ABCi Volunteer Program

This program is no longer offered. View more programs from ABCi.

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About

The ABCi initiative was absorbed by the English Teacher Training College in 2015. At that time, the existing ABCi volunteer programs were discontinued and the college began offering incoming students internationally recognized TEFL certifications in conjunction with Trinity College London and Cambridge University.

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Reviews

7.65 Rating
based on 34 reviews
  • 9-10 rating 50%
  • 7-8 rating 32.35%
  • 5-6 rating 2.94%
  • 3-4 rating 8.82%
  • 1-2 rating 5.88%
  • Impact 7.8
  • Support 7.6
  • Fun 7.9
  • Value 7.9
  • Safety 8.4
Showing 1 - 8 of 34
Danny
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

A real gem of an experience

Apologies for the informality of this review but sometimes I think it is best to just hear it how it is.
This review isn't the average, it is aimed towards the 18-20 year olds that don't have a degree and are trying to find themselves.
I was in Austria around this time last year and everything changed from there. I still always talk about it!
Not only that but it gave me a direction..at only the age of 18. Sometimes it takes someone like Mr Stone to tell you to your face that 'you are a natural teacher' to make you think maybe I could do a bit more of this TEFL stuff.

SO WHAT WAS IT LIKE AT ABCI?
It is no walk in the park, especially if you are on the younger side. It is very demanding, long hours and there is a lot of learning involved on the course. You may get into the habbit of comparing yourself to the others, maybe they have a degree in linguistics, German or are just hyper intelligent. My advice to you is just concentrate on yourself, Rome wasn't built in a day and nor is a good teacher.
Something you will learn is you are constantly learning and so are those others in your group, what you will likely find is they will help you one on one if you ask them so don't be afraid.
For example I could never get the parts of speech down I actually failed the test, I was actually the only one. Everyone helped me every night to prepare for the retake and sure enough I passed. Even Ben Stone who could be regarded as the busiest man in the world, Skype called me to go over some of the things that could be on the test for over 40 minutes! Support like this really shows the caring dedication of ABCI and why people 18-20 can also be right for ABCI life.

IS IT FOR EVERYONE
ABCI is hard work you have some very early mornings, long car rides with your flatmates falling asleep on you and you have to feel the pressure of having your lessons assessed. The first week is non stop! Just remember I know you have never been to uni before so you are not used to staying up late and getting a deadline in early the next day. Do the smart thing a work hard first and play hard second, I get its all new and it will be your first time away from home with no rules but be sensible! If you take this into account you will be able to get up the next morning no trouble making life so much easier.
You will also get quite homesick but everyone is friendly and they are there for you, dont forget the senior teachers are people too. If that doesn't work you could always just bring your home to the classroom. For example, I always told classes no matter the age that the classroom was Manchester it helps you get the 'only English' point across and actually helps fight home sickness. I did it all the time at ABCI. I even think it started to annoy some of my group but it definitely helped!

SO WHY ABCI?
You will not find a more character building course any where in the world. Gmundens mountains, Sanct Poltons whisky bar and Graz' Christmas lights are breathtaking
It is a very good deal because you are very highly subsidised and even though they can't pay for you flight there and back, it is because it just isn't practical only once you have done a CertTESOL and got your certificate from ABCi do you have the experience for companies that would be willing to fly you out somewhere to even look at you. Also the people at ABCi will grow you as a person and a teacher. They gradually get you to grow a thick skin and show you how to give constructive criticism. For example, in my very first assessed lesson I actually said to the students 'come in, come in everyone for a..erm....plenary..' much to Ben Stones amusement.
Although, by far the best thing about ABCi is they contiue to check on us even after leaving, asking if there is anything they can do to help. This I think sets ABCi apart from the rest!
I would and have recommended ABCI to people of all ages but I think those of you like myself at 18 who think they know everything, but are not ready for University definitely should try your hand at TEFL teaching you might like it.
If you have any other questions about ABCi I would be glad to answer them.

What would you improve about this program?
Just keep going as you are.
Keep responding to reviews and take in to consideration the feed back.

Toby
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Appreciate the course for what it is and it is worth its weight in gold.

I came to ABCI and Austria off the back of finishing an English Literature degree. I was unsure of what I wanted to do and found the chance of moving to a new country for a short while and learning a new skill to be a fascinating prospect. Teaching, was not something that had interested me before or something that I thought I would ever consider. Throughout the course (January 2016) myself and other trainees were put under immense stress both through teaching and completing various assignments that were required for your certification. It was intense to the extreme, at times it seemed no matter how much time you put in to your assignments and lesson planning that it would not be enough. However, through the help of your fellow trainees and staff members you will find that the college has an atmosphere much like a well meaning, although at times; dysfunctional family. Each individual whether trainee or member of staff were always on hand to help with any problem whether small or large. While this doesn't always mean that things run as smoothly as planned (there will be highs and lows to your experience, as in any new place) it is an experience that I would thoroughly recommend providing you are prepared for one of the busiest workloads I have ever experienced.

