Why did you choose this program?
I chose the TESOL course at the GET academy because it's a unique way of getting an internationally recognized qualification. Whilst other providers of TESOL qualifications may provide an intensive course that lasts a month, the course at the GET academy is spaced over a longer period.
This is a positive because you are able to work in a realistic work environment, traveling to different schools in Austria weekly, meaning that you leave with considerable classroom experience. It's also a great opportunity to travel whilst you work and study.
What did your program provider assist you with, and what did you have to organize on your own?
Though successful candidates must pay for and organize their own flights into Austria, the college helps you with practically everything from then on. Accommodation, travel to and from work, course materials, timetables are all provided. When I was a part of the course, a small supplementary stipend for food was also included.
There is a Welfare officer whose job is to deal with things such as problems with accommodation, trips to the doctors, personal issues, etc. - whilst I was on the course, this was admittedly a new position and needed some improvement, but the college took many of our criticisms into consideration and were always there to help.
What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?
I'd recommend making the most of your location as the country is beautiful and there's a lot to see. Whether it be the beautiful mountains of upper Austria - or the amazing parks and architecture in Vienna or Graz. Be prepared to make some very good friends - and to be patient and considerate of others. The schedule seems intense but it is very rewarding and you learn a lot - so hang in there.
What does an average day/week look like as a participant of this program?
You'll have weekends off - though some (many) of these will be spent studying. You'll work Monday to Friday, getting up super early (0500-0630 avg), traveling for up to 3 hours a day and teaching 5/6 lessons daily; you'll also have some seminars/workshops in the week 2 hours a day 3/4 days a week.
Evenings are spent de-stressing, cooking, Netflix binging, more lesson planning, socializing, lesson planning, occasional venture to a local drinking spot, revising.
Going into your experience abroad, what was your biggest fear, and how did you overcome it? How did your views on the issue change?
I've traveled a lot, but it's always nerve-wracking meeting new people, especially knowing in this context that we'd be working together, sharing bedrooms and bathrooms, cooking meals together to save money, etc.
However, honestly your other student teachers are what makes the experience worthwhile and you'll find that you are laughing, crying and partying together in no time.