When I left University I realised quite quickly that an office job was not for me. I loved my course, I loved my four years at Uni but after graduation I was left feeling like a career in Graphic Design meant life at a desk, in an office in London. I knew there had to be something else for me out there, I wanted to see the world with my own eyes, I wanted to experience other cultures and I wanted a way to leave home for a long time without having to worry too much about where my next meal was coming from. Not only that, but I wanted a career option, I had waitressed throughout my time at university and as much as I enjoyed it I didn’t want to waitress my way around the world.
I had a rough idea what TEFL was but I wasn’t entirely sure how the whole thing worked. Did I need to go back to college? Did I need to have an English degree before I could be a ESOL teacher? I had no idea! I knew my local college had TEFL course but I wasn’t thrilled with the idea of another year of studying having just left six years of higher education. This is when I stumbled upon i-to-i TEFL, a 120 hour online course with an internship in China attached to it, it was exactly what I had been looking for!
Within a week of finding the package and talking to an representative I was booked on and ready to start my TEFL course. I found it fascinating to learn about how it feels learning English as a foreign language. There is so much about English that I had never thought about before because as a native English speaker these things are just second nature.
I chose the i-to-i TEFL program because I thought it was the perfect way for me to find my feet as a new teacher. The online course supplied me with the theoretical knowledge and materials to start me off and now, through my internship in China, I am learning what works for me in my classroom and the practical side of teaching English as a foreign language.
My degree in Communication Design has not been wasted though, that creative side of my brain is put to work every day designing lessons for 800 young students and the great thing about TEFL is how much it allows you to travel, meaning there are always going to be new places for me to practice my photography skills.
To put it simply I chose TEFL because I wanted an escape from the prescribed route that we are told our life is supposed to take; school, university, job… the end. I chose TEFL because it allows me to explore the world and immerse myself into the culture of whichever country I choose to work. I chose TEFL because I have the travel bug and instead of sitting in an office dreaming of my next holiday, I wanted to be where everyone else was dreaming about.
If Aileen’s experience has inspired you, check out our Paid China TEFL Internship to find out more about this life-changing programme.