Austria as a country is beautiful, while not every weekend will be free for you to roam around, you will find yourself with a little time at least to explore, meet new people and enjoy what Austria has to offer. Through ABCI and my experience in Austria I decided that teaching was in fact a career path that I wanted to explore, and now only a short while after completing the course I find myself about to go into my first paid teaching job in Poland, this can only be down to the support and encouragement I found at ABCI.

Although you may read discouraging reviews for ABCI (English training college of Austria) I would advise you to take them with a pinch of salt. Of course there are areas of improvement for the college but at the same time there are also many fantastic aspects to the college and your own experience that you will not find anywhere else.

What would you improve about this program?
Organisation,
Facilities.
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Sinead
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Teach abroad and get a TEFL qualification in return

ABCi is a fantastic charity which works with schools across Austria to provide interactive English workshops to pupils. The organisation is run by Frank and Ben who are very passionate about their mission and delivering high quality English education. It's great because you teach English and travel around Austria, meeting other teachers along the way and get your food, accommodation and a TEFL qualification in return!

The work is most definitely not for the faint hearted. The days can be long and you must be dedicated to becoming an excellent EFL teacher. There is a big emphasis on training and improving and practicing your craft, as well as some (very) early mornings.

If that does't perturb you, then ABCi is the volunteer programme for you. You will have great fun with the children, delivering their excellent programme of activities. I am now a teacher and frequently employ many of the active based learning techniques that I delivered through my work as an ABCi teacher.

This is a unique, challenging, fun opportunity in a beautiful setting. You will make friends for life and better your professional life. What is not to love?!

What would you improve about this program?
n/a
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Grace
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Intense but so worth it.

There are a lot of mixed reviews of ABCi but my experience was very positive.

I have never worked so hard in my life: I spent 4 months waking up between 4.30 and 5.30am to work at schools that could be up to a 1 hour and 45 minute drive, teach for 6 hours, then return to do 2-3 hour training sessions. As well as teaching I had to study and do assignments as I was completing the CERT-TESOL (which is a very good certificate to have in the ESL world) so I didn't have much free time throughout my time spent in Austria. But, with the time I did get off, I had the chance to visit different places in Austria as well as Hungary and Germany a couple of times!

This course is not a holiday. It is hard work but rewarding work. I taught students aged 6-19 in 18 weeks of teaching and I also gave one-on-one adult lessons. The adult lessons were pretty unorganised which was unfortunate but it was good experience nonetheless.

Although this course is a lot of hard work, the support I was given from my senior teachers was incredible. They would give me all the support I needed, answer any silly question I had and most importantly, made the long days fun. This course relies on the support you all give each other (between trainees, senior teachers and staff). As it is so intense, it really is so important to be a positive and optimistic person. In all honesty, I don't think my group of trainees would have completed the course successfully if it wasn't for the support and encouragement we gave each other. Although you are completing this course to become a qualified ESL teacher yourself, you have to be a team player. Working together and sharing ideas is what is needed to be successful.

Living situation- It is like living in first year halls/dorms all over again. Lack of privacy, shared rooms (up to 4/5 people in a room) and shared bathrooms. Although the accommodation doesn't give you any privacy, it is actually really nice. They are modern and there are large kitchens/ living rooms to chill out in. ABCi provides basic food (pasta, pasta sauce, rice, etc) which is a big help. The most important thing is to be flexible. Sometimes you would be relocated to a different town/city with very little notice. Although this can be very frustrating, you just have to take the positives from it- it's a new place, different schools, working with a new senior teacher who will give you more tips, etc.

During my time with ABCi, there was a lot of stress but also a lot of laughter. I would definitely recommend this course if you are looking to become and ESL teacher as it gives you so much experience in such a short amount of time and getting this training in such a beautiful country with lovely students is obviously such a great bonus. You just have to be ready to work and to be committed for the whole time you are there.

