It is fair to say that the Czech Republic is one of Europe’s hidden jewels that in recent years has become a more popular destination amongst students, tourists and ESL teachers alike. Situated on the border between Central and Eastern Europe, the Czech Republic has a lot to offer to future ESL teachers.
The unique mixture of Western and Eastern European cultures will surely make your stay in the Czech Republic a once-in-a-lifetime experience as you will get a glimpse of all sides of Europe – Western and Eastern. If you are interested in teaching in the Czech Republic and are looking into getting TEFL certified there, be sure to read on and find out more about the process and different opportunities.
Photo Credit: Ian McGregor
When considering a TEFL course in the Czech Republic it is important to know that European TEFL centers are more demanding than TEFL centers in other parts of the world. In Asia, for example, almost any native English speaker can get certified as ESL teacher, whereas if the expectations towards potential ESL teacher in the Czech Republic (and in Europe in general) is much higher. TEFL courses in the Czech Republic can be very rigorous and demanding high results from the students both in terms of teaching methodology and grammatical knowledge. Although most of the TEFL courses available are in Prague there are a few options in other smaller Czech towns. Another thing you should consider is whether you want to enroll in a full-time four-week TEFL course or a ten-week part-time course.
TEFL + Teach:
Some language courses in Prague have began to offer TEFL and teach programs in which after receiving a TEFL certificate the best students in the course automatically get a 6-month teaching contract. Another huge benefit of this type of programs is that they offer visa and accommodation assistance. If this sounds appealing we recommend Oxford TEFL and TEFL in Prague by Edua Languages.
For people interested in part-time TEFL course it is important to understand that there are very few part-time options and you will almost definitely be studying in Prague. Cactus TEFL is one of the few training schools offering part-time TEFL training; a convenient alternative for foreigners who may already be employed or otherwise occupied in Prague.
Students signing up for the 10-week program meet for full-day classes twice a week, although participants are expected to dedicate additional time to written assignments and lesson preparation.
The vast majority of TEFL courses are in the capital Prague but in towns like Brno and Ostrava you will also be able to find courses, should you be interested in living in a smaller town.
When and Where to Look:
Your best bet would be to enroll for a late-summer course. This way you will have your certificate in time for the start of the new school year and will be able to take advantage of the September hiring season. The second semester in the Czech Republic begins in January so taking a winter TEFL course in November/December is also a good decision. Most TEFL programs have rolling admission and you can enroll at any time. However, note that applicants are required to submit their applications at least 4 to 6 weeks before their desired start date.
Having a four-year university degree is highly recommended but not absolutely required. TEFL programs are open to adults who are 18 and older, and who demonstrate solid English language proficiency. Individuals can enter the country on a travel visa, but must obtain a long-term visa (sponsored by an employer) before they can begin teaching. Many foreign teachers opt for a foreign trade license known as a “Zivno,” which allows teachers to work for multiple Czech companies and change employers without fear of losing their visa status.
By far, the most important connections you will make will be in your language school during your TEFL course. Most programs offer guidance when searching for teaching positions and other programs offer their best students a job right after the completion of the TEFL program.
Cost of Living:
The cost of living varies greatly depending on whether you decide to live in Prague or another smaller town. Life in Prague, as life in any capital, is more expensive. You should aim to arrive with $1,500-$2,000 to sustain yourself through their TEFL training, and depending on how much you spend you may be able to save some of this money for later.
In terms of housing, in Prague you can find a one-bedroom apartment for as much as $440 and in Brno that type of apartment would cost you $360. Groceries in Brno tend to be a tad cheaper than groceries in Prague but the difference in the price is not significant at all.