Just over a year ago, in anticipation of possibly moving abroad at some point, Brian and I enrolled in and completed a 120-hour online TESOL (Teaching English as a Second Language) course. From the get go, we knew that our best chance at getting a job overseas was going to be as an English teacher.
Well, it turns out we didn’t really need it to showcase our talents, as this story is a much better case of “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know.”
About a month before we moved to Germany, a DC-based friend of ours introduced us via Facebook (oh, how we love technology!) to 2 of her friends who had at one point lived in Freiburg. It turns out one of the girls still lived here(!) so we set up an appointment to meet with her at a nearby Biergarten the first weekend we were here. (As a side note, this meeting was also our first foray into the amazing world of Biergartens, but more on that later.)
She was awesome, and answered all kinds of questions we had for her (she is from the US, so it was really nice to hear about Freiburg and all of its intricacies from a non-native). As it turned out, she told us about a friend of hers who had done something very similar to what we were doing! He moved to Freiburg from the US without a visa, and was now successfully teaching English and living here permanently. She offered to introduce us, so of course we accepted.
About a week later, we met up with this friend of a friend of a friend (trust me, I had to say this out loud a few times to ensure accuracy), and he was also great, helping us think through our plan of teaching English here. He works for a school that only hires native speakers of a language as teachers, and so he told us he’d put in a good word for us to the Director of Studies and that we should email him a few days later.
A few days later we emailed the DOS, introducing ourselves and asking if he was looking for any English teachers at the moment. He said yes! We sent him our CVs (which were really just our resumes… I know there’s a difference, but I haven’t figured it out yet), and he asked us to come in for a meeting the following week.
On Tuesday of this week, we went in for our meeting, and we could tell immediately that this was going to be a good relationship. He was very friendly and happy to have two native English speakers WITH teaching experience (and heck, we even had official looking certificates!) After about 45 minutes of asking us about our teaching methods and backgrounds, he told us he’d be happy to have us be freelance teachers with the school!
It’d be an understatement to say we were happy. He wrote us both letters which simply state that the school will hire us upon approval of our self-employment visa (which we needed a job to apply for anyway – it’s a chicken and the egg kind of process, really).
Now, the only obstacle standing in our way is the official approval (or declination) of our self-employment visa. We submitted our application in full yesterday, and we should hear back in the next 3-4 weeks. It’ll be a long waiting process, but keep your fingers crossed for us – we’re almost there!