This program is no longer offered. View more programs from ABCi.
ABCi volunteer program - CLOSED
76% Rating
(34 Reviews)

ABCi volunteer program - CLOSED

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

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.

Project Types
Host Family
Price Details
ABCi will provide exposure to English project teaching and the administration of a nonprofit organization, feedback from a senior teacher or manager, full room and board with internet access, evenings and weekends free, and possibly an offer for full-time future work should you prove a good fit.

Questions & Answers

Program Reviews

based on 34 reviews
  • Impact 7.8
  • Support 7.6
  • Fun 7.9
  • Value 7.9
  • Safety 8.4
Showing 16 - 30 of 34
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An incredible experience in Austria!

This is exactly what I was looking for. I had recently completed my PGCE at Cambridge and I wanted immediate classroom experience, as well as a formal qualification for teaching English plus time in a new country...well I got that, and more! I loved teaching in Austria, do not misunderstand it was tiring and on occasion difficult but it was such a great experience. The students were generally lovely, and willing and able to get involved in the activities, games and songs. This was such a contrast to teaching in England.

We got to travel around a lot and teach in lots of schools, while also receiving training to improve our own teaching. The staff at ABCi have a lot of teaching experience and the feedback I received was so helpful and can be applied to any classroom situation in the future. I was also afforded the opportunity to get my certTESOL and TEFL-YL certificates which will be invaluable when applying for jobs in the future.

I found the very early starts coupled with the active learning very tiring as we had to travel distances to get to schools, but this is part of the job. ABCi really focus on the use of Active Learning in the classroom and they promote immersion environments for students. This can be both challenging and rewarding, especially when you see students speaking English more confidently by Friday afternoon of a project week.There are lots of songs and excellent activities to use with the students, and once you know the activities you can then really focus on improving your teaching skills. The training continued after the first month and lasted the entire duration of our placement. We had training in the afternoons which was helpful as we were working with our peers to improve how activities were run in the classroom as well as discussing grammar topics, activity creation and carefully chosen readings applicable to the TESOL classroom.

Another great aspect was the fact our accomodation and food was paid for. Having said that quite often I needed to supplement the allowance to buy other things such as meat or fresh vegetables.

I would definitely recommend the placement to others but be aware of the early starts and the energy the placement requires. It is such an incredible opportunity which I have not found anywhere else.

How can this program be improved?

The early starts are difficult and very tiring. Also the food allowance is a bit limiting, as meat and fresh vegetables are often quite expensive. One thing I noticed was that ABCi were constantly asking for constructive feedback which they would then try to implement as soon as it was possible, such a positive thing to see.

Yes, I recommend
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Fantastic teaching experience

I spent 3 months with ABCi in Austria and it was the most incredible experience!
As a nearly qualified Primary School teacher, I had had plenty of experience of teaching children from 5-12. The experience gain at ABCi has been invaluable and I have been highly commended during my university course for taking part in such a program.
I arrived late as I had to finish my dissertation, and the program leaders were very accommodating about this and were able to support me whilst I was 'catching up' with the rest of the group.
Teaching a different class every day/week requires a massive degree of flexibility and can be challenging, however this is a skill which particularly as a teacher needs to be developed and my time in Austria has been a huge support to my teaching back in England.
The children taught were generally lovely- a big change from children in England- this is the main difference which I found. They were so eager to please, friendly and helpful!
The program was very different to what I've previously taught, ABCi pride themselves on using an active teaching approach which requires alot of energy and enthusiasm (there's no room for bad moods!) This active method means that you can have heaps of fun with your class- just make sure they dont push it!.
We were regularly observed, which I was super nervous about- but actually the feedback gained is an integral aspect of the program- and all senior teachers are very friendly and deliver criticism in a positive and constructive manner.
As part of the qualification gained each teacher was asked to create a game to trial with the children and present to their peers- this was a great way to incorporate your own thoughts and ideas into the program and feedback gained from peers and senior teachers was very useful.

