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!