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So you want to teach in Munich? Good choice. Capital city of Bavaria, and third largest city in Germany, Munich has a whole lot to offer: culture, soccer, nightlife, architecture and - who can forget? - Oktoberfest.
Now is also a good time to come and offer your English skills to the city. Whilst the English language has always been a strong part of the German curriculum, it's becoming more prevalent than ever, particularly in business-oriented cities such as Munich. One of Germany's top universities, Munich Technical University, is even planning to have all of its Master's Courses taught entirely in English by 2020.
Munich is a prosperous, successful city, and Germany a fascinating country to experience. If you want to experience Bavarian life to the full, you couldn't pick a better place to work.
Most English teachers work on a freelance basis through a private language school (particularly important for US citizens, as the school needs to sponsor your visa). Pay is typically lower at these schools, but hours can be more consistent. Inlingua and Berlitz are two well-known examples, although there are others. The Volkshochschule (Adult Education Centre) is another option; you can also gain your CELTA certificate or learn German here.
Whilst it is possible to gain employment at these schools outside of Germany, it is much easier to find a job when you are physically in Munich. Contact the schools directly, rather than through general recruitment websites. If you plan to teach at a private school, it's best to make sure you have sufficient back-up funds, as Munich is an expensive city.
Munich is an extremely business-oriented city, and Business English is therefore in much demand by companies and individuals. You can command a much higher wage if you decide to opt for private lessons; however, it is much more difficult to obtain this kind of work immediately. Word of mouth is also important in this regard. It's best to set yourself up in the city first, before seeking opportunities online, through friends, universities or other contacts. MELTA (Munich English Language Teachers Assocation) is also a useful group to join. For a fee of 35 euro, or 15 euro for students, you can join the community, and gain a whole wealth of friends, teaching contacts and knowledge.
There are numerous bilingual preschools in Munich (in Germany, they start studying English early!). So, if you'd rather work with children than with adults, you have several school choices. There are several bonuses to this too: the work is consistent, you'll get your visa sorted, and some positions provide holidays and other benefits.
Seeing as peak hiring season is September and January, it is recommended to arrive at least a month before to obtain a position. While it is feasible to find schools online, it is important to be present in the city for the job search to be hired.
In order to obtain a visa in Germany as a non-EU resident, you must apply prior to entering the country. If you wish to stay no more than 90 days, you can apply for the Schengen visa. If you plan to teach for longer than a few months, you will need to apply for a residence permit, which have varying timelines. Once your visa or permit is expired, you will have to return to your country of origin prior to filing for another visa.
As competition grows in the English teaching field, a TEFL certificate is now becoming a pre-requisite. Schools also prefer to hire candidates with a degree. Experience is not always necessary, although is becoming more and more of a requirement.
It's also useful to know that German CVs come with a photograph, so get your most professional, smiling face at the ready. German language skills aren't usually necessary for English teaching roles; in fact, many companies prefer that you don't use German at all, as it's more beneficial for students to study only in English. However, for your personal life, of course it's helpful to have some basic knowledge.
Be prepared, potential Munich teachers - you are about to enter the most expensive city in Germany. Sorry about that. As mentioned above, your salary could vary widely depending on your choice of school, so research as much as possible, and bring some back-up money.
Your main expense will be, of course, accommodation. It is very, very unlikely that a school will provide you with accommodation, although private schools may assist you. It's best to search online, and recruit the help of friends and colleagues if possible. You are looking at about 500 euro a month to rent a room, and likely double to rent an apartment. Bear in mind that when an apartment says "unfurnished" on an ad, it means unfurnished: there will be literally nothing in it, including kitchen fittings, bed - the lot!
Health insurance is mandatory, and varies widely in cost depending on your circumstances. Food can be bought cheaply, and is about the same price on average as in the UK. You can live a fairly good life on this salary if you budget where you can, but it may well have to be a little more "bohemian" than in other German cities. It's not a place to save money - keep that in mind!
Generally, classrooms in Germany are relatively formal and rule-based. Most teachers don't generally interact with students outside of class, though foreign English teachers sometimes do fraternize with students. Similar to the US, a handshake is appropriate when greeting students. As a teacher, business casual dress code is expected.
Munich is expensive, yes, but it's also a beautiful and fascinating place. It's also a stone's throw away from beautiful scenery and other interesting travel points, including Neuschwanstein Castle. Germany is, overall, a wonderful and interesting place to experience working abroad. It's also one of the easier and, unsurprisingly, more efficient places in Europe to move to - particularly for US citizens, for whom visa issues can be extremely difficult in other European countries.
If you wish to try your hand at Munich life, take your time to research, save up more money than you'd planned, and try and search for work ready for the September and January peak hire times. And most importantly, once you're there, have fun! It's a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and you should be proud to have followed your dreams.
And if you plan to rent an unfurnished apartment, bring everything and the kitchen sink.
Alex Pendleton is a foreign correspondent from Pink Pangea. Follow her on Google+.
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