So here are 6 Things I’ve gained from teaching and traveling!
(Guest blog by Dominik, a September 2018 graduate of the TLH TEFL course)
Just a brief summary of myself! My name is Dominik and I took The Language House TEFL course in September 2018. It’s been one of the more rewarding things I’ve ever done! That month alone was one of the hardest, most fun, entertaining months of my life. I did something I thought I’d never do in my life (teach English to ESL students, it was on the second day of the course ;)) and it truly gave me a sense of great accomplishment.
It wasn’t my first time abroad but it felt like my first time being abroad where I truly accomplished something. Before I moved to Prague I had lived and traveled in Australia, New Zealand, and Denmark where I was just working to make money and see the countries. This was great, but I was looking for more than just traveling and seeing beautiful places. That’s where Prague changed everything.
It gave me a sense of purpose. Once I started teaching in the Czech Republic, I finally found a sense of purpose.
There was nothing wrong with all the jobs I had before coming to the Czech Republic and I understand somebody needs to do those jobs but I was looking for something where I could impact people’s lives more directly. I’ve always loved connecting with people and have always been interested in other people’s lives. So once I completed the TEFL course at The Language House Prague it truly opened my eyes and I realized that teaching English to ESL students was exactly what I was missing in my life!
I came to realize just how powerful languages are and the doors that open from being able to speak multiple. I’m fortunate to be trilingual (English, French, Czech) and the opportunities I’ve had because of it.
So that’s when I realized this was the perfect opportunity for me. To share my knowledge of English with ESL students that could benefit greatly from it.
For these students learning English, it opens up jobs, working abroad & travel, allows you to make new friends, enroll in university in English-speaking countries and for some people it gives them a second chance at life or even a fresh start.
It truly is the most rewarding job!
I have so many great stories and memories from working in schools and working online, but the greatest thing is what going abroad, teaching english, and just living my life has taught me. So that’s why me and Josefine decided to start Red White Adventures and share fun things like the best 35 things to do in Prague. With all that, I’d love to share a bit of wisdom (lol) I’ve gained since I started teaching!
So here are 6 things I’ve learned from teaching and traveling!
1) Get out of your comfort zone
If there’s one thing I’ve learned from traveling it’s about getting out of your comfort zone and doing things you maybe wouldn’t have done before. For me, I grew up in a small city in the prairies of Alberta and never had to work hard for anything and everything was just routine.
Going abroad made me realize just how big the world is and what worked for me back in my home town may not let me coast by the way it did back home. I had to learn new skills and grow as a person to realize this. Which lead me to go out of my comfort zone and do things like taking the TEFL course at TLH and starting my own blog!
2) True authentic experience
I truly figured this out in Czech Republic. I was teaching private lessons to Czech locals and I felt like for the first time in my life I got the true authentic experience from a country I was living in. We would talk about all the local pubs, restaurants, and attractions in the city that they would go to. Then I would actually go try them out and we would talk about them the following lesson. I probably would have never heard of this brewery or went on this wild adventure to Teplice Rocks if it wasn’t for my students!
One lady in specific would always bake me a homemade cake with the fruit from her garden. It was magical and even though I had to commute an hour each way I looked forward to going there every Sunday. She was actually the one who told me to go on a ski trip to Janske Lazne with my group of friends. So my good friends Alex and Pat put it together and it was a trip I’m sure we’ll all remember from our time in The Czech Republic.
So when you go abroad! Try and visit a local family or make local friends. I promise it will change your life in a positive way. You will learn so much about the country and end up seeing some places no tourists ever will.
3) Family is so important
You can be 500 kilometers or 5000 kilometers away and your family will always be the first ones to pick up the phone. Even if it’s 3 AM, there is a 100% chance your mom has her own ringtone for you and she’d be up in a second to help with anything going on.
Of course your family and friends are happy for you and they hope you’re having the best time of your life while you’re living abroad. But they’ll miss you dearly and will always be the first ones there for you when you’re having a hard time. I know it’s obvious but you truly realize how much your family supports you and cares for you when you’re halfway across the world.
