By: Michael McGuire
There are a million reasons to travel abroad and teach English, as anyone who has done this can tell you. When considering where to teach, there are unlimited potential locations that would make for amazing life experiences. The place that I chose is Germany, specifically Frankfurt.
Frankfurt is a fairly large city in the middle of Germany, and more importantly, in the middle of Europe. Everything within the country is easily accessible within a few hours by train or car from Frankfurt. This makes it a wonderful place to use as a sort of home base for travel around Germany. Germany has a long and interesting history, and a unique culture. There is something to see for everyone when you travel in Germany. Every region has its own beer and cultural history, which they are always quite proud of. I think Germany alone has enough to see to keep a person satisfied, but the travel opportunities are endless and relatively cheap, so there is always something to see when living here.
For those contemplating working in Germany, there are some things to consider. You won’t be poor while teaching here, but you also won’t become rich. I expect to be able to save up some money while making trips and enjoying social activities, but not necessarily a ton of money. The biggest drawback to wanting to teach here is the visa process, but this can be much easier for some people, depending on where you end up living.
The first step is to register in the city you will be living. You need an address for this, so if you are staying with a friend or in a hostel, this can be somewhat tricky. I was able to use my girlfriend’s home address, so this process wasn’t too hard for me.
The next thing to do is to begin finding a job. For me in Frankfurt, I sent out my resume via email and online applications and received phone calls for interviews that way, but I also dropped off my resume to many places in person, and sometimes talked to the owner right then and there.
Because people teaching in Germany generally work as freelancers, you will get some job offers from schools that can offer only a few hours a week of classes, while others can offer a full schedule. It is quite common to work at multiple schools, sometimes even 3 or 4. I was lucky enough to get an offer from a school that has provided me with new courses every week or two, so my schedule has filled up over the course of a few weeks/months.
Finding a job was much easier than I expected, and the interviews were stress-free and in English. From my experience, people working in language schools tend to be friendly and nice, so that always makes the process more pleasant. When you have a job, you will now want to make sure to find a place to live.
Having an address is important for getting a visa, so start thinking about this right away. Difficulty of finding an apartment varies from place to place, so it is hard to say how long it would take. There is also the option of “Zwischenmiete,” which means that you rent an apartment or room temporarily. This is usually done when someone travels for a long period of time and wants someone to rent out their room during this time; similar to a sublease. This is a decent temporary solution.
You will also need proof of eligible health insurance. I was able to contact an American (I think he was American) broker here in Germany, who was very prompt and accessible and provided me with accurate information on what the German immigration office would accept. I pay around 55 Euros a month, but truth be told, this insurance only covers bad emergencies. It is important to be sure that your insurance will be accepted by the office, and unfortunately, they will not tell you what they accept.
Once you’ve secured a job, apartment, and health insurance, the next step is to go to the Ausländerbehörde, which is the immigration office. If you are registered in a major city like Frankfurt, Berlin, Munich, etc., this process should really only take one trip, assuming you have the right documents with you. Because I was registered in a small town, I had endless problems.
My German is sufficient to get the process done, and my girlfriend is German, but even she had countless problems with the office that we were dealing with. Like I said, register in a major city if this is possible, as registering outside of one can be a nightmare.
I really hope that everyone would at least consider Germany. There are some drawbacks, but it is overall a wonderful place to live and work, and the language is somewhat challenging to learn, but much easier than Arabic, Chinese, Russian, Japanese, etc. If you are considering Germany, hopefully this guide will help you see if the process is too complicated for you or if you think it is worthwhile.
About the author: Michael McGuire is currently living and teaching English in Frankfurt, Germany.
Want to read more about him?
Check out some other alumni submissions from Mike:
His article: Trust me, it's worth it!
And his Q&A: Frankfurt, Germany Q&A with Michael McGuire
Feedback from our Alumni who are now teaching English in Germany:
Hopes of the Past, Dreams of the Future - Noah Franc
Trust me, it's worth it! - By Michael McGuire
- Noah Franc - Noah Franc
Eileen Hernandez: http://pepminpatte26.blogspot.com/
Noah Franc: http://blog.grads.co.uk/author/noah/