Having dropped the RV off at PPL Motorhomes a couple of days earlier, Brad drove us to the airport in Houston, marking the final end of our amazing US adventures. We have had such an amazing time, seen some incredible sights, and met some wonderful people.
As I have said before, travelling is probably more about the people you meet on the on the journey than it is about the journey itself. Once again, the people we have met and shared time with have made this a very special and memorable six months.
We flew back into Heathrow yesterday morning, and headed by bus out to Reading. Vanessa had made arrangements for us to house-sit a lovely flat just across the river from the town centre, where we plan to stay for the next couple of weeks. We plan to seclude ourselves away for a while and get our heads down, as we have some homework to do – let me explain.
Our funds have been dwindling over the past months, and we have been wondering how we might continue to travel, yet somehow top up the funds at the same time. Since I first began travelling extensively, when I took a year off after school before college, I have considered teaching English abroad. My cousin Mike worked as a TEFL (teaching English as a Foreign Language) teacher for many years.
A friend currently working in China as a TEFL teacher re-ignited the idea, and both Vanessa and I felt very enthused by the idea of living and working in China far a while. Not only could we continue to travel and see new places, we could earn some money too.
We would need some sort of training and qualification to enable us to apply for teaching jobs, and in order to get a work visa for China. The first step would be to enrol for a TEFL course.
In our last month in the US Vanessa did lots of research into TEFL course providers, and ultimately decided that tefl.org.uk looked like a very professional organisation. We enrolled online for the intensive 150 hour premier course, which entails around 120 hours of online study and assignments, and a three-day classroom-based module.
We tried to do some of the online work while in Colorado Springs and Houston, and managed to muddle our way through the tricky “Grammer” module – I had no idea English was so complicated!
Next we have to look at “TEFL Methodology”, then watch plenty of examples of teaching in real situations in the “Video” module. There are a couple of extra modules too: “Teaching Telephone Classes” and “Teaching Large Classes”.
Our three day classroom-based part of the course is booked for late November in Birmingham, and we hope to head to China soon after that, probably around mid-December.
We are both enjoying the challenge of learning something new, and are both excited at the prospect of heading to China – we are thinking of going to the Shenzhen area, close to Hong Kong. Has anyone been there before?
I’ll keep you updated on our educational progress.