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Travel and Teach in Europe

Posted by on Aug 29, 2013 in Travel Advice, Travel Finance, Work & Education | 0 comments

TEFLIf you’re interested in becoming a traveling teacher, Europe is one of the best places to go. With so many countries to explore, the opportunities for adventure are endless. Unlike Americans, Europeans aren’t all about work. You’ll find that a teaching job provides you with enough money and free time to fully experience your new home.

Finding a job in a foreign country can be intimidating. The first thing you need to do is decide in which country you’d like to teach. Almost every country wants English teachers, but Spain, the UK, Georgia, and France have the highest need. Based on ease of obtaining a legal job and overall experience, the best countries in which to teach English are Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary, France, and Denmark. If you’re not ready to immerse yourself in a foreign language, consider teaching in the UK. Many people move there just to learn English.

Each country has different education requirements. Make sure you meet the qualifications for your new job. Most employers require an undergraduate degree or a TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) certificate. You can obtain a TEFL certificate online, but it’s best to find a program that includes teaching experience. English, Literature, and Teaching degrees are also valuable. Some institutions will require you to prove your proficiency in English. Others require only a basic teaching license. Interpersonal skills are also very important when it comes time to apply, as well as previous experience.

If you wish to work in a private language school, you will have to complete a basic course of 100 or more hours with 6 hours of observed teaching. Some facilities offer and require more specific courses, such as ILT (Introduction to Language Teaching), PLT (Practice of Language Training), and Literacy.

Many Americans overlook the fact that some European countries prefer a certain gender. Other countries only hire teachers within a certain age range (usually 20-40). If you have obtained a TEFL and you are under the age of 19, you will probably only be able to teach in volunteer situations.

SalaryAs with almost any job, your salary depends on many factors, including experience, seniority, and education. There is sometimes a danger of exploitation when you travel and teach. In recent years, many institutions in Spain have paid teachers under the table in order to maximize their profits. This might not sound bad for the teachers, but when paid illegally, teachers can lose their benefits. Make sure you are paid in accordance with the law.

Some countries ignore labor laws when it comes to foreign employees. They assume the foreigners won’t know or understand local laws regarding things like end-of-contract payments and working hours. If you don’t speak the local language and/or aren’t familiar with the country’s culture, you may find yourself a victim. Individuals who can’t adapt to the culture of their new home usually give up after a few months. With proper preparation, you should be able to avoid this situation.

Speaking of preparation, you’ll also want to make sure you have the proper documents. Requirements are different for each European country. Many teachers follow the “don’t ask, don’t tell” method by working illegally with a tourist visa. This is not a good idea!

There are several websites you can visit to help you get a professional teaching job abroad. Check out TeacherHit.com and TeachAway.com. Keep in mind that September is the highest recruiting month for foreign English teachers.

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Schengen Visa: What, When, and How

Posted by on Aug 5, 2013 in Travel Advice | 0 comments

Schengen VisaIf you will be traveling to Europe either for business or for pleasure, you might need to acquire a Schengen Visa. The Schengen Agreement back in 1995 led to the formation of a 26-country borderless zone called the Schengen Area. This region includes Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland. Citizens of European countries that are not part of this zone may travel through this region with no limitations (Bulgaria, Cyprus, Ireland, Romania, and the UK). With the Schengen Visa, you will be able to travel freely throughout these countries without showing documentation when crossing borders. The goal of the Schengen Agreement was to harmonize visa policies and eliminate traffic jams caused by border checks. For international travelers, the Schengen Area is sort of like one really big state. In fact, this area is home to over 400 million people.

If you’re from the following list of countries, you are able to visit the Schengen Area for up to 90 days within a period of 180 days without the visa: Andorra, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Croatia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Hong Kong (SAR), Israel, Japan, Liechtenstein, Macao (SAR), Malaysia, Mexico, Monaco, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Norway, Panama, Paraguay, San Marino, Singapore, South Korea, United States, Uruguay, Vatican City, and Venezuela.

EuroThe Schengen Visa comes in three types. You’ll need Type A (Airport Transit Visa) to pass through airports within the Schengen Area. However, this visa is not standardized and each country has different regulations to determine which citizens need the visa to pass through Schengen airports.  Type B (Transit Visa) is valid for only five days. This visa is issued to citizens of non-Schengen countries in order to travel through the Schengen Zone to reach their destination. Type C is the most commonly used Schengen Visa. It is valid for up to 90 days within a period of six months and grants entry into the Schengen Area. Tourists use this visa for single, double, or multiple entries into the Schengen Area.

