Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Off to Ecuador!

Well, we did it. We took the plunge and bought plane tickets to Quito, Ecuador for October 7 through April 1. I haven't looked for a job yet, but have read that it's much easier to do so once you arrive in the country of choice. My husband and I have decided that we'll travel for a little while when we first arrive, so keeping commitments to a minimum seems to be the best choice. We now have a long list of things to achieve before we go, including cleaning out an apartment in which we've lived for over three years, getting vaccinations, leaving behind our steady jobs and preparing for the adventure that is to come. Wish us luck!

Monday, June 11, 2007

Bridge-Linguatec Video

Bridge-Linguatec has recently added video to its online TEFL course. Though video is a great way to incorporate interactive multimedia learning, I feel it should only be used when it can actually add something to the experience. the whole first portion of the video for module 2 would have been better presented as text. It simply featured a man speaking, and the strength of video is to show physical examples. While an example of how to correct errors in the classroom was featured in the second portion of the video, the acting was poor and the quality was low. Hopefully the other videos for the course are stronger and more purposeful. All of that, however, is not to say that I'm regretting my choice. I still find the program's navigation appealing, the content satisfactory, and the tutor feedback superior.

Friday, June 1, 2007


My husband and I are now planning to go to Quito, Ecuador. The cost of living is among the lowest in Latin America and we've read and heard many times that it wouldn't be hard for both of us to get English-teaching positions there. The climate doesn't look to be nearly was hot as I initially assumed. I suppose the high elevation cancels out the proximity to the equator to some degree. I still haven't received my passport, which I applied for back in March so I recommend that anyone considering traveling outside the States get his or her passport ASAP. Estimated date of departure is sometime in October. I'm finding that I can get round-trip plane tickets for around $60o and am hoping that we can use our $400 Delta vouchers outside the U.S. We'll see...

Monday, May 7, 2007

Costa Rica

I'm leaning toward going to Costa Rica now, considering that I won't be available for employment until mid-September. The school year in South America starts in March and I don't necessarily want to wait around Eugene in a state of limbo until then. Also, in Costa Rica there are a lot of opportunities for teaching Business English, so my endorsement from Bridge Linguatec should help in that respect.

According to an article from Transitions Abroad, the best way to look for a job in Costa Rica is to just go there and then conduct an active search. I used to feel apprehensive about doing so and thought I wanted to procure a job from overseas, but now I feel more confident. Also, with the cost of plane tickets to Costa Rica being so low (approx. $400 round-trip), it wouldn't be the end of the world if I went down there with my husband, couldn't find a job, and then came back after a month or so and called it a long vacation.

Now that I have a specific country in mind, I plan to do some more specific research to really understand the culture of Costa Rica and also the general requirements for teaching English there.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Bridge-Linguatec Online TEFL Course: Part II

I received responses from my tutor last night regarding my essays submitted for module 1 and was very impressed. She responded within 24 hours of my submission, as Bridge Linguatec promises, and she provided very specific and knowledgeable feedback. I expected something to the effect of, "Looks good, fix this." Instead, she referred to specific parts within my essays and then offered helpful information to enhance my learning experience. For example, she told me that the technique of cutting up an assigned reading and distributing it among students is sometimes called "jigsawing." Very helpful.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Bridge-Linguatec Online TEFL Course

I just finished the first module of thirteen for my online TEFL through Bridge-Linguatec and, thus far, I'm very happy I made the choice I did. Instructions were clear and, as I suspected upon looking through the website, the interface was simple and visually appealing. I plan to complete a module a week, which should be doable even with work and school if I allocate some time to the course on the weekends.

The module 1 test was fairly simple, but I assume that difficulty will increase as I advance through the course. I felt that the two required essays were very worthwhile. They actually got me thinking about how I want to structure my lesson plans and what type of teacher I'll be. I have yet to hear back from my tutor regarding my essays, since I submitted them late last night, but she has been prompt and helpful in her responses to my e-mail queries.

Also, Bridge-Linguatec just added videos to the course that I have yet to watch but am excited to see. I'll report after module 2 to let you know whether or not they prove useful.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Work Visas in Spain

My husband looked into work visas in Spain and it sounds like getting one can be quite a challenge. Apparently unemployment there is high right now, so foreigners are low on the list of people to employ. Also, he found that you need a work permit in addition to the visa, which can take 3-6 months to obtain. Considering that info, we're not sure we could support ourselves in Spain with the $820/mo. I'd make as a North American culture assistant. That was a little disheartening, but I will probably still apply and inquire to find out what our options are.

I also spoke to my current employer about my plans, and he was very helpful and kind. As it turns out, he studied Latin America in school and also travelled all over the region in his 20's. He had lots of awesome tips on connections that the university may have down there. He also offered his opinions on the different regions and provided in-depth descriptions that I've yet to find online or in any article. I plan to solicit his help and advice in the near future, when I've done a little more research and can ask intelligent questions.

My boss Margie has also been very encouraging and has expressed excitement for me throughout the process, despite the fact that I will regretfully have to leave my job as her assistant behind as I pursue this future.

I'm so happy to have shared my plans, because I find that people are generally kind-hearted and supportive, even when your plans are not necessarily in their best interests.