As I was going through security at the airport I was thinking back to the last time I did this on my own. When I left for Canada 3 years ago I was shaking, almost crying and wondering why the hell I was doing this. This time, leaving to teach TEFL in Romania, and I was fine. It was nothing. I’ve spent enough time since in airports that it’s not that unfamiliar to me anymore. I need to remind myself to appreciate travel and how incredible flying is!

I didn’t go to university so this was my first experience of being dropped in a situation with a group of people my own age and expected to get along since high school.  It definitely took me a couple of days to not see them as strangers. In saying that, everyone did gel very quickly, simply because we had to. I was sharing a room with 3 other girls. All 12 of us spent every meal time together, in between lessons, afternoon activities, after the kids went to bed. It was a case of become super familiar and comfortable with everyone THEN get to know each other.

TEFL in Romania
Pool at our Hotel overlooking the forest!

The first week of teaching TEFL in Romania both flew in and dragged. By the end of it I felt like I had been there a month! My first night I had that cliche cold sweat, panicky night and didn’t sleep at all. I was terrified about having to teach a class.  When I got there I was told I would need a translator, so the fact that all my lesson plans were “write about yourself” – “answer questions about this passage” wasn’t going to work. I can’t really remember what we did that day but I’m pretty sure I just got them to draw for 3 hours. It was awful. However, the next day (after another awful sleep) I pulled myself together and tried to power through without the translator. That’s the point of an English class right? Help them to understand English?  Surprisingly it worked.

TEFL in Romania

The week went by without any hiccups. My class were all very sweet, I was very grateful my first teaching experience was with kids so nice.

We went to Sighisoara, a very old and colourful town, that weekend after the kids had gone home and before the new ones arrived. It was really nice to get away from the hotel and see more of Romania.

TEFL in Romania
Sighisoara

For the second week I was more comfortable in the teacher role and began to really enjoy the classes. I had the youngest kids  ranging from 6-8 years old. We played lots of games and lots of colouring, but I feel I got in a lot of English as well. My favourite day was when I asked the kids to teach me Romanian. I think it made them relax and feel like they were in control of the lesson, when by the end of it they had made a full English <-> Romanian Phrase Book.

TEFL in Romania
One of the cutest things about teching little kids is that they like to draw pictures of you 🙂

That weekend was the big one. The reason for the trip. The reason I applied to the job. Dracula’s Castle! We had the full weekend planned so first off we drove out to Sinaia to see Peleș Castle. It was a very beautiful castle and afterwards made our way to Brașov where we were staying for the night. The next day we were up bright and early to go see Râșnov Fortress which was very cool. It was beautiful, the views were amazing and inside was like a little town! It would have been easy to spend the whole day there just walking around.

TEFL in Romania

Then of course it was time for Dracula’s castle! It was very different from how I imagined it to be. I was expecting a dark, scary old castle but actually it was very bright and pretty. Old Drac definitely had a talent for interior design!

TEFL in Romania

The last week was bittersweet. I was so ready to go home and I had another trip to Orlando to look forward to, but I was also sad to be leaving this place and routine that had become to familiar. So much so that my first day back home I couldn’t sit still. I had been so busy every day in Romania that I just had to keep moving. It was a good day for chores!

My students for this week were slightly older, 11 – 13 years old. I enjoyed being able to try out someone of my original lesson plans that were a bit too advanced for the other kids. I think I will forever be impressed that kids that young are so fluent in another language. It’s incredible! To fill up a lesson I offered to teach them a Scottish dance which they liked so much that they performed it for the Talent Show. That was cool to see! A little pinch of Scottish culture into their lives.

TEFL in Romania

So after 3 weeks, a 3 hour flight, and 8 hour over night layover and another 40 minute flight I was finally home. Such an incredible experience. Teaching TEFL in Romania has helped me realise, or confirm to myself, that I want to teach. I want to pursue TEFL seriously.

