What is your favorite travel memory?
I think my favorite memory traveling to Prague was flying on a plane with my cat. I had him in his special carrier and it was his first time flying so, naturally, he was very scared. Luckily, I had both seats for myself on the plane and both of us could get comfortable.
The flight attendants were very nice as well and offered him some water as refreshment. They also didn’t make me place him under the seat and allowed me to keep him on my lap (while in the carrier, of course). That made the flight less stressful for him.
I have very fond memories of this because at the time I was basically turning a huge new leaf in my life and the very event of being in a plane with everything I owned packed in a single suitcase and a cat carrier seemed meaningful and very memorable.
How have you changed/grown since working for your current company?
Working for The Language House TEFL in Prague has changed me a lot; it has made me more self-reliant, self-confident and much more independent. I come from a small town where things get very familiar and cozy really quickly. Living and working for my school here has taken me out of my comfort zone many times and has taught me to think on my feet, multitask and be ready for basically anything.
It also made me realize that a work environment can be a place you look forward to going every day, especially when the people you work with are as understanding, encouraging and fun as The Language House staff and teachers. I’ve also had a chance to improve my language skills in both English and Czech and have become much more proficient in both languages.
What is the best story you've heard from a return student?
The best story I've heard so far came from The Language House TEFL graduate, a recent one, who very quickly after graduating and receiving her certification in teaching English as a foreign language found a good teaching job here, both a beautiful and affordable apartment, became close friends with some of her fellow TEFLers and really had things come together in a very nice way.
It struck me as pretty amazing to have things come together like that so soon after moving to a completely new place.
I think it's a nice example for people who have also decided to make such a drastic change in their lives and need some encouragement. I also know of people who have taken the experience and independence they have gained here to places like China or Vietnam and it is always incredible to see how far they have come.
If you could go on any program that your company offers, which one would you choose and why?
The teaching course that The Language House offers in Prague is not only very thorough, intensive and accredited worldwide, all of which I think puts it head and shoulders above the rest; it also comes with a huge package of support, practice and opportunities that I don't think you can get elsewhere.
There are dedicated people here who make sure all the incoming students have the transition happen as smoothly as possible. Guidance and support are available to them at all times, which is very important when you find yourself in a brand new place. The amount of practice you can get with actual non-native English speakers in real classroom situations is very impressive.
You can also easily connect with so many other people who have gone through the same thing and have gained valuable experience you then get to exchange with them. I would (and I will) definitely go through this program very soon.
What do you believe to be the biggest factor in being a successful company?
In my opinion, a company is only as great as the people who make it. The Language House is a crew of highly competent and professional people. Our school's director, Chris Westergaard, is not only extremely capable to take on whatever undertaking he sets his mind to, he also knows how to gather people with different skills and competences around him and make the most out of each person's strength and ability.
He also never loses sight of what makes us human even in a place of business, which is help, support, as well as plenty of understanding. Take a group of people like that and you not only have a successful company, but also a supportive and challenging work environment you are glad to go back to every day.