What is your name, age and nationality?
My name is Grace Miller, I’m 22 and I am from the USA
What is your education level and background?
I have a Bachelors Degree in Psychology and Economics from Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, FL
Have you travelled abroad previously, and if so where?
Previous to this year I had traveled to Spain and a couple of other parts of
Europe including Germany and Budapest. I went to Thailand two separate
times with my college; the first to take a month long class, during which time
we traveled to Cambodia and Laos, and the second to do research with a
professor. I also spent a month in Costa Rica taking a Yoga Teacher Training
What motivated you to teach abroad?
I was approaching the end of my undergraduate career with a determination
to live abroad for a while. Although I loved the two areas of study I had chosen
to pursue in college, I was unsure exactly how to carry those into a career that
I would be passionate about. Knowing this about myself, I began my search
and talked to others that had taught English in different parts of the world and
knew that this is where I saw myself in the immediate future. I was also
motivated by my desire to learn Spanish.
What did you want to personally achieve with this experience, and have you succeeded?
Well, first of all, I wanted to learn Spanish and, although at times very frustrating, I have definitely succeeded in starting the process. I wanted to achieve a sense of independence and self-reliance which turned out to be inevitable, because although I have made many relationships to which I can turn for advice, I am ultimately reliant on myself in this exploration. And trust me, there are plenty of things you will have to figure out for yourself when uprooting to a new culture. I feel confident to say that if you make the decision to teach abroad, you will feel a different independence than ever before. I have also been curious about teaching as a profession, and wanted to explore the potential of a career path. In that way I have discovered a lot about myself as well.
Did you apply for the program with a friend or on your own?
On my own! I didn’t know anyone before coming to Argentina!
Did you know anyone who had taught abroad before you?
Yes I had talked to many people who had taught abroad when I was exploring the possibility for my own life.
What were some of your concerns before you began teaching abroad?
My two main concerns were finding and making friends, and also feeling financially comfortable and like I was able to make ends meet. In reference to friends, I was able to make great friends right away in the TEFL course that I took and who were in the same situation that I was. As for money, I am definitely able to make ends meet and also feel like if I wanted to pack my week with more teaching and make a little more money, I could do that as well.
TEFL PROGRAM INFORMATION
What made you decide to do a TEFL course and choose TEFL Heaven?
Apart from the huge opportunity it is to travel and live another culture, I was excited by the fact that I could use a tool that I was given since birth (the English language) and turn it into a way to benefit others. I chose TEFL Heaven after deciding that I wanted to teach English abroad and then doing a lot of research about how I achieve this. There are many programs out there but this one seemed the most cost effective and highly regarded by its alumni.
What made you choose a face-to-face TEFL course over other options?
This is a great question and I think the response is VERY important. First of all, the face-to-face course allows you to meet and most likely build a relationship with other budding teachers which I found very important as I was planning to live there for a while after. It gave me the opportunity to ask questions to my teacher who was experienced in teaching and the Argentinian culture. The other huge advantage about choosing this TEFL method was the practical experience it gave me, allowed me to gain confidence and feel as though I was ready to take on the role as a teacher. Throughout the whole course we gave mini mock lessons to our peers and then in the last 2 weeks of the course I was responsible for preparing and teaching classes to real Argentinian students. I even taught a class at a local language center as part of the course. I greatly benefitted from these experience and felt very prepared afterwards because, as they say, practice makes perfect!
Which TEFL program did you do?
TEFL Heaven Argentina Program, August 2018
What did you enjoy about your TEFL course?
I really enjoyed everything about my course. The people were amazing and SO helpful in my transition into Argentina life and culture. I learned so much from the community that ran the course and they really put an emphasis on making sure we were getting acclimated to life here.
How prepared did you feel for your teaching position?
This was something I was a little worried about before starting the course and I questioned my ability to become a teacher in just one month. However, after the course I was surprised by how prepared I felt to prepare classes and guide my own students in their language journey.
How long have you been teaching in Argentina and how long do you plan to stay?
I have been living and teaching here for about 6.5 months and I plan to stay here for about 1 year in total. However, I don’t have a concrete plan so if at that time I feel as though I want to stay longer I will!
How did you secure your English teaching job?
I actually got my first couple of students through the school where I took the TEFL course, from other teachers that were leaving the country. Then I also applied to other programs where I found the company that I work for.
What does a typical working week look like for you?
My week is a little unconventional because I don’t work in a school or English institute. Instead, I have about 7 individual students that I meet each week either in their homes or cafes. I also teach English at a shipping business for its employees one hour a day Tuesday-Friday. So, that being said, every day I meet an average of 3-4 students for an average of 1 hour, so a lot of my day is traveling all over the city to meet them at their house (which is actually pretty cool because you get to see more of the city).
What age group or range do you teach?
I teach all ages and all levels. I have a 5 year old student, a 67 year old student, and every age in between!
What do you most enjoy about teaching your students?
Honestly the best thing about teaching my students is the relationship I have built with every one of them. Since the topic of the ‘classroom’ is language, we end up talking about all sorts of topics, including personal ones, in order to practice. With personal anecdotes and opinions being shared it is not unusual to develop a relationship with your students. I can say that I genuinely enjoy meeting most of my students every week because we have built that rapport.
How did you get your work visa?
Argentina is a very welcoming country to foreigners so they aren’t very strict when it comes to visas. Therefore, I am on the tourist visa and have to leave the country every 90 days to renew it. It forces you to get out there and travel!
How did you find somewhere to live and what is it like?
The first month that I was here I lived with a home-stay family that TEFL Heaven set me up with which was a great experience because we ate meals together and I got to practice my Spanish. After that month, I searched around on craigslist and found a couple of apartments that I then went to visit and ended up picking an apartment with 2 roommates who are AWESOME. It’s in a great area and it’s pretty cheap!
Argentina is AWESOME! There is great meat, great people, and many activities. So here are a series of things that are different and cool; people are very passionate about everything and also physically affectionate; you greet everyone with a single cheek kiss; everyone drinks mate (a drink that is kind of like a strong tea) at all times everywhere; protests happen very often and always have so many people; people eat dinner at around 10 pm and at around 6pm they have what is called ‘merienda’ when they eat little toasts and mini sandwiches; there are ALWAYS things to do in this city!!
What are your monthly expenses?
Rent: 8,500 pesos/month
Food: 1,000 pesos/week
Other bills: none
Social life: 700 pesos/week
Transportation: 500 pesos/week
Phone: 300 pesos/month
Other costs: Give or take, 500 pesos/week
Would you say you are able to live comfortably on your monthly salary?
ADVICE FOR PROSPECTIVE ENGLISH TEACHERS
What advice would you give someone thinking about teaching abroad, and would you recommend teaching English in Argentina?
TAKE THE LEAP!!! ITS SCARY BUT IT SOOO WORTH IT! I promise you wont regret it. Oh, also, if you end up beginning on this journey, contact me when you’re here! I would love to meet you!
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