A Terrible, Terrible Experience

Instruction: 1
Support: 1
Value: 4
Academic Rigor: 3
Job Assistance: 1

I really, really regret taking this course and I would definitely recommend anyone thinking about taking this to steer clear. When I came, I was expecting hard work, very early starts, long drives, and teaching experience with lots of different schools: this was all true, but not the problem. What was the problem?

First, if I had known *where* the "course" would be taking place, I would never have come. It's not in Graz, or even in Wolfsberg; it's in a tiny, tiny town, with a paper factory that imbues the environment with the very, very strong smell of pee. It's an hour's walk from the nearest town, and there's no public transport at all on weekends. There's one very expensive shop, and nothing to do at all - and they definitely don't provide "social" or "cultural" events like they say they do!

Secondly, the "course" was a joke. We did not have a course tutor for the entire four months - the academic director came down as often as he could (he's now left due to the complete incompetence of the organisation) but of course he was spread between the other sites. For the first few weeks we had input sessions and some guidance but after that we were entirely left to your own devices - and if you have questions about the online course, or the lesson plans you were supposed to write, or the lessons you're teaching - nobody will reply to your questions, and if you have problems - for example, I had one young student throw himself against a wall and threaten to kill me - good luck getting any help or support!!

There are almost no resources (there is a printer and one computer!). The internet is down half the time. There's almost nowhere quiet to work. The kitchen is tiny. The house is filthy and falling apart.

Thirdly, nobody cares about you or will lift a finger to help you. You need to go to the hospital over an hour away and get your ear drum punctured? Happened to one of the people on our course - she had to walk there and back on her own, dizzy and ill. I was really allergic to the room they put me in - struggling to breathe kind of allergic - and despite there being perfectly good rooms that nobody was using it took more than a week for them to move me. After they did allow me to move, there was no light in the room they moved me to, so they promised me they'd bring a lamp. And promised me, and promised me - I brought it up quite a few times, getting up at 5am in pitch black winter is hard, and much much harder when you have no light in your room! They never brought me one.

Those are just a few examples of the times they tell you one thing and then do something else, don't tell you, or just 'forget about it' - they act like you're just there to annoy them, not volunteers putting a good deal of time and effort into their program! They promised me I could do the TKTs and forgot all about it, despite me telling them multiple times, at the interview and while I was there - and they didn't bother. One of my fellow students was dyslexic, and despite her telling them and showing them proof, they didn't bother to confirm with the exam center so she could have extra time. They would regularly not tell you what was happening sometimes until late the night before - not ideal when you're getting up at five and they send you an email at 11pm or sometimes later telling you what time you have to be at the car.

With some exceptions, the staff are deeply, deeply unorganised - sending me passive aggressive notes about why I wasn't on the "Virtual Classroom" when they'd scheduled me to be at a school (you can't do both at the same time) - condescending and rude. Everybody in my course expressed their unhappiness with aspects of it - the academic director going to far as to collect as a survey to give to the boss as to what problems we had - and nothing ever changed. The "good" staff were dropping like flies - pretty much everyone was quitting while we were there - and trying to do multiple people's jobs. Nothing was ever done on time - our "food delivery" was usually weeks late and we never got the last one. However, every time they would promise us we'd get it on this date - no, just a couple of days later - okay, next week for sure - just a few more days! Whoever you bring a problem up with, it's not their responsibility and they can't help you - and whoever is is on holiday or ill or just not responding to their emails. Scheduling is a mess - some students got lots of days off and some got none. Me and and one other student teacher had to our final assessments - which decides whether you pass the course or not - with a class we'd never met before.

The way ABCi is run is completely at odds with both the CELT-P and the TESOL qualifications as well - both qualifications are supposed to be with classes you have over a period of time, and the ABCi programming has no resemblance to the lesson plans Cambridge or Trinity expect.

Not to mention, in four months, you are not allowed one single day off! If you were getting paid it would be illegal in Austria (and the UK).

I could go on and on - but suffice to say, pretty much everything they could do badly they do. Do NOT go there. It's not worth it, even for a "free" qualification.

Would you recommend this program?
No, I would not
Year Completed
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