Teaching English in Leipzig, Germany: Alumni Q&A with Anthony Albanese

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What is your citizenship?
United States

What city and state are you from?
Albany, New York

How old are you?

What is your education level and background?
Bachelor's Degree

Have you traveled abroad in the past?
I has previously studied abroad.

If you have traveled abroad in the past, where have you been?

If you have studied abroad in the past, where did you study?
Czech Republic.

What sparked your interest in going to teach English abroad?
I've known for a few years that I wanted to spend some time learning a new language before attending graduate school. Working abroad seemed like a convenient way to do that. I had finished college just a few months before leaving and was not particularly attached to my job, so it seemed like the time to go.

What were some of your concerns before teaching abroad?
Finding a job and overcoming the paperwork

What did your friends and family think about you moving and teaching abroad?
Supportive for the most part, though some folks were a little sad.

Why did you decide to get TEFL certified and choose International TEFL Academy?
I spent quite a bit of time comparing TEFL programs and chose International TEFL Academy because it's accredited and affordable which were the two main factors in deciding on a school. They were also very friendly and communicative with me from the start. I was able to tell that I would have all the help I would need from ITA. Whether I had a question concerning particular job markets or the course itself, they were always very responsive and gave quality advice.

Which TEFL certification course did you take?
Online TEFL Course.

How did you like the course?
I enjoyed the course. It provided me with a lot of great teaching suggestions as well as plenty of resources for lesson plans which is hugely important for folks with limited teaching experience. My instructor was always clear and provided great feedback.

Teach English in GermanyHow has your TEFL training helped you in your current teaching position?
Yes, I still find myself using the resources the course provided me with. It was helpful in terms of lesson plans, activity ideas, as well as how to explain the language itself. The course is multi-dimensional, informative, and a great tool for new teachers.

Which city and country did you decide to teach English in and why?
I chose to teach English in Germany in the city of Leipzig because I thought Leipzig would be a unique place to stay abroad. I liked it because it has a big art and music scene. It's also cheap and close to some major cities such as Berlin and Prague.

How long have you been in this country and how long do you plan to stay?
I've been here for five months. I'm not sure when I will return quite yet, though I'm sure I will be here for at least another six months.

What school, company, or program are you working for?
Speakeasy Language Academy and the Language Farm

During which months does your school typically hire?
I believe Speakeasy LA hires all year. The Language Farm hires in December.

Did you secure this position in advance of arriving?

How did you interview for this position?
In-person interview

What kind of Visa did you enter on?
Work visa

Please explain the visa process that you went through.
The visa process is stressful. Many of the steps are convoluted and, in my opinion, frivolous. It was not uncommon that I found myself running an errand that I did not fully understand, but that's what interacting with German bureaucracy is all about. It took me months to get the visa, regardless of the fact that I had two job offers just one week after landing in Germany.

What are the qualifications that your school requires for teachers? Please check all that apply
 - Bachelor's degree
 - TEFL Certification
 - Native English speaker

What is the best way to apply?
 - Email
 - In-person

TEFL GermanyTell us about your English teaching job!
Initially I was working roughly 40 hours a week, but I have since adjusted that to 20 so that I can take an intensive German course. By the end of the month, I am still able to have about 300-400 Euro saved. Speakeasy LA is actually based in Hamburg, so I teach private lessons through them. They provide their teachers with a lot of help as they go through the very intimidating visa process. The Language Farm is an overnight camp for kids. Teachers there typically work one week on and one week off. The students at the camp learn through various camp activities.

How did you find somewhere to live and what is it like? Do you have roommates?
I used this website to find a place. It was very effective, as it has many users throughout all of Germany.

On a scale of 1 - 10 please rate your experience with this school.

Please explain the cultural aspects, public transportation, nightlife, social activities, food, expat community, dating scene, travel opportunities, etc...    
Leipzig is artsy, lively, and young. There's always a lot going on. There's a decent-sized expat community as well. It is cheap for the moment, though since it's Germany's fastest growing city, gentrification is soon to come. I would definitely recommend it to those who are concerned about the start up costs required for teachers moving to Germany. It may also be a place worth considering if you don't care for touristy areas. In terms of travel, Leipzig is very close to Czechia, Poland, and just 190 km south of Berlin.

What are your monthly expenses?
My rent is 200/month including everything. I spend about 30 Euro a month on groceries and 20 on entertainment. My phone bill comes out to 15 a month. The city I'm living in is small enough to rely on cycling, so I don't usually pay for public transport. I believe those who have the monthly pass pay 70 a month. My health insurance comes out to 150 a month.

How would you describe your standard of living?
I'm comfortable, though always conscious of how much money I spend.

In your opinion, how much does someone need to earn in order to live comfortably?
At least 700 Euro.

What advice would you give someone planning or considering teaching abroad? Would you recommend teaching in your country?
While it's good to carefully consider every decision and have a plan, I suppose you should also expect the unexpected. If you're able to handle the all of the paperwork (in terms of stress and the finance required for the start up costs), then I would definitely recommend Germany. As for dealing with the start up costs, teachers should consider teaching with an online school (such as Vipkid and 51Talk) as they wait to get their visa. Teaching privately may also be a good idea.


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