All of my weekends were free and most evenings, Austrian schools finish around 1.30 (ish) so despite the sometimes very early mornings (some as early as 5am) the afternoon was generally free.
We were asked to act out the activities as a group, which I found very useful and as we were all friends, this did not seem like a chore!
There is an interactive classroom where we were asked to 'run' 1 session a month (roughly 2 hours) where we were able to talk to the children which had bought into the program- again, not really much to ask, and not a chore!
We did have reading and grammar exercises to complete each week which we would feedback to the rest of the group with the support of the senior teacher. I found these sessions very useful and motivational do actually complete the reading (this is for the test at the end).

Austria is a very beautiful country and somewhere were I would like to visit again- the nature of ABCi meant that I was able to see alot of the country!

It almost seemed to good to be true when I read the advert. If youre down for a bit of hard work, loads of fun and great teaching experience this is the place to go!
I was able to expand my teaching skills, gain a qualification and more importantly I have made some life-long friends through ABCi. So thank you!

How can this program be improved?

The general consensus of our group was that we expected to receive our flight reimbursement during our time there, these were not sent until after we left.
The commute to schools was sometimes very long- and with the early mornings the days could sometimes seem very long.

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar

Great experience in a wonderful country!

I spent three wonderful months with ABCi and, honestly, it was one of the best experiences I've had. I learned so much as a teacher and, although I found the initial training pretty overwhelming, it was totally worth it.

The first month or so, I admit that I was not the best teacher. With the support and help of the senior teachers as well as the reading booklets, my progress over the course of my time with ABCi got better and better. I was even awarded a "most improved teacher" certificate which I was, and still am, thrilled about. I can't thank the senior teachers enough for being so patient, calming and always approachable.

The children I taught were just incredible. Obviously, like every school, there were some menaces. Looking back, though, I say thanks to those little menaces because I learned how to improve my behaviour management - a wonderful tool you learn with ABCi. Each week (excuse me if I get this wrong - I don't remember correctly) I was instructed to think of a new game or a new song which could be played or sung in the classrooms with the children. I often found this tricky but applying the game or song to the kids was great fun. The funny thing was finding out if it worked or not. At one point, one of the games I tried out kind of completely failed - the kids were BORED. But when it works, the feeling is almost as good as victory.
My favourite part of the week in school was the performance on the Friday of the project week. Everyone is super excited, there are lots of songs to be sung and danced to, and some of the kids' dramas which they make up are fantastic. All staff at each school was sociable, kind and always made sure everything was going good. It was very emotional leaving the children and teachers behind after each week, or sometimes each day if it's a project day.

Throughout my three months in Austria, I stayed with other volunteers. I became very close to my group and they are truly some of the greatest people I've ever met. I can safely say that you definitely make friends whilst volunteering with ABCi. You almost always have weekends off to do whatever. I think out of all weekends, there were two Saturdays or so when I had to do something work-related such as a First Aid course and teacher training. Also, after school there is often scheduled time to go over games and songs to make sure you understand what to do/what to sing. The time spent doing this can be exhausting and all you can think about is bed but it's the best time to ask questions if you're unsure of anything or to really pay attention if you have no clue how a game goes. You always have some free time though.
Most mornings are early - some as early as 5am if your accommodation is located far from the school. This was tough at the start of the course but it got easier and I rather enjoyed some fresh super early morning air.

Austria is such a beautiful country and being able to teach here was just brilliant. I got to see SO many parts of Austria: Gmunden (beautiful little town where the headquarters are based), Windischgarsten, Leonding, Linz, Vienna, Liebenau, Spittal, Salzburg (standing right where Maria Van Der Trapp sang was an incredible feeling), Zell am Moos, Sankt Pantaleon, Tulln, Krems, Grunberg, Attnang Puccheim, Hallein - where we WALKED to Germany - and so many more. Before volunteering with ABCi, I never thought Austria would be a country I would love as much as I do. So much that I now live in Vienna!

To sum up, I strongly recommend volunteering with ABCi. The senior teachers are awesome, the children are so precious, you meet fabulous people and the memories are definitely worth making. If you're prepared for early mornings, working hard, ups and downs, but also so much fun, laughter and enjoyment then I definitely suggest signing up to volunteer with ABCi.

