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Teaching English in Guadalajara, Mexico: Q&A with Ekaterina Nastina
Written by: Ekaterina Nastina
Last Updated: April 22, 2021
What is your citizenship?
What city and state are you from?
How old are you?
What is your education level and background?
If you have traveled abroad, where have you been?
U.S, Mexico, Europe, Vietnam.
If you have studied abroad in the past, where did you study?
What sparked your interest in going to teach English abroad?
I graduated with a degree in teaching English but never considered teaching as my career path. I was sure I would use the language for some other purposes, such as translating or working in international companies. But after I found out I could travel around the world (which is my biggest passion), making my living teaching, I didn't think twice. Right now I enjoy it very much and plan on teaching abroad for several years at least.
What were some of your concerns before teaching abroad?
I was afraid that being a non-native speaker, I would find it extremely difficult to compete with other teachers, but I ended up explaining grammar to some American teachers in the school :)
What did your friends and family think about you moving and teaching abroad?
My family was concerned because they considered Mexico, where I went, to be very dangerous. But now that I'm back, showing pictures and telling them about my experiences, they are quite envious.
Why did you decide to get TEFL certified and choose International TEFL Academy?
In my case, even though I hold a BA degree in teaching English, it was still difficult for me to get a job teaching English abroad. This was due to the differences between the Russian educational system and employers worldwide. So I decided that a TEFL certificate was an important addition to my degree.
Which TEFL certification course did you take?
Online TEFL Class
How did you like the course?
I liked it a lot. The course provided me with all the necessary information about teaching; there are many useful links and additional materials.
How has your TEFL training helped you in your current teaching position?
I made loads of notes throughout the course that I find are helpful right now when I experience doubts in the classroom. I also bookmarked some 30 web pages, provided in the course, that I use a lot.
Which city and country did you decide to teach English in and why?
I chose to teach English in Mexico in the city of Guadalajara.
How long have you been in this country and how long do you plan to stay?
I taught for ten months, and I just got back home.
How did you secure your English teaching job?
I contacted the school that International TEFL Academy helped me to find.
What school, company, or program are you working for?
Instituto de Comunicacion
How did you get your work visa?
When I arrived, I had to wait for my NUT (local id number) because the school messed up with my passport number, and when I finally got it, I had to leave the country and then do a lot of paperwork, which cost me a fortune. My advice: if you decide to teach in Mexico for six months only, then don't bother with getting a visa. If you want to teach for more than a year, though, wait for your NUT (local id number) in your country to be able to go to the embassy there right away.
Tell us about your English teaching job!
I worked 32-36 hours a week, and I got paid 110-120 pesos per hour, so yes, I managed to save some money and went on vacation to the South. I had both children and adults.
How did you find somewhere to live and what is it like?
I found a room using this page over here: https://www.roomgo.com.mx/
Please explain the cultural aspects, public transportation, nightlife, social activities, food, expat community, dating scene, travel opportunities, etc...
Museums and many other things are free in Mexico if you have a teacher's card that you must be given in the school. You also get a discount for the bus and the train (3/3,5 pesos instead of 6/7). For food, you can get "comida corrida" which has an average cost of 50 pesos and the beer can be bought for as cheap as 15-25 pesos per glass in some places. Cinema is really cheap too - about 50-70 pesos per ticket. There are many free art exhibitions and theatre plays in Guadalajara.
What are your monthly expenses?
About 9000 a month. 2400 for rent, about 5000 for food, and I don't know where all the other money went:)
How would you describe your standard of living?
I lived pretty comfortably there; I never had to borrow money.
In your opinion, how much does someone need to earn to live comfortably?
10,000 pesos a month
What advice would you give someone planning or considering teaching abroad? Would you recommend teaching in your country?
Mexico is an awesome place to teach. But you need to be ready for getting classes slowly and being broke in the beginning. Be very persistent with what type of schedule you want and how many hours you want to work. All in all, I definitely recommend going to Guadalajara, it's a great city with many opportunities and a huge demand for teachers.
After graduating with a degree in teaching English, Ekaterina never considered teaching as a career path. She was sure she would use the language for some other purpose, like translating or working at an international company. After Ekaterina found out she could travel the world and make a living teaching, she didn't have to think twice. She packed her bags and set her sites on Guadalajara, Mexico to teach English.
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