Alumni Spotlight: Christine Rivera

Christine Rivera is currently teaching English at a primary school and a private language school in Tehuacan, Mexico. She's enjoying teaching the children, improving her Spanish and exploring the beautiful country. She graduated from California State University, Long Beach in the fields of Comparative World Literature and German. Her time spent studying abroad in Germany made her realize how gigantic the world is and made her want to travel the world and experience as many cultures as possible. After teaching abroad for a while longer she'd like to attend graduate school and keep on travelling, even if it's only on the weekends.

Why did you decide to get TEFL certified with International TEFL Academy?

Christine: It had been a year since I'd studied abroad in Germany and I really wanted to go abroad again.

Teaching English seemed like a great way to start my journey to another country so I started searching for online courses to get TEFL certified. I was looking for a good price and other amenities that came with the program.

There are many online programs but International TEFL Academy caught my eye. They were the friendliest whenever I called or emailed and they always returned missed calls.

Everyone was very knowledgeable about the countries I was interested in and they had all taught abroad for a few years. I also liked the fact that they provide lifetime job search and resume/CV assistance. That has come in handy now that I've had to update my CV and apply to new teaching positions.

I'm usually a very indecisive person but after looking into other programs I was sure I wanted to get certified with International TEFL Academy.

What made this course unique and special?

Christine: The first thing that made the course special is how attentive the people that work at International TEFL Academy are. Whenever I sent an email they would get back to me as soon as possible. When I called they always had a friendly tone and I never felt rushed. I felt like I had a lot of time to talk to the person on the other end of the line. I'm sure part of their job must be to convince people to sign up for the courses but there was never a pushy or aggressive tone. I felt really comfortable with International TEFL Academy. Once I was officially in the course and taking my online class the instructor was helpful and always available through email. She answered everyone's questions in the group forum and left us great feedback after we'd participated in the group discussion. Every section covered something specific like grammar, phonetics, classroom teaching and lesson planning. I really liked this because it was enough information to learn as well as come up with ideas of my own.

How has this experience impacted your future? (Personally, professionally, academically, etc.)

Christine: Getting TEFL certified with International TEFL Academy impacted my future because I actually put the certificate to use. I'm currently teaching English in Mexico and I would have never done that without getting TEFL certified.

Personally I now believe that I can do anything if I set my mind to it. Even though I was taking the course I was still afraid of teaching English because it was something I'd never done in a classroom in front of people.

Teaching is definitely difficult but now I believe and trust in myself a lot more. It's something that I would like to continue for a while longer because teaching has made me gain so much experience.

I now realize how much teachers have to plan and be ready for setbacks. I realize how they have to know exactly what they're teaching so as not to confuse the students or lead them to the wrong conclusions.

I know that this will help me when I eventually go to graduate school to further my degree. This experience has helped me figure out where I want to be in life and it’s helped me gain a lot of confidence.

What is one piece of advice you would offer someone considering teaching abroad?

Christine: When the person is totally sure that they want to teach abroad the one piece of advice I would give them is to research! Use as many online resources as possible to find out about the country. Are English teacher's in demand there? What's the weather like? When you've been contacted by an employer use the internet for what it's worth and research the location of the institution and the reviews from people that have worked there.

If you want to teach in a big city, is the school really in the city or is it an hour outside? Don't just take the first job that hires you without researching. Make sure that you've researched every job institution that you're really interested in. This helps because you'll feel acquainted with the school and the community before you arrive. I researched the current school I'm at just to make sure it was legitimate. I also looked at the school and the town on Google maps. Google everything! Check Go Overseas. They'll help you feel secure when you decide to teach English abroad.