Massive thank you to ABCi! :)

How can this program be improved?

Communication between the directors/senior teachers and volunteers. Sometimes we were told where we would be going the day before we left, which I thought wasn't a lot of time. As far as I'm aware, ABCi are working on informing the volunteers about where they're going in plenty of notice.

In addition to communication, 20€ per week per volunteer was the norm for food shopping. Some weeks it wasn't a problem, but others the food seemed to run out. There was a bit of a confusion whether essential food was included in the 20€ or not, which is where it went wrong. So it's merely down to knowing if essentials are included in your weekly shop. Other than that, 20€ was a very reasonable allowance. Especially considering ABCi is a not-for-profit organisation.

Before I got to Austria, I was told that I would be reimbursed for my flight as soon as I arrived. Two months after I left was when I got reimbursed. It wasn't much of a problem for me, but just the fact that I was told I would get reimbursed as soon as I got here was a bit annoying. I truly think ABCi have made changes to this.

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar

Austria is lovely, volunteering for ABCi is not.

Luckily Austria is a beautiful, friendly country and the school children are for the most part a pleasure to teach, because volunteering with the Austrian Bilingual Classrooms Initiative is not something I would recommend.

For a start, the program revolves around games ('Active learning', which means children running around) and songs. Expect to do a lot of this, and very little real English teaching. There are a few games which have useful grammar and language content, but they are minimal. If you do not enjoy being in the role of cheerleader, this program is unlikely to provide you with much teaching satisfaction. It will also pay to dispel any ideas of Not-for-Profit goodness early on, as this program charges the children a fee for participation, while being well funded from other sources besides.

Secondly, constructive criticism is not welcome, nor are complaints. The managers are either rude or temperamental (the director, did not introduce himself and I did not meet him until I accidentally bumped into him a week and a half into the program). We were provided with very limited food supplies for the first week, and when I complained about this I was told that I raised the matter at an inappropriate time, that disciplinary action was needed; that all ABCI's crushing force would be applied to such dissidence in the ranks.

Expect to be working flat out and FULL time. Getting up at 5 o'clock in the morning is not unusual (despite what they will tell you). The schools are usually a long commute from wherever you are staying, and even in Vienna it is often necessary to take public transport for an hour+ to reach schools on time. When you get back late in the afternoon, there is usually something to prevent you from relaxing too much (meetings, the Virtual Classroom, or practicing new classroom content in front of colleagues when they decide you need to learn a whole new program). In short, all of this means that this program is more stressful than any paid position I've been in-- there is no time or place to talk to anyone or discuss grievances, and you end up feeling exhausted and unmotivated.

They will tell you that all of the above is to be expected, because it is a training program for which a qualification is awarded. Don't be fooled by this-- you will get a piece of paper which is worth very little in real terms. Unless you happen to be an 18 year old school leaver with no qualifications, it is unlikely to be of much use to anyone.

Also, don't expect anything to happen efficiently unless it is of benefit or consequence to the organization. As a trainee you are expected to be punctual and well organized (fair enough), but they will not return this favor where it is your time or resources at stake. Expect long waits for people to turn up, don't expect prompt reimbursement of your monies (my flight reimbursement arrived 2 months after I left; the certificate took even longer). Disorganization is the norm, so from time to time you may have no internet access, or no washing machine for a couple of weeks. Similarly, safety of participants is taken rather lightly-- there was a seat belt missing in a vehicle, which I mentioned early on. Nothing was done about it, despite high-speed travel on the auto bahn being a regular phenomenon.

The academic side of the program is equally sloppy. You will be asked to create new content (preferably original) for which no reference is included in any of the program booklets. As anyone with any academic background will know, this effectively constitutes plagiarism.

And finally, the staff predominantly consists of young males, particularly amongst the teachers. Some may not mind, but I believe it does influence the outlook and attitude of the organization to some extent. On the plus side, the senior teachers are for the most part a great bunch-- it is the managers that bring it down.

If you are young, unqualified and willing to tolerate all of the above, this may be the place to develop your cheerleader skills. If you are not, then I'd recommend trying another program.

