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Bridge Grad “Jet Lagged Jess” Tells Us Why She Got TEFL Certified in Chile

Jess describes herself as a “20-something New Zealander who is leaving the nest” for an adventure in South America. She got TEFL certified via our 4-week Bridge IDELT course in Santiago in order to become an English teacher in Chile and make it her new home base. In her blog, Jet Lagged Jess, she shares all about her experiences abroad in Chile – from choosing her TEFL certification course and details of her first job to the sights she’s seen, places she’s traveled, foods she has eaten, and more.

In this excerpted post, Jess tells us why she chose the onsite IDELT course in Chile for her TEFL certification.

The main reason why I chose to enroll in an IDELT course [Bridge International Diploma in English Language Teaching] is that it was recommended to me by an English teacher who is currently teaching here in Chile. She said the training is great, it is intensive and expensive but you will learn everything you need to know. I went to the place which she suggested, [Bridge in Chile], and the people were very lovely and welcoming, I got given the information and basically decided on the spot that it was something I wanted to do. I enrolled a couple of days later and couldn’t be happier with my decision.

The IDELT course I did was full-time, 10am-5pm, Monday-Friday for four weeks in an institute with other students. I liked the idea of going somewhere because it’s a great way to meet people and also a fantastic opportunity to get out of the apartment! (Otherwise, I’d go INSANE). I needed to gain the skills and confidence necessary to become a great teacher.  I have completed 6 practice lessons, all 1 hour each, to a variety of students which include beginner, pre-intermediate, intermediate and advanced.

I didn’t want to do an online course because I just don’t learn as well that way- which is totally my own personal opinion. I like to ask questions and have a teacher that I can relate to. I can see why a lot of people would choose to do an online course because it’s a lot cheaper, A LOT… I have seen courses at 1/4 of the price I paid, which was $1800 USD [a slight discount since I registered in Chile]. Doing it online is a good way to go if you don’t have a time limit and are not in a rush, as you can take it at your own pace. I thought, Well since I’m in the country and have been to a fantastic institute, why not take the opportunity! Honestly, any English teaching certificate you have will largely increase your opportunity of gaining employment.

You meet awesome people when you do a TEFL course in person (as opposed to an online TEFL course), and if you are new to a country, that is very important (well at least to me). My course was small; there were only 3 trainees so we were able to have a lot of talking time, ask questions and really get to know each other– and I was lucky enough to have fantastic fellow trainees. We were all glad that we were not part of a huge group because it is a lot harder and the failure/drop out rate increases with the number of students in the class… imagine trying to have one-on-one time or have the opportunity to ask questions when there are 12 other people wanting to ask questions, too… nightmare!

Now that I’ve been teaching in Chile for over a year, I look back on my TEFL course and realize how extremely valuable it was to start my career as an English teacher, from getting the real class experience, feedback and having an amazing mentor, to forming friendships with the women who I studied with – They are both still my best friends here in Chile and we’ve been able to consult with each other when we had teaching or grammar-based questions (just a little more personal than looking it up on google).

Chao for now, Jessica.

To learn more about teaching abroad in Chile, download a country guide here, or contact an advisor today!

Jennifer is from Tampa, Florida, where she earned bachelor’s degrees in both English and psychology. After a short career in social work, she gave in to wanderlust, got TEFL-certified, and moved abroad to teach English. She has taught students of all ages at language centers in Costa Rica, Morocco, and Spain.