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Graduate Stories: Shereen


Shereen took her TEFL course with us in Barcelona in August 2014 and has been teaching English ever since. In this blog post she describes her reasons for choosing Oxford TEFL and where her certificate has taken her since graduation. Now in Turkey, she shares her insights into working as a teacher there.


I thought Barcelona would be a more exciting place to take the course than somewhere in my home country and I was definitely right. Everyone at Oxford TEFL was friendly and professional from start to finish. I underestimated how intense the program would be, but I still had one or two days a week free to explore the city. Since I didn’t have teaching experience prior to the program I would not be where I am if it weren’t for this course. Everywhere I have taught has had some kind of curriculum base, but I’m confident in my curriculum development skills thanks to the program. My lesson planning skills have improved greatly and I am able to manage my planning time outside of the classroom.

After the course I explored the rest of Spain for a month. Through Oxford, I was offered a teaching job in China where I taught for a year before moving to Cambodia. It has been very easy to find teaching jobs. It takes a little longer if you have a specific city or school in mind, but within a week or two the offers really do come rolling in. You have to do your research, a Skype interview or two and then weigh out your options before making a move.

I now teach in Istanbul, Turkey. Teachers work from 8am to 5pm and can expect a starting salary of $2,100 USD with a bachelors and TESOL certificate. There are lots of perks: free housing and utilities, one free flight each year to your home country, bus pick up and drop off to work, breakfast and lunch daily, and health insurance. The cost of living is cheap but there is one thing I wish I knew before signing my contract. I knew the political situation in Turkey had calmed down and it is totally safe here, but I didn’t realize the economic situation was so fickle. My contract has a USD to Turkish Lira cap, so if the dollar raises in value I loose money from my monthly salary. It started at a 5% to 10% decrease in salary, but now I’m currently loosing 30% of my salary. This is definitely something to look out for in your contracts; not all schools have a salary cap. I’m still living comfortably, but its getting harder to save. Other than issues with my contract, living in Istanbul has been great. Turkey has so many beautiful beaches, mountains and villages. Istanbul is such a beautiful city with a rich culture, history, and views of the water everywhere! People also take breakfast here very seriously; it is delicious.

After Istanbul I plan on going back to south-east Asia. I miss the culture, people, and food. I am also looking forward to teaching in a language center again. I worked a traditional 9 to 5 job in my home country and deciding on this path was the best thing I could have done. I have traveled all over the world, met amazing people, and had incredible experiences. I definitely don’t look back.

If you are thinking about teaching abroad and you want to give yourself the best possible start, why not consider the Cambridge CELTA course? Get in touch to find out more or apply here to get started on your adventure.

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