Moving abroad to teach English during a pandemic involves planning, foresight and determination, but it CAN be done!
So, you’ve decided. You’ve decided that you’re ready to take the next leap in your life and that you want that leap to be moving to Prague, CZ to get TEFL certified via The Language House. You are ready to experience the endless new travel destinations, the loads of new friends, the emotional highs, and the renewed sense of purpose. The vision of a new you in a new country is captivating and you just. can’t. wait. But then you remember; the pandemic is still here and it’s still wreaking havoc.
Can the move still be done? Well, I am here to tell you it can and that it’s no Prague-lem.
No, Really Though.
All jokes and puns aside, when I first decided to move abroad, I was not convinced that the move would be even remotely seamless. In fact, I was fairly convinced that the pandemic would pose a huge issue to my travel plans and that I would potentially have to continue to postpone my dream life abroad. Due to my job as a COVID-19 public health worker in the U.S, I really understood the complexity that is now international travel and the numerous risks that come with it. Anxious with anticipation and excitement though, I was determined to forge ahead with my goal to get to the Czech Republic and now I’m living to tell the tale.
What You’ll Need.
I knew that the first step in order to make my move successful was to look up travel restrictions from the United States to the Czech Republic. I found that the easiest way to get accurate, updated information was to look at the U.S. Embassy in the Czech Republic COVID-19 webpage (for U.S. citizens). If you’re not from the U.S., you can also easily look at the Ministry of the Interior of the Czech Republic webpage for general COVID-19 guidelines and updates for all persons. Having been fully vaccinated, my life was made much easier travel restrictions – wise.
The documents I needed to travel were:
- COVID-19 Vaccination Card/ Certificate
- The Passenger Locator Form for the Czech Republic
- Proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test*
In Covid times, keeping up with travel procedural changes is a must.
*At the time I was traveling, October 2021, it actually was not required by either my airline or the Czech Republic to have a negative test in order to travel (due to my fully vaccinated status). Despite this, I was still inexplicably asked for proof of a negative test leaving the United States. Lucky for me, I had chosen to get a test done prior to my trip just in case. The need for a negative test often depends on many things such as your vaccination status, the airlines you’re flying, the locations of the layovers you’ll have, and the countries you’re flying from/to. Due to the complexity of it all, I recommend getting a negative test no matter what – it may end up making all the difference.
As of December 27, 2021 all passengers without boosters are required to have a 72-hour PCR test.
An additional thing that is an absolute must are masks, specifically the right kind. Many countries in Europe, the Czech Republic included, now require FFP2 masks on airplanes, in airports, and in many public gathering places (malls, public transportation etc.). I recommend getting 2-4 masks that are up to this standard to start out with, and then once you arrive in Prague you can easily and cheaply buy more as needed.
A final and completely non-negotiable thing you’ll need is flexibility. Personally, this is not a strength of mine and I know it. But what I told myself, and what you would need to tell yourself if you’re at all like me, is that you ARE Mr./Ms. Flexible now. Potential new restrictions? Later problem. A third cancelled flight? Fixable, solvable. A close-contact relative that tested positive for COVID days before you leave? You’ll just see what happens with your own test, because you’re Ms. Flexible. The reality is that we now live in a world that truly demands flexibility, especially with travel, so in order to forage forward successfully and with limited stress we must have the determination and flexibility it takes to adjust.
Arriving in Prague and Accommodation
As expected, my trip to Prague was not seamless. After 22 hours, two cancelled flights, multiple delays, a missed layover and a piece of lost luggage though, I did end up successfully crawling my way into The Fizz – the student housing option provided by The Language House.
The Fizz is student housing accommodation that The Language House has rented to provide their students with an affordable, easily-accessible housing option for the duration of the course. I greatly enjoyed my stay at The Fizz, and I found it was the perfect place to temporarily stay while dealing with the stress and work that came with the TEFL course. Additionally, it provided me the opportunity to really get to know and spend time with a lot of the other students in my course, as they had also chosen to stay at The Fizz. The picture below shows a few of us on my first day, having just gone out and wandered in an attempt to familiarize ourselves with the stunning new city we had moved across the world for.
Outside of the study rooms and resources The Fizz entails, its location is also just a five minute walk from a large and beautiful park that I never could never get enough of – spending a lot of time walking and soaking up all the massive, exciting changes I had experienced in just a few short weeks.
There are many forms of accommodation to choose from though, and you can read all about what The Language House has to say about housing here.
TEFL Course and Certification
Just four days after my chaotic travel experience ended, my TEFL journey at The Language house began. I took part in the orientation the weekend before the course began which allowed me to meet the majority of peers, and which made me especially eager to begin learning all things TEFL.
From day one, you can tell that The Language House takes its job and course very seriously. You hit the ground running, spending your mornings in class and your evenings teaching real Czech students of various levels, with occasional afternoon lessons slipped in as well. I greatly appreciated the thoroughness of the curriculum and the endless support I felt I got from the staff throughout the entirety of the program. My questions were always answered fully and respectfully and the feedback I got was helpful in guiding me towards being the best teacher I could be by the end of the course.
You are required to be fully vaccinated to take part in the course, helping everyone to feel comfortable and safe while in class and in groups. When my month’s course began, the COVID situation in Prague was safe enough that we were able to be maskless while indoors. Once things worsened severely, we needed to switch to masks indoors in order to do all that was possible to keep people healthy. It was reassuring to know that The Language House was doing what it could to keep its students safe and I was glad to be a part of a program that took that seriously.
I loved my time spent in the certification course and I genuinely believe that it was a worthwhile experience that prepared me well for the world of TEFL abroad. The hours of real teaching experience, the connections made, and the innumerable new things learned truly provided me with the confidence needed to apply to TEFL jobs afterwards and feel ready for them – even during an ongoing pandemic. (Read more about the course here!)
After the Course and Looking Ahead.
Now that the course has ended, I’m really starting to feel settled – I feel like Prague is becoming a true home and that I can really build a life here. I’ve been able to secure a wonderful apartment with friends, meet locals, and begin to get to know the area I’ve moved 4,500 miles from my home state in the U.S for.
If you’re thinking about moving abroad to take part in The Language House but are hesitant about doing so due to the pandemic – I get it. Moving during a time of such ambiguity and stress definitely isn’t for everyone. There is definitely much more planning and preparation needed now than in pre-pandemic times. But, if you’re on the fence and need a little push, consider this.
All you need is a little courage, a lot of flexibility and a few masks. If you have those things, I say the move is no Prague-lem.