TEFL in Romania
Lake St Ana – Day trip with the kids every Friday

You can read a blog post I wrote for the TEFL.org.uk website I wrote about the camp that focuses more on the teaching aspect here

Now just to pick my next destination.

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My first experience as a Teaching TEFL in Romania at a Summer Camp. It was one of the best experiences of my life. Here's why. My first experience as a Teaching TEFL in Romania at a Summer Camp. It was one of the best experiences of my life. Here's why. My first experience as a Teaching TEFL in Romania at a Summer Camp. It was one of the best experiences of my life. Here's why.

 

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17 thoughts on “My Summer Teaching TEFL in Romania”

  1. I was a TEFL teacher for 12 years, in Greece, Italy, Egypt and Ireland. The travelling you get to do is amazing! I love hearing about other people’s experiences doing it. I used to brick myself a bit with big classes but got used to it. I’m not very extrovert so it was hard for me, but the experiences I had were amazing. I would also have applied for this just to see Dracula’s Castle… Sighisoara looks gorgeous.

  2. I started TEFL training but I have to confess, I couldn’t cut it so I have the utmost respect and admiration for TEFL teachers for sure! I was a mess just having to stand up and pretend to teach, I’m just not good standing in front of a group of people all eyes on me – not good if you want to teach lol. I loved your story though, I felt your fear then your enjoyment, it was lovely to be on the journey with you. So glad you ended up enjoying it and that you got a chance to see Romania, Sighisoria is so lovely and I adored Dracula’s castle, (isn’t it fabulous!). On to your next adventure then …. #farawayfiles

    1. I thought I would be the same but I surprisingly really enjoyed (most of) it. I don’t know how I would get on teaching older kids or adults though. I feel younger kids are less intimidating. I feel I can make an idiot of myself and they won’t laugh at me haaa. And oh my goodnes! Romania is now one of my favourite countires! I can’t wait to go back and explore some more 🙂 Thankd for your comment 🙂

  3. What a fantastic experience. Putting yourself in a situation that is uncomfortable (but safe) always works out for the best I think. I wonder if the children picked up your Scottish accent Chiera? Thanks for sharing your experience in Romania with us on #FarawayFiles

  4. It’s such a great experience to have! I too packed a bag to move to Europe to teach English. I knew I’d be gone for a long time because I wanted to live here. 4 years later, I’m still in Germany and still teaching English because I met and married a German! #FarawayFiles

  5. Sounds like an incredible experience. I was a volunteer in Ecuador and loved it. I think you get a completely different experience when you go to a place for something other than tourism. It’s something that sticks with you and changes you forever. #FarawayFiles

  6. What a great and rewarding experience, sounds like you had a really nice time despite initially pushing yourself out your comfort zone.
    I was in Romania this summer and absolutely loved it, Transylvania is so beautiful 🙂

  7. What an incredible experience, Chiera! I think your idea of getting the kids to make an English-Romanian language book is an inspired one. Great that you got to do some travelling too. It can be really scary thinking about teaching in a foreign country but it’s sometimes these scary things that turn out to be the most worthwhile. I taught in Paris for a year – the scariest thing for me was that most of the students were older than I was! Definitely an experience to remember though. Loved reading this on #FarawayFiles

  8. Really enjoyed reading about your experience teaching TEFL. I too taught english in South Korea for a year and it was most definitely challenging at first but like you I eased into it. I think the toughest part was the English barrier as there was often only so many things I could talk about with the kids. Although I enjoyed my experience, at the end of the year I decided that it was time to move on but I was so tempted to stay as it felt rewarding! Looking forward to reading more about your TEFL experiences.

  9. What a great experience that must have been! It really proves that when you take yourself out of your comfort zone, you learn the most about yourself and grow from the experience.

  10. I am so happy you liked your time in Romania (my country). Indeed, there is a difference between the official history of the Bran Castle – and the famous Dracula story, but the castle is a must visit in my opinion. Sighisoara is also nice – as all the other places you mentioned. 🙂

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