Teaching English in Greece
by Kathi MacNaughton
Sarah Receiving Her TEFL Certificate in Greece
In 2008, my oldest daughter gave up most of her possessions, including a car, and took all her savings and sunk them into a TEFL course in Greece, a place she longed to see.
She said her goodbyes to the family, and off she went on her grand adventure. This was quite a step for her, as she is not the biggest risk taker in the world... to do this all on her own really took courage.
She thought she'd done her research on the program ahead of time, but apparently, she didn't do enough. Almost as soon as she got there, but too late to withdraw or get her money back, she learned that Americans can't legally teach in Greece, as they won't be granted work visas.
There is a slight chance you could get sponsored by an employer and be able to get the visa, but it's extremely rare, as there seem to be plenty of non-American teachers to fill all the spots.
She didn't know what to do, but she'd paid her money and changed her life, so she went ahead. There was also the possibility of working illegally under the radar, but my Sarah is not one to break the rules easily.
During the 6 weeks of her schooling, she made some fast friends and she did well, graduating without any problems. And she did manage to finally secure a position, having decided to try working illegally for a bit.
But the woman she worked for gave her very few hours and Sarah just couldn't make it financially after a few weeks. All the good teaching positions had gone to the non-Americans in her class.
So, she had no choice but to come home. At age 26, she was forced to live with me, her mom, for a year, while she got back on her feet financially and saved for a return to Texas and an apartment of her own.
It was a crushing disappointment and a financial disaster, although the school experience itself... and experiencing Athens and Corinth in Greece... were wonderful.
My advice is if you're American, don't try to do the TEFL thing in Greece! The school Sarah attended was more than happy to take her money, knowing full well she'd never be able to teach legally. Do your homework before you hand over your money!
Perhaps Sarah was naive, but she's an intelligent girl with good common sense, great financial management and she's a great internet researcher... and still she was taken advantage of. I'd hate for anyone else to experience such things.
She really wanted to teach overseas... unfortunately, she chose the wrong county to do it in.