I graduated from the University of Oregon with a Bachelor of Arts back in June of 2014. It didn’t take long after graduating that I realized, now that I was finished with college, that I had absolutely no idea what I wanted to do next. I did know, however, what I did NOT want to do. I did NOT want to immediately fall into some “career” that I’d be stuck in for the rest of my life, especially considering I didn’t have the first idea as to what kind of career that would even be.
I started looking into teaching abroad in the countries that I thought I might be interested in exploring. Teaching English as a foreign language started to look like a pretty feasible way to kill two birds with one stone (getting a job that allowed me to make money AND travel). Barcelona Spain almost immediately grabbed my attention, and so I came and got my TEFL (Teach English as a Foreign Language) certificate from an institution that more than prepared me to do exactly what it promised. And I haven’t looked back since moving to Barcelona and getting my TEFL certificate from TEFL Barcelona nearly seven months ago.
I now teach at a Language Academy for 8 hours a week and then have about 5 hours a week of private classes on the side. I mostly teach adults who are at an intermediate to upper-intermediate level of English. I don’t make enough money to be rich but that’s not why I came to live in Spain. I do, however, make enough money to rent my own apartment down near the beach in the neighborhood of Barceloneta. I’m roughly 20 meters from the Mediterranean Sea (which is great, because I can take an evening or morning dip whenever I feel like it). I travel via bus or cheap airfare just about every other weekend to one awesome place after another, (last weekend I went south to Miravet).
On top of traveling I also get the opportunity to go out whenever I want and experience the amazing nightlife and different festivities the city has to offer.
Overall, I couldn’t be happier with my decision to move to Barcelona and get my TEFL certificate. Teaching English is a surprisingly practical skill in the sense that it teaches you a lot of non-teacher related talents (confidence in speaking in front of people, learning to be better at job interviews, etc. etc.) and also in the sense that since English is a language that people all over the globe want to learn, teaching it becomes rather priceless.
I remember before coming to Barcelona I was nervous that making friends in a foreign country would be a difficult, daunting task. I was scared. Like a lot of fears though, I realized once getting here that it was the idea of making friends that scared me more than the actual experience of it. From my experience the people in Barcelona are warm and welcoming. It’s such an international city, after all, that it is almost expected, and definitely accepted, that tons of people are from different places all over the world. As a Californian born and raised, I had very little trouble fitting in and making friends that I’m sure I’ll have for the rest of my life. Besides, I immediately made friends with tons of people from the TEFL academy before I had even graduated with my certificate.
Although I don’t think it was the ONLY route I could have taken after college it was definitely the right one for me. Even though I don’t think I am by any means done traveling or exploring the world (I plan on coming back to teach somewhere, probably Barcelona for round two), I already have learned so much and will be forever grateful and appreciative of my time here. There’s a certain quality of life that I think can only be gained by going out of your comfort zone and pushing yourself, and I feel as though by coming to Barcelona and teaching I have done just that.
Besides, I got to ride a scooter down the narrow Spanish streets of El Gotic, and that alone was worth it.
By Terek Hopkins