Flicking through the history books of Europe, from ancient civilisations to modern day Europe and the formation of the EU, no country is likely to be mentioned as much and often as Germany. It is a country at the centre of Europe in terms of geographical location, economics, technology and so much industry. Within Germany you will find no less than 32 world heritage sites, covering castles, churches, cathedrals, and many ancient relics, and it has been the home and birth nation of so many famous artists, musicians, architects and writers, with much of their work still preserved and displayed in the many museums and galleries spread around the country.
It is no surprise that Germany is one of Europe’s most visited countries, especially during the winter when it becomes home to so many snow and adventure sports. The summer months are spent less at the beach and more following the nation’s wild festival circuit, which is headlined by the famous Oktoberfest, the largest and most attended celebration of beer and music on the planet. There really is no such thing as a bad time to visit modern day Germany.
Germany is also a country which offers an experience of the new, young, modern Europe, as well as home to areas of great traditions. In Berlin, Germany’s proud capital, you will find a youthful, vibrant city, which embraces change and evolution, almost in a constant state of reinvention. In contrast, areas of Bavaria, such as Munich, are at the centre of so much tradition, centred on the preservation of age old art, music, food and ethics. One thing is for sure, Germany is a very sociable country and a real fun loving nation, whilst in Berlin, the home of techno music, you are likely to experience one of the greatest club scenes on the continent, in Bavaria you will find a wonderful beer and tavern culture, making for lots of enjoyable nightlife wherever you find yourself in this great nation.
Teaching English in Germany
Breaking into the teaching market in Germany can be a bit of a challenge, there is a demand for TEFL teachers throughout almost every city and town in the country, but German institutes tend to demand a high level of experienced and qualifications, with a degree in addition to a TEFL certificate, often being a bare minimum requirement, and schools almost always demanding native English speakers only, regardless of fluency.
Whilst there are opportunities teaching English in Germany’s state schools and universities, the best vacancies are usually found in business English and adult teaching. State schools rarely advertise for teaching position, keeping a database of resumes and teachers in waiting, but it doesn’t hurt to contact schools prospectively and join potential waiting list, especially if you are set in a certain city or location in Germany. However, due to the high standard of language teaching in the state schools, many parents send look for additional private tutoring for their children, and one can expect to earn anything up to €30 an hour teaching privately (though be warned, taxes in Germany can be sky high! especially when working freelance).
Despite being at the heart of Europe, many German schools tend to prefer North American English, so opportunities for North American TEFL teachers are slightly higher in Germany than they would be in most other EU countries. Visa laws also tend to be more relaxed regarding teachers from outside of the EU, and North American’s typically only need to secure a job and produce a letter and copy of their contract from their employer, in order to obtain their visa and start working legally.
Neuschwanstein, nestled in the Alps, is one of the world’s most famous castles, and was the inspiration for the Walt Disney castle created for Sleeping Beauty. Neuschwanstein (new-swan-stone) is also the most photographed building in Germany. It was King Ludwig II who designed this fantasy-like castle in 1869, and instead of hiring an architect the eccentric King used his favourite theatrical set designer to draw up the original plans.
Most people have heard of Oktoberfest, it has made the Hofbräuhaus in Munich the most famous beer hall in the world. Those who come here to experience the immense event that is Oktoberfest, will be typically joined by 6 million others, eating sausage and sauerkraut, and drinking the best Bavarian beers in the 14 different beer halls, listening to yodellers and alphorn players in their finest lederhosen.
The old centre of Nuremberg is well visited throughout the year, but during the famous Christmas market is when you’ll find this city at its magical best. With busy Christmas shoppers and worshippers filling the streets, and the imperial castle towering majestically over the city, a simply stunning atmosphere is created; a true winter wonderland. The open-air market is made up of around 180 wooden huts, all festively decorated and lit up with great care, tradition and imagination. The highlight event is when over 1500 local children join in a lantern procession, parading up the hill to the castle tower.
If you would like to get TEFL qualified and become eligible for teaching work abroad then click here to visit the official TEFL Course page