Prague – Luke Brazell – August 2009
The Golden City. The City of 100 Spires. Praha. Whatever you wish to call it, Prague is home.
I arrived here in August of 2009. I did TEFL certificate at Oxford TEFL. It offered excellent training, good support and most importantly for me, the opportunity to conduct a local job search instead of an all-internet one.
During my training course I was able to arrange several interviews bysubmitting a plethora of applications. These interviews were friendly,comfortable and for me, successful. I ended up in the enviable position of having several offers to choose between. I chose a well known business-focused school for several reasons. Better pay. Well organized. My business background (I have an MBA). But at the time the most compelling reason was that they offered to help with my visa.
Let me be clear, getting a visa and a work permit here are much easier than they are in some other countries (Italy,Greece, Ireland, etc) if you aren’t EU. But even though it’s easier in the Czech Republic, it’s still minor bureaucratic nightmare. Fortunately, most places are willing to provide you some assistance with this process. Mine did more than most, since it provided an in-house expert who handled all the details for me. I merely had to take a couple trips to Vienna to finalize everything (and believe me I wasn’t complaining about being “forced” to visit Vienna).
Teaching itself has turned out to be the most pleasantly surprising part of this decision. I’ve always enjoyed teaching but I moved here to travel and see the world. Teaching was just the most logical way to facilitate my globetrotting ambitions. But it has become a job that I truly enjoy. My students are all dedicated and eager to learn. Most are friendly, open and excited to work with a native speaker. English is valuable to them in both their careers and their personal lives and knowing that I’m helping them improve their lives gives a deeper meaning to my job. The nice thing about Czech students is that most of them have had English (especially grammar) since they were children. Because of this, most of my time is spent improving their vocabulary and fixing pronunciation mistakes. And since the best way to do this is through somewhat structured conversation, I’m often getting paid to talk with interesting people. Not a bad situation.
But for all this, my favorite thing about being here is still Prague itself. The majestic castles. The towering cathedrals. The lovely parks (and the equally lovely beer gardens inside them). The efficient metro. The relaxed environment that permeateseverything.
The language that’s so different that even the simple act of ordering lunch can become an interesting challenge. It’s all wonderful. But what I love most is the mystery and the adventure that every new day here holds.
They say “home is where the heart is” and that’s why I say Prague is home to me. Since earning my Oxford tesol certificate from Trinity College, I have had two wonderful teaching experiences and anticipate more.