Response from ABCi

We are genuinely sorry that you did not enjoy your time with us here in Austria, but ABCi staff worked really hard to ensure that all our
trainees had a rewarding experience whilst they were here in Austria. The combination
of a TEFL teacher training course, teaching training placement in state schools and travel throughout the alpine region that ABCi offers
as part of our trainee teaching placements is truly unique – there is nothing else quite like it in Europe. To be honest, most people DO in fact take advantage of these opportunities and gain both the theoretical knowledge and practical experience required to advance their careers as young ESL teachers in a beautiful setting. The "ABCi" (The student-centered initiative to to bring together English native speakers and Austrian children at all the secondary schools in Austria by 2020) has also gone through some big changes recently, namely being absorbed by the English Teacher Training College. The combination of college staff to provide teacher training and the practical teaching experience in Austrian schools means that no one leaves our course without knowing how to teach. We take valid feedback very seriously here at the college and are quick to implement suggestions.

Please remember, the English Teacher Training College and its associated Bilingual Classroom Initiative (ABCi) is a not-for-profit Austrian College with a dual mission: Firstly, as a college, to provide a practical education in teacher training for trainees from the English speaking world based solely on the candidate's academic merit. Secondly, as a charity outreach, to promote language learning, cultural exchange and foster understanding between English-speaking countries and Austria by bringing hundreds of teachers from England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, America, Canada, New Zealand and Australia into Austrian classrooms to reach every child with a free English project by the year 2020.

We take both staff and trainee welfare very seriously, so this type of feedback about welfare is very important to us. Some people say that trying to learn how to teach without being in a classroom is a lot like trying to learn how to drive without being in a car. The college's TEFL-YL courses provide trainees with exactly that kind of experience in the classroom of a state school. That means valuable hours of teaching experience each week where you are i) being observed by a course tutor, ii) observed by a more experience teacher iii) observing a peer or iv) gaining
additional practical teaching experience. So if this was describing the course for trainees, to say that you are working long hours isn't
factually correct - you are studying to become a teacher.

We are genuinely sorry if you felt taken advantage of as a trainee taking part in our charity outreach to Austrian children, but traveling to different schools across Austria to observe other teachers and learn new teaching techniques and activities, getting feedback on your own teaching all while getting the chance to teach project weeks with ABCi members and give free lessons to all students in Austria is normally described as a great experience by most of our trainees. Some trainees prefer short commutes and large cities (and teaching low-income students there), but to get to the rural children who need these lessons the most, we sometimes need to visit "middle-of-nowhere towns." But most of our other teachers take advantage of staying briefly in these alpine villages to hike, swim, bike, climb and otherwise enjoy the natural beauty of the alpine region.

This experience has enabled past trainees to go on to successful teaching careers. Past students have secured competitive, ESL teaching positions all over the world from Asia to South America. Others have successfully gained places on PGCE, BEd, and then later gone onto a DipTESOL, DELTA or masters in Education courses at Universities or language institutes in the United Kingdom and America.

No, I don't recommend
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The best tefl training programme

I volunteered for ABCi for three months and had an incredible experience. I was able to travel all over Austria and live in Vienna, Graz and up in the Austrian countryside, surrounded by breathtaking scenery. The programme is run by a small and friendly team who are extremely hard working and passionate about their programme which creates a motivating work atmosphere and you feel an integral part of that process during your stay. The programme is not for the work-shy; the mornings are early and you are expected to teach for at least 6 hours a day plus tefl training. However, this all pays off and the teaching experience you receive is invaluable. You will come out with a good grounding in core teaching skills and experience in teaching a variety of different age ranges and abilities (not forgetting a tefl certificate to prove all this!) progress is monitered closely by a senior teacher during the whole programme and they will give you regular constructive feedback on your lessons which is a huge help to your development as a teacher. The kids in general are well behaved with some interesting characters and you will have a lot of fun with them! The programme looks after its volunteers well and all food, accommodation and travel expenses are all paid for . There is always someone available to contact if you have any issues or complaints during your stay. The social scene is awesome, the abci team are a friendly bunch and organise team building activities regularly for their volunteers. you need to have an open mind and expect to live in close quarters to fellow volunteers, you may need to share rooms regularly but you become very close, very quickly to your colleagues as a result, and make life long friends. In short , the experience I had with abci was incredible. I met some wonderful people, I felt I was working towards something meaningful and it was a challenging but very rewarding experience that I would highly reccomend.

