My husband and I went to Slovenia to teach after having applied for a job online. We had done the TESOL course with ATA in Brisbane and wanted to make use of it. We found this teaching job and applied. I was accepted immediately after a Skype interview, but I told the person that I needed to discuss this with my husband and that I did not have an EU passport. She responded by saying that my husband could go as well as he had an EU passport; and I could go as a family member on his passport. So we packed up our house, rented it out, and of we went.
We went for one year; a year we thoroughly enjoyed. We taught at a private business college in the centre of Ljublijana the capital of Slovenia; what an absolutely beautiful, tranquil place with a population of just 200,000 people. The atmosphere was so relaxing; the people were very friendly and helpful, and although we didn’t speak Slovenian almost everyone there spoke English to varying degrees. We arrived in the autumn: the weather wasn’t cold but the colours were beautiful as the trees had changed to autumn colours and were losing their leaves.
Although the temps in winter were -20 degrees we weren’t cold. The apartment we had was very warm. It was a very dry ,cold but not damp. The snow was really pretty as I had never seen snow falling in my life, so I was excited about playing in the snow. Christmas was very different with street lights and markets selling mulled wine on the streets with people buying gifts. The town was picturesque and alive.
Spring was lovely with all the pretty daffodils and other colourful flowers blooming. Many free shows on the streets and celebrations for the changing of the seasons with street parades.
The food was so, so good you have to try it. Our favourite place was Zvezda, a coffee shop with the most mouth-watering cakes etc and the hot chocolate was delicious.
After a year in Slovenia we wondered, where to next? We decided China, so we went onto the internet and found a placement for us both at the same college in Wuxi which is inland from Shanghai, about 45 minutes by train.
This was a total culture shock, where Slovenia was more in line with western culture China is the complete opposite. However we thoroughly enjoyed the four years we were there.
We made many friends,and were invited into people’s homes for home cooked meals, taken to experience the different celebrations, many different restaurants and finally coming home not with our own belongings, but with presents galore. We ended up sending our personal belongings home by post. Students were adorable we were asked to stay but we knew we couldn’t.
We have stayed in contact with students and friends from both Slovenia and China knowing that one day they will be visiting us here in Australia.
Finally, I would encourage anyone wanting to experience something different to do the TESOL course. You have a better than most chance to gain a position in most countries overseas, but be professional about it so you can leave with a good feeling of achievement.