Alumni Spotlight: Christina Bates


Christina is a born & raised Las Vegas native. She always regretted not studying abroad in college and always wanted to live in a foreign country (specifically one that speaks Spanish). When she took a spontaneous 2 week trip to Peru it was then when she noticed two things: 1) how terrible her Spanish was and 2) her love for travel. She promised herself from that point on she would stop making excuses and 3 months later she moved to Madrid, Spain!

Why did you choose this program?

I chose the 4 week onsite TEFL / Student Visa program with ITA because I knew that if I was going to sell everything, move to a foreign country and start a brand new career I wanted to make it as seamless as possible. Overall, I really wanted to make sure I was prepared to enjoy it to the maximum!

What did your program provider assist you with, and what did you have to organize on your own?

For the 4week onsite TEFL program, ITA partners with a local TEFL school. They assisted me with the entire student visa process, trained me on "how" to actually teach English and set me up with interviews after the course. I was immediately hired by an academy after the course. They can assist you with housing but I chose to find a place to live on my own.

What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?

I would advise you to save as much money as you can before you move. You definitely want to be able to support yourself for at least 2 months (roughly 2k). You likely won't begin work until after the TEFL course then the academies typically pay you at the end of the month. So you could go without pay for 2-3months.

What does an average day/week look like as a participant of this program?

The 4 week onsite TEFL program runs M-F typically from 9:30-6:30 pm with breaks in between. You will likely work on group projects & lessons every weekend. Try to stay organized and be prepared because you won't really have much time to do much else outside the class. While the course is intense & busy, it's fun & well worth it!

Going into your experience abroad, what was your biggest fear, and how did you overcome it? How did your views on the issue change?

My biggest fear was that what if I don't enjoy it? What if I wasn't cut out for teaching? Luckily, I also thought this was just another experience in my life's journey and that even if by chance it wasn't for me I'd definitely have one hell of a story to talk about. I knew I could always go back & I'd regret it if I didn't try.

Overall thoughts…would you change anything?

Overall I’m super happy I made the decision to teach English in Madrid. I’ll be honest, it hasn’t been easy and it has its ups and downs but for me, it has been 100% worth it and I wouldn’t trade this experience. Every day I’m learning something new, challenging myself to grow out of my comfort zone and try new things and every day I’m falling more and more in love with this city…who knows maybe I’ll never go back to the states, maybe I will, maybe I’ll move to another country. All I can say is that if you’re not sure what to do my vote is to go for it…you can always go back but if you don’t try you’ll spend the rest of your life wondering what it would have been like.