How can this program be improved?

I would say better communication would be a good idea. Sometimes you don't know where you are going to end up until the day before you leave which can be very exciting is also a bit frustrating if you want to make plans in your free time. ( although I believe they are working in this)

Yes, I recommend
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ABCi is a brilliant, emerging company which seems to be going from strength to strength, and hopefully has a very exciting future ahead, as English is integrated into every class room in Austria by 2020. The staff at ABCi are very hard working, particularly Ben, Frank and Helen who create a great family atmosphere within the company and work long days (nights and weekends usually included).

I would highly recommend this company to future applicants, the surrounding area of Gmunden is beautiful, there are stunning lakes, mountains to climb, and places to visit.

How can this program be improved?

As a relatively new company there are occasionally teething problems, however everyone works hard to solve any issues that arise.

Yes, I recommend
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ABCi madness (a good thing)

So I was was working as a volunteer for ABCi for three months and just returned a couple of weeks ago in April. It was great fun, learnt a lot, became a much better teacher and made some good friends. At first it was certainly a lot of work! However after the first week things began to get a bit easier, by the second month it was much more chilled and the third there was lots of chilling.
You travel around with two other volunteers and we had a really good time together, even though I was sharing a room with one of them for three months. The programme you teach seems a lot to take on board at first, but you get used to it pretty quickly and at the end of the three months you will feel a very confident teacher and it will be pretty easy to go into a classroom and be creative. Generally speaking the kids are really sweet as well, there are naughty ones, but you develop your ability to deal with those kids, so it offers that side of teaching development as well.
I got given a jar of honey from one school which was great, because it sorted out my souvenirs for when I returned home!
Oh and that's not to mention the total of ten bottles of wine I secured from schools over my time there.

Austria is a really beautiful country, if you haven't been to a mountainous country before, then it is mind-blowing. The office is in a lovely town with some pretty big mountains and so its pretty easy to get straight into nature.

Overall it was a great experience, try it out!

How can this program be improved?

Sometimes the commutes to schools could be a little long, up to an hour. But this is dependent on the schools that book really and is really unavoidable. Generally speaking journeys were under 30 mins.

Yes, I recommend
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Great Teaching Experience

I worked for ABCi for a three-month placement from December through to the end of February, and really enjoyed my time with the company.

The general work day was approximately 6 hours at a school (taking 6 50 minute periods), which, when combined with travel time and training later in the day, often resulted in some pretty long days, particularly in the first month. Over the course of the placement, the post-school training sessions become less frequent and we had more leisure time in the afternoon.

The lesson plans/activites are all provided by ABCi and are clearly explained, and are a lot of fun to run with a class of Austrian school kids.

As a relatively inexperienced teacher, I found the placement very useful for several reasons. Firstly, you get a lot of teaching experience with kids from different schools, of varying ages (between 6 and 16). Because you run the same activity programs regularly, it allows you to focus on different aspects of teaching (such as behaviour or time management). The head teacher will often observe you teach and provide useful feedback both during the class and later in training sessions. Finally, you get experience running a large variety of activities, including songs, theatre and sport workshops.

I found the staff to be friendly and supportive, and the accomodation comfortable. Overall, if you are happy to work hard and looking to get some teaching experience, I thoroughly recommend ABCi.

How can this program be improved?

More notice about the next week's school locations.

Yes, I recommend
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Beautiful Austria

A great way of seeing the real Austria and a very good introduction to teaching as you are thrown in at the deep end. Social scene was good as you will be sharing your experience with at least 2 people.

The hours are very long in the week with 6 hours teaching during the day often followed by 3 hours training along with some long (but very scenic) commutes. A very central location in Vienna which is fantastic.

Friendly staff and beautiful surroundings!

How can this program be improved?

Slightly shorter working hours and easier commute in Vienna during winter months.

