I have always wanted to see the world, travel and experience different cultures and ways of life. I never had a chance to take a gap year, so in my mid-twenties I decided to do a TEFL course and do just what I had always dreamed of.
The course I chose was a 140-hour Premier TEFL Course which combined the weekend and online courses. The weekend was very intense, but the instructor miraculously managed to make the English grammar sound like the most interesting thing in the world. He was an experienced teacher himself and shared a lot of his knowledge with us. The online bit of the course took me a week's worth of evenings and was very straightforward.
When the course was over, I soon received my certificate in the post. I used TEFL Org's website to look for jobs as I was looking to go to China.
I found a job within 3 days of finishing the course and am now in Xi'an, China, where the Spring Festival celebrations have just ended. Life in China sometimes feels extremely frustrating as the cultural differences are so vast, however for the majority of time it is a great once-in-a-lifetime experience that I will never forget. I meet wonderful people every day, in and outside of the school; there is so much culture and so many experiences to be had here. I won't even try and start describing the wonderful food I've had!
I work at a language school, so my working day usually starts at 2pm and lasts until 8.30. My weekend is Wednesday and Thursday, which is actually quite nice as most people will be at work and the city less hectic. The students at school are very motivated to learn and respect their teachers a lot. There is the odd misbehaving student, but they are well-behaved and eager to study in general. Older students are also keen to find out about where I am from, and more about my culture and traditions. We often have discussions on the local affairs.
It's been a very rewarding experience so far, but I would advise nobody to only expect positive things from their TEFL experiences. I have certainly had some maddening days where nothing seems to go right, when people can't understand me due to the language barrier, when I miss home comforts and familiar faces, but those days are offset by so many more wonderful days full of learning new things and experiencing a whole different way of living.