Joshua & Stephanie
The Universe, Earth

Joshua & Stephanie are your typical, American couple. He has his side of the bed, she has hers. He plays video games, she stumbles upon things. He’s a graphic designer, she’s an admissions counselor. He’s a musician, she’s an archaeologist. Yada, yada, yada. You get the picture. So… why make a blog? Interesting question! For starters, the quirky couple have made an official decision to step out of their comfort zone, say goodbye to all their belongings, and embark on a grand adventure near the end of the year. Where are they going you might ask? The first stop is Barcelona for a few weeks, and then it's on to Shanghai, China! They decided to make a blog to document their travels, and some of the exciting things leading up to their departure, and when they finally get their feet on the ground in Asia. So sit back, relax, laugh along, and follow these two lovebirds as they show you how easy it is to fulfill the wanderlust in all of us!

Travel

International TEFL Academy

By on June 5, 2016

Graduating & Working

How did Josh and I choose the International TEFL Academy? Let’s step back for a minute. When I graduated from college in May of 2014, the only thing I knew was that I wanted to leave the country. Until I could, I decided to live with my sister and her family in Kentucky, because I didn’t want to live at home again. After doing some research, it looked like teaching English abroad would be the best/easiest/cheapest way to support myself, wherever I went. I finally settled on a program in Prague, that lasted 6 weeks and found you a job immediately after. I don’t remember much about the program itself but I knew it sounded great and was really cheap, plus I’d get to help children!

International TEFL Academy - Graduation & Work

Just before I’d had enough saved for the program (I was working in a sweatshop, seriously), I was offered a position at my Alma Mater, as an Admissions Counselor. The salary didn’t sound bad for a first job, and I thought I’d try it for a year and save up for Prague. Fast forward two years and now Josh and I are planning to go to Cambodia and China, to teach English. This idea actually came out in a very roundabout way. I’d finally decided that I needed to continue my education, so I applied to several schools abroad. Josh was planning on going with me. I don’t know how much you know about applying to grad schools, but it was a very involved process.

International TEFL Academy - Broke Woman

I wish I had looked into visa requirements before going through the ordeal because every single country I wanted to go to had monetary requirements that needed to be fulfilled before you can be granted a visa. For instance, England requires that you have a certain amount in your bank account, for every month you plan on being there. You have to have this amount 90 days before you leave. What is this amount? $1200 a month. For twelve months that’s $24,000 and for the both of us to go we’d need $48,000 plus the cost of my grad program. So I’m just gonna hold off on grad school for another little while…

Wanderlust

By the time I discovered this horrific requirement, Josh and I were already in the mindset to move abroad. There was absolutely no way we could continue to live our quiet, boring lives in Central Pennsylvania. While I’ve certainly enjoyed my time here, it is now time for us to move on. I immediately thought about the program in Prague. I wasn’t able to find that exact program, which was really disappointing. I spent the next couple of weeks looking at different programs, and learning about different requirements in different countries. I finally settled on The Global Work and Travel Co. They sounded amazing. The program was really cheap, we could pretty much start whenever we wanted, and they had tons of opportunities in our dream destination: Thailand.

International TEFL Academy - Wanderlust

Well luckily Josh is not as trusting as I am. Once I settled on this program, he did REAL research. After looking at reviews on different websites, not just on their own, we discovered that this program has actually screwed over A LOT of people. It seems they have a penchant for taking people’s money, making guarantees, and leaving people stranded abroad with no help. Many also complained about how pushy the employees are about setting down a deposit, and don’t give refunds when people change their minds. I caught a taste of this when they called me and harassed me to make a deposit, even when I told them we weren’t sure when/where exactly we wanted to go. They also wouldn’t let me go when I kept telling them I was at work and couldn’t talk, so I finally just hung up on them (sorry to any telemarketers out there, but I know you’re not as rude as this guy was!).

International TEFL Academy

Annoyed and more scrupulous in my search, I found International TEFL Academy. I checked reviews on multiple websites and they seem, not only legit, but highly successful and well-liked. On their website I discovered that they are an accredited TEFL certification provider, offer lifelong help to their alumni, and are also not very expensive.

International TEFL Academy - Logo

Between Josh and I, the certification will cost $3050 ($1525 each). So I signed up and they sent me a lot of information. The most important thing, in my opinion, was their country chart. It explains which countries require a degree in order to teach in, startup costs in each, and how much you’re likely to save. From this we realized we couldn’t go to Thailand, since Josh doesn’t have a degree. We also realized that China offered the best chance for saving money. They pay one of the highest salaries, offer flight-reimbursements, and free housing. Since I have student loans to pay off and I’d like to save up for grad school, China is ideal! Josh would also like to live in a city, and there are plenty to choose from in China.

International TEFL Academy - Shanghai, China

The only issue with China is that International TEFL Academy doesn’t offer onsite courses there. They offer online classes that we could take before leaving, but we didn’t want to do that since it takes longer and we wouldn’t have as much guidance as we would in an actual class. We finally decided to take the class in Cambodia, because its a short distance to China, we could still visit Thailand, and we can both possibly teach there if we end up loving the area. So there you have it. We’re going to Cambodia!

International TEFL Academy - Angkor Wat

If it weren’t for International TEFL Academy, we may have ended up stranded in a country where Josh couldn’t work, and we might not have had the guidance that they offer their alumni. Although Josh and I haven’t officially joined the International TEFL Academy program (if you’d like to help us be able to afford the program, click here to donate), they have been very helpful. Between their help, and the plethora of wonderful reviews, I know we’re making the right choice!

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