Yes, I recommend
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Great Program

I volunteered with ABCi recently and had a very positive experience. I would highly recommend this program. Ben and Frank are fair and very hard working. The staff thoughtfully listen to concerns and respond appropriately.

The program is great. ABCi is taking Austria by storm and becoming a nationally recognized non-profit. The teaching is fun, active and easy to learn. I am very happy I completed this program.

Yes, I recommend
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A great experience!

As one of the youngest teachers ABCi have ever taken on, I feel privileged at having been given the opportunity to teach and volunteer for them. In general, it is an excellent programme, if you don't mind early mornings, and hard work! The opportunity to work with loads of different kids, all of different ages and skill levels, is one that I think will be hugely beneficial to me in the future! The training we got during the first month of the placement was invaluable, and has been really useful in all of the teaching I have done since. What I would say is that following on from the first month, once we had grasped the basics, there was too much time devoted to training, which I think was because the programme that they were teaching was changing-it meant that, with the long days travelling, things did at times become very stressful!
Apart from that, though, there are only good things to be said about ABCi. The staff are really friendly, helpful and make you feel very welcome when you arrive. The country and the people you meet on the job are amazing, and the different places you stay, in Gmunden, Vienna and then roaming around, are at times breathtaking. The teaching itself is really enjoyable, as long as you take some classes with a pinch of salt, and are a fairly confident person! Some days, you get nightmare classes, but that's just to be expected, and my advice would be to do your best while you are there, reflect on it afterwards and then move on! Most of the time, it's not your fault.
Overall, it's a great volunteer programme, where you get to meet lots of lovely people, see lots of great things and gain some incredible experiences along the way!

How can this program be improved?

I think the sheer amount of time spent travelling, commuting and training, if you have to travel four hours a day anyway the last thing you want to do is have another 4 hour meeting at the end of it!

Yes, I recommend
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A challenging but rewarding journey

This offered a chance to see and experience many parts of Austria, promote and teach english in a variety of schools, and lived up to its billing. From unforgettable car journeys over mountains to waking up in a ferienwohning high up and finding there was a lake underneath and mountains across the far side, obscured by the mist the night before, you will experience living in Austria, working in out of the way schools in Alpine Valleys and engaging with excited schoolkids. You will also experience commuting to work in and around Vienna, and have the chance to explore the city and country on weekends. Almost always, you will be warmly welcomed by the director and teachers of the school for the day or week and find that the kids faces light up when you engage them in the activities. It will challenge you but you will also learn much more about Austria.

How can this program be improved?

Austrian schools start between 7.30 and 8 so the day starts early, and with debriefing, training and program planning as for any teaching role the day is longer than first appears.

Yes, I recommend
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Authentic Austrian experience for both the teachers and students

One of the things I loved most about ABCi's program is the authenticity - real native English speakers immersed in Austrian schools. Since many of the schools at which ABCi teaches (at least, in my experience), are in semi-rural to rural areas, I felt that I was benefiting as much from the local Austrian culture as the students benefited from my American culture and English language abilities. Austrians are so hospitable and welcoming. At the end of my first week with ABCi, a student gave me a jar of his mother's homemade strawberry jam as a thank you!

Frank and Ben were fantastic to work with, providing logistical support, motivation, answers to questions inside and outside the classroom, and fun. Their passion and enthusiasm are contagious for both the volunteers and the students. Who can resist smiling when a burly 6'3" man is dancing like a moose?!?

I particularly liked the team atmosphere that ABCi promoted and the nightly prep meetings to make sure we teachers knew what to expect the next day. I also liked the daily recap with the students to discuss what they enjoyed. It helped me continue to advance my teaching skills.

Austria is beautiful, no matter the season. The snow covered Alps are gorgeous in the winter, and sitting along a river bank enjoying a Radler in the summer is as good as life gets!

I would definitely recommend ABCi as a fantastic place to work abroad!

How can this program be improved?

In general, I enjoyed the recap/prep meetings that the teachers held every day after school, because I liked that Frank and Ben were interested in my feedback and I always felt prepared for the next day. The downside, however, was that these meetings were sometimes rather long, especially if there were several new teachers in the group. If I could change one thing, it would be to condense these meetings.

