Salzburg, Austria – Jan Harwood, May 2010
I’ve been working in the beautiful city of Salzburg, Austria since the beginning of the 2010/11 school year. I actually found my job as a Resident Assistant at the American International School while I was completing my Oxford TEFL course in Prague. The school recruits through its own website and positions are offered for the coming school year (starting in late August) between March and May.
My first year has flown by and I have enjoyed every minute. Although I am not doing any in-class teaching (I work and live in the boarding school with our high school children and assist them when they are not in class) I am still able to make excellent use of my TEFL qualification as the majority of our children speak English as a second language and often require assistance with their studies outside of the classroom. Aside from this I run weekend activities, which include ski trips in the Austrian alps during the winter, as well as coaching the football team (or soccer as they insist on calling it here!). I have made some invaluable additions to my CV in my short time here and I would recommend the job to anyone who is looking at a long term career in education.
Salzburg, aside from being the setting for the Sound of Music, and Mozart’s birthplace, is a simply breathtaking small city. It is quieter than larger cities I have visited, and as such the night life is a bit quieter, but you’re guaranteed good food and good beer almost without fail. They’ve been brewing beer here for hundreds of years!
English speakers can easily get by in the city without any knowledge of German, though German classes are readily available for those that want to improve and a little effort at speaking the language goes a long way with the locals. One thing that I’ve been really pleased with is the active lifestyle that I have maintained since I’ve been here. I’ve found a football team to play for, there are always people out running and cycling and the Austrians certainly make excellent use of having the Alps on their back doorstep with skiing in the winter and hiking in the summer.
Within half an hour’s drive from the centre of Salzburg you can find yourself on a ski slope. Movie-goers can find current English language films showing regularly at the cinema, the classical music scene is unbelievably vibrant thanks to Mozart’s influence, while more modern music can be found at the Irish bars and clubs in the town centre.
Christmas in Salzburg is beautiful, and has one of the best Christmas markets in the world – there’s nothing like a warm gluwein or three to warm you up on a cold winter night! Salzburg also makes for an excellent place to base yourself for visits to other cities – Munich (and Oktoberfest!) is only an hour and a half on the train, while Vienna and a host of other countries are all within touching distance for weekend trips.
I could go on! Austria might not sound the most obvious choice as a place to live for an English Language Teacher but once you’re here you’ll wonder why it’s not near the top of everyone’s list!