Archive | March, 2015

Marienbruecke graffiti frog

Vienna the City

Vienna is charming, delightful and appears regularly among the top 5 cities to live in worldwide. Vienna embraces the new world in ways that often surprise newcomers (e.g. the Live Ball, Conchita Wurst, Rainbow Parade) whilst cherishing its Imperial past. Yet Austria has been governed by Socialists for decades.

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Tom in Makassar

The prospect of working abroad can be a nerve-wracking and anxiety-inducing experience for a lot of people. Uprooting one’s life and leaving behind a support base of family and friends is a life-changing decision, but one which my girlfriend and I decided to make in the summer of 2013. After completing our 120 hour TEFL certificate we immediately began the job hunt. Ever ready for new experiences, we decided to look at teaching in Indonesia, as we had already traveled around much of Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam. We were rewarded with two early morning Skype interviews, one for positions in Solo, Java; the other for positions in Makassar, Sulawesi. The latter city we knew nothing about, apart from reading Lonely Planet’s description of it being an “unnerving place”. After much deliberation, we decided to go for the path least trodden, despite the fact that the school, Fluo Institute, had no website and very little online presence. So it was with TEFL certificates in hand, slight trepidation and much praying that it wasn’t a scam, that we left rainy old England at the beginning of 2014 for a year’s long teaching contract in Makassar. It would turn out to be the best decision of our lives.

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Chile vistas

Images by David Brown

Chile means adventure. Safe enough for you to be spontaneous, exotic enough to excite – Chile is the perfect place to earn some cash, live reasonably well and, once acclimatized, travel further into the wilder parts of South America.

Persuaded by a friend, who was travelling with me, I borrowed $1000 and booked a flight, one way. Neither of us had planned for the trip, but we had studied on the same TEFL course and acquired some basic Spanish after living in Barcelona for a couple of months. We wanted to experience somewhere that wasn’t so international though, where being an English teacher was a novelty not the norm.

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Ao Nang beach Thailand

By kallerna (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Travelling away from the UK to teach English abroad is hugely exciting, with a myriad of new professional, travel and cultural experiences to be enjoyed. There are of course, the inevitable practical arrangements to be made before you jet off, including getting any inoculations that you may need, packing your suitcase – and also – arranging suitable travel insurance for your time away from the UK.

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