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I left the UK once and for all early February 2007, although at this stage I still had intentions to return to the UK and begin my life in the corporate cage (that sentiment has long since gone). Landed in Chiang Mai airport, first time in Asia and no idea what was going on. I managed to get a cab to my ‘campus’ where I would be undertaking my CELTA qualification – it was beautiful, seriously serene and picturesque – called Nugent Waterside (check it out – i have discovered how to do links now!) This is where I would be spending the next month of my life:

CELTA accommodation,   Hang Dong,   Chiang Mai province
CELTA accommodation, Hang Dong, Chiang Mai province

So as you can see, the set-up was sweet! As it turned out, this was hugely necessary as the bloody course was infinitely harder than I had envisaged so a solid base was a necessity lol. Also, when I arrived I was assuming there would be lots of people my age, we would party, study a little bit, get the qualification and crack on from there. Not so. I met an awesome guy, Max, who was 22 and I had just turned 23 – other than us everyone was around 40+, so much for the partying eh!

Let me explain how the whole thing worked:

We had two English tutors who I am still in contact with to this day, you wake up early – around 7am, have breakfast (delicious) then start studying with the tutors around 8.30am, all the way through to 5pm :S then you do coursework until around 9 or 10pm, go to bed (or have a couple of cheeky changs and then go to bed) and wake up at 7am and do it all again! This is the schedule from Monday to Friday – on the weekend, you catch up on your coursework because your due-date is fast approaching! I want to stress that doing your CELTA is by no means a formality, it is eminently passable but if you don’t do the work you will definitely fail (as people on my course did) and after spending $1800 on the course and maybe $1000 on the flight, studying hard-core for a month and all the rest you don’t want to be failing – so make sure you study!

Basically, on day 2 they throw you in at the deep end and get you teaching (on day 2 – wtf!!!!) Very scary for anyone with no experience (by anyone i mean me, and i was terrified). But it comes and goes and definitely helps in the long run, then you keep studying and working and teaching and stressing. You have 4 pieces of coursework to do over the 4 weeks in addition to everything else (there goes your 4 weekends!) and you have to teach 10 classes of 40 minutes i think, so you don’t have too much time to relax.

Ok, so a month goes past in a heartbeat, you have learned things about English grammar that, ashamedly, you didn’t know before even as a native speaker :S definitions of adverbs, adjectives, nouns, verbs! you learn all this during the course so if you don’t know when you register, it’s cool, neither did I! You learn a lot of advanced grammar too and to be honest that’s all really cool and will set you up for life when it comes to learning another language (which I discovered as I learned Thai). We finished up and leaving, as always, is a sad day 🙁

Honestly, I can say this was probably the best $1800 AUD I have ever spent – I truly mean that. It opened up a whole new world to me, widened my horizons in a way that I could never have dreamed of and ultimately changed the whole course of my life, I couldn’t recommend this course highly enough and the second you are CELTA qualified you are automatically top of the English teaching food chain – employers love this stuff 🙂

Check out my Teaching English Qualifications in the Travel Tips section for a thorough break down of the different types of English teaching qualification you can get, the basic hierarchy of those qualifications, value for money, difficulty etc and you will be fully prepared to choose that course and set off on an unbelievable journey and, crazily, a certificate that allows you to work ANYWHERE in the whole world for the rest of your life – amazing.

 

Also, check out my FAQ on teaching English overseas

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