What would you improve about this program?
More organisation, assignments spaced out better, more privacy in accommodation.
Kristen
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

ABCi - It was a way to see Austria

I worked for ABCi back in 2013 when they had some paid staff (senior teachers) and volunteers. Volunteers were in Austria for 3 months and got teacher training, free lodging in some of the most beautiful places in Austria and wonderful experience teaching. I then moved back to the states for two years and when I returned to Austria at the end of 2015 I was surprised to see an advertisement for a job placement on the Austrian unemployment website. I applied for the job and was amazed at how much the organization had changed. It is no longer the two man show of Mr. Carle in the office and Mr. Stone in the field with other staff helping create the programming and being lead teachers in schools. They have established the English Teacher Training College of Austria where student teachers get scholarships for different certificates (CertTESOL, CELT-P, etc). If I had known this I wouldn't have paid over €2500 for a CELTA in the US. I will admit I miss the days of 1 lead teacher and 4 volunteers teaching at a school in the alps with the afternoons free to explore the lakes while living in Gasthäuser. Now Student Teachers pay their own way to Austria, but are provided with dorms (VERY much like the ones at your local state college... no frills here), travel to and from their teaching practice locations, subsidized teacher training, BASIC food (think staples: rice, pasta), and the support of all staff.
ABCi has gone from a somewhat hectic volunteer organization to a real professional college (although sometimes it is still hectic, especially the first week of a course).

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Helen
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Great starting place for a career in TEFL

I started with ABCi when it was still the initiative as a volunteer teacher, moved on to be a paid teacher and then worked as project coordinator for over a year. The time I spent with ABCi was invaluable and made me into the teacher I am today. The work was challenging, rewarding and exciting. The staff were committed to their vision of what English education should look like and the support we received was fantastic.

Teaching- For a first time teacher not having the stress of lesson planning and teaching a set program allows you time to practice and perfect different teaching techniques. You receive a good balance of theoretical input and practical application in the classroom. The work load does demand a lot of time and effort but it's worth it!

What would you improve about this program?
ABCi progressed massively during the time I spent with them. However, it is important to remember it is still a developing organisation and as such occasionally has teething problems. There have been a lot of changes since I left but if you are flexible and keen to work hard for a great start in TEFL I’m sure you’ll find a visit to beautiful Austria with ABCi a rewarding experience.
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Rob
7/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Incredibly Stressful and Rewarding

I completed the winter (Jan- March 2016) program this year and it was incredibly stressful and exhausting as well as really enriching and rewarding... I loved it. And I learned a lot. But also, as a new and rapidly expanding program, the logistics of it were pretty chaotic. I think we logged over 225 teaching hours, which is outrageous for a beginner course, in towns all over Austria. That amount of teaching practice really forces you to build confidence and improve as a teacher.. especially in observed lessons, where I mostly got really thoughtful feedback. But it also is overwhelming when you have assignments due, lessons to plan and activities to memorize.

I haven't had the chance to search for a job with the cert TESOL I received through ABCi, but the certificate is accredited through London Trinity College and many of my friends from the program have been able to get jobs teaching all over the world... have a friends in the Galapagos, Germany, and Barcelona. The fact that I now have the opportunity to travel anywhere to teach makes it pretty worth it. You also receive the Tefl-yl certificate which is not internationally recognized but given through ABCi.

Austria's beautiful and an amazing country to travel.. though there was little time to do so during my course. Also as a US citizen I had some visa restrictions... US citizens can only be the Schengen are, most of Europe, for 90 days max in a 180 day period.

You learn a lot about active learning and classroom management through teaching games, drama, and songs. Its fun and pretty rewarding to have your class perform dramas in English at the end of each week. I feel really confident about lesson planning and running an activities. Though by evenings in the second month when we started studying for CertTESL, we were exhausted when the actual input sessions about English language, phonology, grammar etc. came up. It's possible and everyone in my course passed.. it just took a lot of will power and patience.

The support form my senior teachers was great when it came to actually teaching in schools.. but you spend a lot of time driving to and from schools. The printers and wifi and housing was always a bit sketchy.

Hard to give the program a positive or negative review. I learned a lot. Made some really good friends and got to see some incredible places. I'm really happy I did it. Just have to approach it with expectations of hard work, uncomfortable challenges and inevitable logistical nightmares.

What would you improve about this program?
4 months rather than 3. Consistent welfare and housing.
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Former
1/10
No, I don't recommend this program

Steer clear

This is the worst company I have ever worked with!
They mascarade as a charity but it is to avoid taxes and the only person doing anything charitable is you (the senior teachers earn a higher annual salary). You will get up at 5 in your less than ideal accommodation, drive for 2 hours, turn up at a school with little or no information on what you will be doing that day and teach until 2, drive for another 2 hours and then attend pointless seminars.
On more than one occasion the school had no idea we were coming (a senior teacher let slip that if the school hasn't confirmed then a SALES tactic is to turn up anyway and the school will then feel obliged to hand over the daily salary they pay)
The company is a shambles, they have no respect for your time or the fact you are a volunteer. The administration is down right rude and obnoxious. I could write pages upon pages of examples of incompetency from the staff and company as a whole.
Just don't waste your time.