I can’t believe I have been in Europe for 10 months. This month (August) is my 10th month since I got here the beginning of October. It’s been quite a journey thus far and I can’t believe All I have done in between. It seems surreal.
As an update on my adventure, I am now living and working in Prague. I have a job English teaching and I am also working at a company doing marketing. It’s been great- I like my students and my coworkers. I have one roommate- we have our own rooms. It’s actually K from my TEFL experience in October so we get along well!
My students were mainly 20 years old. They are taking a year off from regular studies to learn English fully; however, their English is pretty good already. I currently teach two classes at two companies meaning they are older than 20, but they are young in spirit 🙂
English teaching jobs in Prague:
Some questions that have come up was how was finding a job or more specifically a teaching job in Prague. It is quite simple actually. There is a high need for English teachers. Unlike some other countries, they do want the TEFL certification. I believe it’s because the English level of the students of a whole are better and they want to know specifics of the language not just that you can speak it fluently. Some English teachers in Spain have told me that their students are very loud and passionate, but mine are quiet and reserved. As It’s now been over a month, I feel like they have gotten used to me and accepted me as they speak more and joke with me more in class. They are more like the American culture than the Spanish one in terms of raising hands and following directions versus arguing.
But like any young student, they still speak their native language, Czech in class. As I have learned Spanish, I understand the lack of will to constantly speak another language especially when you can express something so easily in your native one. I try encouraging them to speak English, but at the end of the day, I let them discuss what they need to in Czech.
I teach with two schools. One school, I found through word of mouth since many of my friends work there. The other, I found online through Expats.cz. A very helpful website in which I also found my marketing job. Most English teachers teach at different schools to have the most options when picking classes or having as many chances as possible to get classes.
Though there is a need for English teachers, finding classes that fit your schedule can be hard. In terms of pay and classes- the norm is to pay per 45 minute class. Most lessons are an hour and 30 minutes meaning 2 45 minute classes. Also, the confusing thing is when they say an hour class they mean 45 minutes.
There are 3 different English teaching options in Prague:
-Private lessons: These are harder to come by as you need to build a word of mouth reputation, but you can charge more per lesson. However, since it’s a private, expect to have an irregular schedule and be flexible with meetings.
-Teaching classes at a company or some type of school classes: These give you more of a regular schedule. You can get to know your students more since it’s almost year round. In the Czech Republic, most classes end for the summer holidays. The pay is average and you can still have students canceling on you.
-Teaching Pre-school: This option is the most regular as it’s Monday through Friday from certain hours. The pay is better than regular classes, but then again, you are looking after 4 year olds. This totally depends on you as a person. My roommate had this job for several months, but was getting tired running after the kids and getting sick from them. She did enjoy the stories and when they did behave, but overtime I talked with her she was going to the doctor for something. So, in the end, it was healthier for her to change jobs.
For most of these teaching jobs you have to give a demo lesson as well as answer a few questions like a normal interview. It’s not that bad and quite simple. For my one school, I also had to do a small grammar test, but they didn’t really count my score, just saw how much I knew right that second. Since you have time to prepare lessons, you also have time to learn the material really well and, of course, can rely on being a native for all the extra doubts.
Sometimes, I have to say the sentence several times to figure out if it’s right or wrong and sometimes I even tell my students that I don’t know why it’s wrong, just that it sounds wrong. They usually accept that answer, for good or bad, I’m not sure…
Another job option instead of teaching English is tour guide. I also looked into being a tour guide, but the hours didn’t work with my other 2 jobs so I had to decline some offers. It sounded like fun and if you speak Spanish and or Chinese, you are golden.
Apartment/Flat in Prague:
I was fortunate that a room opened up with my friend around the time that I needed a place and so I didn’t have to look. I saw her place before and even slept on her couch so I knew the area and the apartment to make a good decision.
Most people look on Facebook through the different groups. They go fast so you have to be online as soon as an ad is posted and be prepared to make a down payment that next hour. Some people used an agency to find a place, but you have to pay more of course for the service.
My friends live with a variety of people, I live with a friend, others live with friends that aren’t American, others live with completely new people (non-Americans) and now are friends. So, depending on what you are looking for, there is a variety.
Living in Prague:
Prague is a relatively cheap city to live. Transportation is a euro per ticket or about 25 euros per month. You can also buy 3 months at a time or 5- so cheaper per month/per day. I normally spend about 15 euros for groceries for a week or so worth. Eating out is a bit more as it is considered a treat and not the norm like it is in the States. Of course, all of this depends to your living style. My coworker eats out every lunch. I always pack a lunch. To her, this is cheap and a nothing expense, to me it’s a big deal. So depends on you. The average rent near the center is about 400 euros a month. Most of my friends pay around this (including utilities) per room. My couple friend pay 200 each because they split the room as an example.
I will explain the visa process in a separate post.
I was looking at places to go from Prague. Prague for some reason is a very expensive airport to fly to and from. Cheap flights are from Berlin most cases. But this Ryan Air flight came up from Prague to Brussels Charlorei. This airport is an hour outside Brussels center, but transport into the center is easy enough. I am able to meet a friend I met in Bulgaria there and stay with him, which helps a lot. But, this week I have been going a bit stir crazy and have been travel sick. When I booked this flight, I knew at this point in my time in Prague I would be feeling this way and here I am.
One of the draws to Prague was how it’s in Central Europe- close to a variety of countries. But, I didn’t realize that transport from Prague wouldn’t be cheap. Maybe because it is central and the airlines take advantage. Buses and trains are good, of course, the buses are the cheapest option. For a 5 hour ride to Berlin it is 15 euros one way versus about 60 euros for the train for about the same time.
In total- Why Prague?
I’ve gotten this question a lot. Why did you pick Prague? Most of the time I get it from my Czech friends, students, etc. I’m not sure what they want me to say, but of course I say all the nice things because it’s true.
Prague is beautiful, though I love Belgrade and Budapest more, I do like Prague. Prague is central- nice to travel around. I have a support base here from my TEFL experience. There is a need for English teachers. I’ve spent a lot of time in countries that speak Spanish or is similar enough that I can get by, the Czech Republic is a very different place and language and I wanted to try it. Also, since Prague is in the Schengen area, my visa works throughout all of Schengen not just in the Czech Republic.
I still not have taken Czech classes since I’ve been back and I’m hoping to start this Summer. I’ve been waiting for my schedule to die down, but just by living here I am picking up words- everyday words such as hello, thank you, the numbers, etc.