Yes, I recommend
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A fun, rewarding and challenging teaching experience

As an experienced trainer who has been with ABCi for over a year now, I have taught in a variety of schools around Austria, with diverse groups of students, classroom organizational structures and teaching staff. That in itself is extremely valuable for anyone wanting to expand their understanding of and competencies in being an English teacher to non-native speakers.
Being on the move week-to-week is both exciting and challenging. It is exciting because I have worked in completely different settings all over the country - from villages to big cities, and from primary schools to high schools. It is challenging because I have been frequently away from 'home' while moving from place to place and have had to take on a new form of adaptability. The weekly programs are also subject to change even a few days before they begin, so it definitely has required me to remain flexible and accept a certain level of unpredictability in scheduling.
Even though each week is the same in terms of the program and general schedule, I have never had the same experience once. There are plenty of opportunities to give and receive feedback on the program, which has allowed me to improve my own teaching, as well as give my advice on how to adapt activities when I have felt it was necessary. I think you must adopt a particular teaching style with ABCi, but you can still adjust some activities as seems fit.
The best moments are on Friday's, when students present their work of the week to their parents, teachers and peers. Through songs, theater and workshop demonstrations, all in English, I have been consistently surprised by the unique personalities and capabilities of each student. All the hard work of the week pays off on Friday when you see the students up there on stage, glowing with nervousness and excitement, and then radiating with happiness and pride when you give them their certificate of completion at the end.
I think that moment captures the value of the ABCi program for young students throughout Austria. And, if someone truly cares about being a teacher, there is no better confirmation of the value this work has.

How can this program be improved?

The one thing I would change is, as much as is realistically possible, communicate details to trainers, before the week begins, regarding logistics - accommodation, transport, working hours expected and reimbursements for meals. When all those things are clear it makes teaching much more enjoyable:)

Yes, I recommend
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Valuable and great fun!

I completed my month-long voluntary training period with ABCi in February 2013, and was then offered a full-time position with the organisation, until July 2013. I only ever intended to stay for a month, and then to look for jobs at home in England. However, 6 months down the line, I am still here and still loving every single day! I have recently been able to extend my time at ABCi for another year, and I am incredibly excited about the further opportunities and experiences that are waiting around the corner!
I am a trained primary school teacher from England, and originally applied to ABCi because I wanted experience teaching abroad. During my initial voluntary training period, I was given the opportunity to observe other teachers, and when teaching, feedback on a daily basis in my first week. The support I received from senior teachers during this time and throughout my experience has been to the highest standard; positive, constructive feedback and encouragement goes a long way! During this time I saw my confidence in my own classroom skills develop massively.
When I returned to the organisation as a full-time teacher, they offered me full room and board, lessons to improve my German, lessons to improve my driving, opportunities to contribute towards their programme development, and opportunities to observe and give feedback to newer members of staff. My experience and qualifications as a primary school teacher were acknowledged, and as a result, I have been able to use my training to help develop the school programmes.
ABCi is a great community to be a part of. The teachers are positive, friendly and sociable, which makes the occasional early morning starts a lot easier to get through! In the past we have had many ABCi social events, including a BIERZELT CHALLENGE, an end of term dinner, a very interesting ski tour experience and a team mountain hike! The standard of accommodation and board provided is very high, and I know a great deal of thought and care is put into making these arrangements for teachers. The office apartment in Gmunden is an ideal base for experiencing Austria during the volunteer period; close by there is a beautiful lake (5 minutes’ walk), shops, restaurants, cafes, swimming, hiking, skiing, mountaineering, and numerous weekly community festivals!
My time so far at ABCi has been a truly rewarding experience, and I’m incredibly grateful to Ben and Frank for the opportunities they have given me to develop my career and confidence. I’ve had quite a few jobs since leaving school, but in none of them have I laughed so much, or felt so valued as a teacher, as at ABCi!

How can this program be improved?

Watch out for the early morning sing-a-long car journeys...! And when you start singing the Moose Song in the shower, it's probably time to take a weekend excursion!

Yes, I recommend

About ABCi

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...