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What are the advantages of volunteering in TEFL and how TEFL Trainer has it opened up job opportunities for me?

Diary submitted by Reanna C, Erasmus+ internship in Valencia

It is clear to me that there are many advantages which have come from my time spent in Spain. Thanks to TEFL Trainer I have not only explored a new culture and improved my language skills, but also developed a better understanding of the options I have for when I finish university. This diary will concentrate on the different job opportunities working abroad has given me. 

One main advantage of volunteering in TEFL for me, is that the opportunity has opened up many doors for me in the future. As a languages student I thoroughly enjoy travelling and living abroad. Living in Spain for 5 months has probably been one of the most enjoyable stages of my life so far; therefore, thanks to TEFL Trainer I now know I have the chance to do something like this again in the future if I wish. Whilst living in Spain I was able to absorb a lot of Spanish culture and really explore the city of Valencia to my full potential. However, the biggest advantage for me was the fact that thanks to my job at the language school I was offered free Spanish lessons in another academy. This was another great chance to improve my Spanish, and therefore, I took full advantage of these lessons which I feel have been very beneficial. ‘Speaking the language of the destination country multiplies advantages in the country’ this may include ordering in a restaurant, speaking to a doctor or dealing with bureaucracy (Colby, 2015). This has presented how teaching abroad has entitled me to more than just living in the country. Moreover, I have browsed the TEFL site and realised that there are a number of countries both inside and outside Europe which I can travel to with this qualification, including both summer camps and teaching jobs spanning over several months. This presents how TEFL Trainer has widened my windows of opportunity for after I finish university. 

Secondly, the main advantage of volunteering in TEFL for me is that it has helped me realise that teaching is a possible job option for me in the future. I have always resisted the idea of becoming a teacher in the past due to both my parents being teachers, however TEFL has given me the chance to experiment with teaching languages first hand and I have realised I am better at it than I thought. Due to my mentor leaving soon after I joined a language school in Valencia, I was forced into taking a full time teaching role with my own class. At first this was a scary concept to get my head around, however, after a couple of days it became really natural. In addition to this, at the academy I was working with students aged 16 to 70. I realised I prefer this age range because it means that the students have given up their free time to be in your class and have a higher drive to learn, as appose to languages being a compulsory subject in a secondary school. ‘Older learners progress faster in the initial stages of language acquisition’ (Cenoz, 2009) and this may be because of their increased desire to learn. Consequently, TEFL has helped me develop a few key ideas surrounding the criteria I look for in a teaching job. 

To conclude, the main advantage of TEFL for me is that I now feel more confident about my future. As I have mentioned in this diary, I now see teaching as a valid job option. Furthermore, thanks to TEFL there are countless destinations around the world that will allow me to take advantage of my qualification. This has made me feel more secure and I can now look forward to teaching abroad again in the future. 

Sources:

H. E. Colby (2015), Unlock Your TEFL Success, Published by GD Publishing LTD, (accessed: 14/07/19)

J. Cenoz (2009), Towards Multilingual Education: Basque Educational Research from an International Perspective, Published by Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, (accessed: 14/07/19) 

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