Come and Join Us!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Why Choose Genoa, Italy

If you are considering the move to Italy, you should consider Genoa. Unlike many other locations, Genoa is a very relaxed, friendly city that offers a lot to the people who live there.

Genoa is one of those precious gems that not many people have heard of but is a wonderful place to spend time in. Located in the region of Liguria, Genoa is an excellent base to explore the region as well as discover authenic northern Italian cuisine and culture. Because Genoa is not a highly touristic target, you'll find yourself in a very relaxed setting to see the sights and appreciate its beauty. Located on the coast, along the Italian Riviera, you can enjoy great seafood and partake in seaside activities.

Genoa is a port city and its Antico Port is one of the oldest in Europe. It has recently been revitalized and because of this there is always a lot of activity with plenty of things to see and do. You can't miss the city's long seafront promenade that goes all the way to the small fishing town of Bocadosse. The Genovese are very friendly and down to earth. Because of this its easy to make new friends.

From Genoa, its only a short train ride to beautiful seaside towns such as Portofino, Santa Marguerita and Cinque Terre. And these are only the most famous as there are many more. For big city action its easy enough to spend the weekend in Milan for great clubbing as well as shopping.

In relationship to other Italian cities, Genoa enjoys a much lower cost of living. As more people discover Genoa and the region, there is a growing demand for English teachers. There are many English language schools in and around Genoa, making it easy to secure an English teaching post.

Genoa is a wonderful liveable city and at the least should not be missed for a visit.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Easing into Living Abroad

One way to ease into living abroad, or more specifically into the country of your choice is to take language lessons for about one month or longer. There are a lot of great benefits...obviously it allows you to learn the local language spoken but there's much more than just that.

1. It's a non stressful way to see if living in this particular country is right for you. Visiting for one week as a tourist will not give you the same impressions as being there for two months trying to get simple tasks done and getting to know the people.

2. Its a way to determine which region within that country is right for you. If you come from a rather large country, you may think a country like France or Italy couldnt possible be very diverse but then you'd be wrong. From region to region there are noticable differences and in spending a couple of months in the country of your choice you have the space and time to explore and decide the right place for you.

3. Its an opportunity to get to know the locals and exchange ideas. This is a time to see how much you really connect with the people who live in your target country. And if you can enjoy a life in their country...can you make friends?

4. Its a great opportunity to "case the place" as it were and scope out housing options and more importantly price ranges. You can also get advice from people living there how to find affordable and comfortable housing. Chatting on the net is often not enough. You have to see for yourself.

5. Its a great opportunity to check out the employment scene and research wages. While you're there, you can also make note of the cost of it a comfortable fit?

Now more than ever the cost of language lessons has become more affordable. Visit us at to find the language program thats right for you.