4) Make international friends
You connect with people from all around the world. You may not have all the same things in common but you share the same interests for travel, culture, and have the same new experiences which will lead to life-long memories.
I absolutely love and cherish my friends I grew up with and I will always keep them close, but I also made some of my best friends while traveling.
Obviously you’re an expat in a foreign country s. So the communities are smaller and much tighter, which could be part of the reason why you become so close with the people you meet abroad. I truly feel like that’s the same way immigrants felt when they made the move to a new country and found themselves in the same situation. Finding a small community who emigrated from their homeland. It just makes sense.
But yeah, I seriously met some of the most amazing people while being abroad. The best part is the fact that the people you meet abroad tend to have the same love for travel like you. So you’ll be sure to see each other someday down the road. It may be some reunion you plan with your group of travel plans or maybe you’ll want to go visit their hometowns and experience it from their views!
I met friends in New Zealand who I’ve visited back in the States. Had reunions in Amsterdam, visited friends hometowns, and stayed with their parents while my friends were still living the life abroad.
All I can say is I’m fortunate as ever to make the friends I made abroad and the world just feels that much smaller because everywhere I go I feel like I have some sort of connection to the place.
5) Language is beautiful
I was fortunate to grow up in an immigrant family that taught me Czech from the day I was born. So growing up I was speaking Czech at home and English and French at school and with friends (I’m Canadian).
My parents were immigrants and they realized the importance of language and threw me into French immersion from the age of 5. So I was basically learning English and French at the same time while coming home to a Czech home. Slightly overwhelming speaking 3 languages on a daily basis at the age of 5! :p
At the time I absolutely hated it and never understood why I couldn’t just go to an English school like the majority of my friends but now that I look back at it I couldn’t be more thankful.
The experiences and connections I’ve made with people because I could speak the same language as them is surreal. Even last night in downtown Kelowna I overheard two backpackers speaking a language that sounded awfully familiar. I waited a few moments and asked if they were Czech and sure enough they were. We instantly had a bit of a laugh and talked about Prague and living abroad in a foreing country. I think that’s pretty freaking cool!
So that comes to the conclusion that I finally realized while teaching abroad is that there is truly something magical about languages.
So I hope I can inspire you at least a little bit to go out there and at least give it a shot! Try and learn a new language – 2020 is right around the corner, the apps and opportunities are endless! Make it a goal to try and at least learn a few basic phrases before you embark on your journey to a new country! You’ll thank me later! 😉
6) Choose my own path
I think one thing I didn’t realize for the longest time until now is that you have the right to choose whatever you want to do in life. If it’s moving abroad and teaching English around the world for the rest of your life then FANTASTIC!! If it’s doing an undergrad so you can go to med school to get that dream job then AWESOME!!!
I feel like I always had to achieve something and become someone. But at the end of the day, it’s what makes you happy that will fulfil your life and give you purpose. This is what teaching has given me. The opportunity of traveling the world while simultaneously sharing the gift of language with others.
I might not have become the dentist I thought I’d become when I was 12. But then again the 12-year-old Dom didn’t know about the endless opportunities that would come as he grew older.
Here are my last two cents and I’ll leave it at that!! If you’re thinking of traveling and going abroad then give teaching a shot. You’ll connect with locals, make friends, and just experience a country in a whole different way and I’m sure it will change your life!
If you have any questions about moving abroad or questions about living abroad then feel free to message me and I will try my best to help with anything related to traveling and living abroad!
Lastly, if you want to know a bit more about Prague and the Czech Republic and what it’s like to live here, I have written a few posts on my experience here! 🙂
35 things to do in Prague on a budget
7 ways to save on accommodation while traveling
5 reasons why you will love the Czech Republic
Enjoy a day in Brno, Czech Republic
8 Reasons why you’ll want to be living in the Czech Republic
Pilsner Urquell Brewery tour
I hope that some of the information was useful and will maybe help you take the next step of planning your move abroad! 🙂