Meet Ashley Childs, recent recipient of the Angloville-TEFL scholarship. A young Texan on the loose, it didn’t take Ashley long to fall in love with life abroad as an English teacher. Read on to learn more about her experiences teaching English abroad with a TEFL certificate.
Congrats on receiving the Angloville-TEFL Scholarship! How was the process of applying for the program?
Thanks! The process was incredibly easy. I found out about Angloville through Workaway and went on the Angloville website. From there, that led me to the Anglo-TEFL Scholarship information!
I sent a few emails back and forth with the staff (super responsive and friendly) and within a few days, I had started my online TEFL classes and booked my flight to Poland!
Did you research other organizations to teach abroad with? If so, what made PremierTEFL stick out from the crowd — and, how did it meet your expectations?
I am a big advocate of reading reviews before doing anything (restaurants, spas, hotels, etc.) and this program has no exception.
Premier TEFL simply had amazing reviews. Most of the reviews said exactly what I was thinking, “This sounds too good to be true, but it’s not.”
Let’s back up a little bit. Tell us about the Ashley Childs of your younger years, such as high school. Have you always been adventurous and game to see the world?
I have always loved to travel and my parents and grandparents certainly contributed to that. In high school, I went on quite a few trips around the world with their support. We went to Italy, Spain, Germany, the U.K., France, and all around Central America.
I think my most important and life-changing trip was to Kolkata, India where I worked in a safe house that helped women rescued from the Red Light District. It’s amazing to see other cultures and ways of life and learn how we can help each other.
You went to a really large university, Texas State. Was it easy to find a community there that desired to or appreciated travel? Did you study abroad? Tell us about it!
I didn’t study abroad at Texas State and that is one regret I have! I always felt like I was too busy or had too much going on.
Many of my friends and sorority sisters studied abroad and they absolutely loved it. I think it’s important to see the world before settling down at a 9-5 job and if I could go back in time, I would try to at least study abroad for one semester.
Describe a typical day in the life while you were abroad with Angloville-TEFL.
I would wake up around 8:00AM in a beautiful hotel, walk down the hall to breakfast and eat some pretty great and free food (with a coffee or three, of course.) At around 10:00, I would meet the same Polish participant each day and mentor them on English speaking and help them create a presentation.
After that, the day bounced around with 1 on 1 discussions, 2:2 discussions, and group activities. The whole day was focused on conversation and dialogue, with some pronunciation and things like that.
We rarely focused on grammar and I actually think that helped the Polish participants. For one week, they spoke English constantly and were immersed in the language. Seeing the progress from the first day to the last day was really amazing!
What has been the biggest challenge in your teach abroad experiences, and how did you overcome it?
My biggest challenge while teaching abroad was speaking with the juniors I taught. They were 12-15 years old and sometimes it was hard to get a shy teenager to talk in a different language for 30 minutes straight. I would suggest finding out what they are passionate about and asking them to explain that.
One of my students only answered “yes” or “no” even when I didn’t ask yes or no questions. After I found out she loved horses, I asked her what she does each day at her horse riding lessons. All of a sudden she lit up, sat straight up, and she didn’t stop talking for 15 minutes.
Going abroad for an extended period of time isn’t easy. What three pieces of advice would you offer someone who is a little afraid of the commitment?
It was a big commitment for us to go abroad and it was a scary decision to make, but it will be an experience I can learn and grow from, and never regret.
I would definitely say to save as much money as possible and research places to go beforehand. For example, we didn’t book a Hostel/hotel/AirBNB in Krakow until the last minute and everything was either booked or expensive.
Planning ahead can help a ton, but make sure you stay open minded if something happens.
You’re 24, back in the States, have your TEFL. What’s next?!
I am actually not back in the States! My fiancé and I bought a one-way ticket and decided to stay here in Europe. Now that we have the TEFL certification and degrees from a university, we are hoping to find jobs.
Thanks Ashley for your insights! Best of luck in your new role and future ed-deavours.