Slovakia: perhaps not the country that immediately springs to mind when you consider packing your bags and moving to a foreign country to teach English. However, it’s a beautiful place with lots to offer – find out exactly why you should TEFL in Slovakia!
1. Demand is high
What with being in the EU, it’s crucial for the Slovakians to speak English – not only does this mean children start learning in schools from a young age, but there is a rise in the need for Business English teachers.
However, with Slovakia being a more ‘unventured’ area of Europe, demand is not being met, so it’s relatively easy finding a job. You can check out vacancies on our jobs board, although a lot of EU passport holders travel to Slovakia and find work in-country, handing out their CVs to schools. The high demand means that there’s no need to have previous teaching experience – a TEFL qualification with i-to-i is perfectly fine, although you may want to take a Business English module if that’s the teaching route you want to go down!
2. It’s affordable
The average TEFL teacher takes home a monthly salary of £620/$1,000, which is more than enough to live comfortably in Slovakia. The affordable accommodation is even cheaper if you share with a colleague; as is food – make like a local and stock up on filling meat and potatoes for the long winter ahead!
These low prices mean you can go out and treat yourself much more – a nice cocktail comes to no more than £4 in the capital, Bratislava, and you can travel cheaply to nearby destinations (more on that later!)
3. Great culture
Slovakia is still a largely traditional culture, and there is a huge amount of emphasis placed on family and close friends. A great way to experience all of this is through the traditional festivals – for instance, May Day is celebrated nationwide with maypoles erected in town squares. Also, at Christmas, fish scales are put under plates for luck, and fortunes are told with melted lead – it may sound strange, but it’s a lot of fun getting involved!
4. Great base for exploring Europe
Slovakia’s central location makes it the ideal base to explore Europe. Vienna is practically on the doorstep – trains from Bratislava take just an hour and cost a mere £12/$19 one way. Prague and Budapest are only a few hours away, with ticket prices a fraction more; or you could catch a sleeper train to Paris in the West, or Moscow in the East – that’s a lot of exploring to be done during your time off from teaching English!
5. Friendly locals
The Slovakians’ reserved nature can initially make them seem quite cold, but this isn’t the case at all and they are often just shy. However, you’ll soon make friends with your TEFL colleagues, and you know you’ll have made friends for life when you’re invited over for dinner – just be sure to bring a gift like flowers (odd numbers only!) or chocolates.
The same can be said for your students: for the first few weeks your classes may be quite quiet, but once they’ve gotten used to you, they’ll open up and be more willing to interact!