To apply for the Schengen Visa, contact the Embassy of whichever country you will be staying in the longest during your European visit. If you will be in different countries for equal amounts of time, chose the country you will visit first. If you have any questions, feel free to ask the Embassy.

There are many requirements you must meet in order to acquire the Schengen Visa. First of all, your passport must be valid at least three months prior to the date at which you will visit the Schengen Area. In addition, you must prove to the Embassy that you have enough money to fund your trip. You must also prove that you have a valid itinerary, have purchased round-flight tickets, and have reserved room(s) in a hotel. Don’t forget to purchase travel health insurance covering at least the equivalent of $40.56. Your insurance must include hospital treatment and emergency flight. Lastly, you must prove that you are a citizen of your home country and convince the Embassy that you really will leave the Schengen Area within 90 days.

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Neuchatel, a Vibrant Town Nestled in the Jura Mountains

Posted by on Aug 15, 2013 in Travel Advice | 0 comments

Nestled in the Jura Mountains, Neuchatel brims with opportunities to fascinate the adventurous traveler. Less well known than many Alpine locales, Neuchatel offers cozy charm and a relaxed atmosphere to those who visit. The town is located in northwest Switzerland on the shore of Lake Neuchatel, the largest Swiss lake and surrounded by the foothills of the Jura.

neuchateltour

Neuchatel has long been known as the center of the watch-making world, and has been producing fine timepieces since the 1600s. Because of the relative isolation of Neuchatel, particularly before rail and auto travel, the bustling town was forced to manufacture its own products including watches. Today, tourists can take watch-making tours to learn the rich history behind this craft or they can stroll the streets window shopping for some of the finest watches on earth.

Diving even farther back into history, the Collegiale Church, built in 1276, stands proudly in the old town square atop a hill that overlooks the more modern metropolitan area. Enjoy the intricate stained glass windows and the fifteen giant statues of knights inside the old cathedral. Next to this gothic cathedral sits the Chateau, an imposing stone building over a millennium old, constructed in its first iteration during Roman times. While the entire hilltop gives a magnificent view of the surrounding area, a climb to the top of the adjacent prison tower provides a truly breathtaking panorama of the city.

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Affordable Bed and Breakfasts in London

Posted by on Aug 15, 2013 in Bed & Breakfast, Travel Advice, Travel Finance | 0 comments

london b&b

Hotel rooms and apartment prices in London are some of the most expensive in Western Europe. If you are planning a trip to the capital city it maybe worth considering staying at one of the many affordable bed and breakfasts in London. One of the huge advantages at staying at a B&B is that you will be staying with local people and very often within their own home. You will receive that warm welcome that corporate chain hotels simply do not provide. Choosing the right B&B can sometimes be a challenge, below are a few you may like to consider if you are looking for affordable bed and breakfasts in London.

The B&B Belgravia is a boutique style bed and breakfast situated in Ebury Street. It is close to the fashionable Sloane Street with all its high end designer stores. If you are visiting London during the Chelsea Flower Show this would be an ideal place for an overnight stay. The rooms are modern with crisp linen and very functional. There are either a double or twin bed, flat screen television and free wi-fi. Some of the rooms have both a bathtub and shower. One of the most important features of a B&B and what will make a good B&B great is the breakfast. At this establishment they offer a full English breakfast using organic produce. There is also a continental breakfast buffet. With prices from just £65 it is great value but to get the best rates you do need to book early.

If you wanted to stay in North London, near to Hampstead Heath yet only ten minute tube (subway) ride from Buckingham Palace then you may like to consider Charlotte Guest House. It is very much in a residential area with lots of nice bars, restaurants nearby as well as having a bit of a country feel because of the greenery of the heath. This establishment would suit students, solo travelers as well as families. They do have a couple of family rooms. This clean comfortable B&B offers stays from £21 per person per night, with a hot English breakfast included it is affordable and super value.

If you need a good affordable bed and breakfast near to Gatwick airport then take a look at Masslink Guest House which is in a traditional Victorian house. It is also a great location for those who maybe visiting Reigate or Gatton Park. The rooms are comfortable and there is a cozy breakfast room where a full English breakfast is served. With rooms from £30 per night it is great value for money.

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