Ever since I was a little girl, I've wanted to experience Spain.
My dad lived here for a couple of years in his early twenties, and it had a profound impact on his life. So much so that he named me Cristina (instead of the typical Christina), and gave my sister a Spanish name, too. He learned how to make a dish called Tortilla de Patatas, and that was our "special occasion" dish growing up. "What would you like for your birthday dinner, Cristina?" "Tortilla!"
Fast forward to this last winter, which was really tough for me. I've never been a fan of winter (despite growing up in a snowy region of the western US), and even though this year was not particularly snowy, I was DONE. I decided I needed to move to a warm, sunny, oceanic climate. Like California. Or Florida. Then I got thinking. Hold on... I'm divorced, don't have a house, don't have kids. Why not just move to...well...Spain? It probably wouldn't be *that* much more expensive to do Spain instead of CA or FL. Hmmm.
I started looking up jobs in Spain, and kept seeing three things:
1- Many companies are looking for a native English speaker/teacher.
2- There is a strong preference for candidates who have a TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) certificate.
3- Most of these companies prefer not to have to do the paperwork to bring someone from outside the EU into the EU -- they prefer that the candidate already be here.
I started Googling 'TEFL companies,' and I very quickly learned that CIEE is one of the leaders -- if not THE leader -- in the field. I looked through the programs, and decided go to with the 150-Hour TEFL Certification and Teaching Job in Murcia. This way, if I want (and am able) to stay and get a job somewhere, I will have a TEFL. I will be completing my 20-hour practicum while I'm here, which means that I'm on a student visa. Having a student visa makes getting into Spain more simple than if I were on a work visa.
The course was SO helpful! People going into it should know a few things:
- This is not the type of "do it whenever you want" course. There are weekly deadlines, and it came out to about 15 hours a week, which, on top of my 40-hour-a-week full time job, felt like a lot. You have a lot of flexibility within those deadlines, but they're still there.
- There is a 20-hour practicum, but that's calculated in the 150 hours.
- There will be many students in the TEFL course, and most of them will probably not be from your program. It was interesting to get the views of the many people in the class, even though most won't be in Murcia.
- The assignments are very useful and helpful! Some of my college classes felt like a lot of busywork, but I really enjoyed the TEFL coursework. I learned so much that will help me throughout my life.
- The TEFL never expires!
I'm here, I survived my flight(s), I'm mostly over my jet lag, and I'm LOVING Spain. Next, I have my orientation on Monday for the Auxiliares de Conversacion in Murcia, and I start school on October 1. Can't wait!