Having completed a degree in English and Irish and a Masters in Translation I thought to myself “What next?” The recession in Ireland was only deepening, so employment prospects there weren’t exactly great. As stereotypical as it sounds, I wanted to ‘travel’, but not just for the sake of it. That’s why I decided to look into doing a TEFL course. I’d spent the year of my MA teaching undergraduate students in university and I’d really enjoyed it.

So, after lots of research, I booked a 150-hour Certificate in Teaching English with i-to-i. I knew this was only one of many different TEFL qualifications, but it was the one that suited my needs the most. The majority of the course was delivered online which allowed me to move at my own pace because I was studying for a diploma in legal translation at the time as well. I was pleasantly surprised at how much I learned from this predominantly Online TEFL course though, and I enjoyed it so much I knew I wanted a job in that industry.

What drew me to Spain though? Well, I’d come on holidays here as a child with my family, my cousin got married here a few years ago and it’s a beautiful country which has always interested me. I’d studied Spanish for my Junior Cert at home but chose to continue studying French to Leaving Cert level because I preferred the teacher (that’s how you make these decisions at the tender age of 14 in fairness to me)! I knew I wanted to stay in Europe too, as staying here would give me the opportunity to learn another European language. What really sealed the deal though was my weekend practical TEFL course coordinator. He had been an English teacher in Spain for 10 years and he really sold it to me. He also gave me information about how to find a job in Spain, and so hours of trawling through TEFL.com began!

Mistakenly, I’d decided that I didn’t want to leave Ireland until I had secured a job abroad, so every time I opened the advert for the Spainwise Jobs Fair I would close it again almost instantly, not even considering it. Then my Dad talked some sense into me: “You have to speculate to accumulate!” He was right and I knew it. Cheap Ryanair flights booked, CV uploaded to the Spainwise website and three weeks later I found myself in Córdoba attending the fair. Best. Decision. EVER.

There are lots of advantages to attending the fair. Firstly, it presents the opportunity for potential employers to meet you face-to-face before offering you that all-important contract. More importantly, however, it gives you the chance to meet your potential future employer before accepting the aforementioned contract!

I arrived at the jobs fair jobless and left having secured two jobs – one in a summer camp called TECS and the other with Blue Door language academy in Córdoba itself (after a follow-up interview a few days later). Clearly, my experience was nothing but positive, and I was delighted to have met the majority of staff with whom I would be working the following year and seen the city that I now call home – Córdoba.

A word of advice though, this is a challenging, demanding job and I’d recommend working in a summer camp before you commit to a year-round contract in an academy. My summer experience in TECS proved invaluable, and I really felt confident in my abilities starting in Blue Door, despite the fact they offer very different things. TECS is a summer camp for Spanish children, whereas Blue Door is a Cambridge and Trinity exam centre. This is a double-edged sword because while the job is very demanding it also means the vast majority of your students will be focused and motivated to pass their exams.

Blue Door has been great. From our week of intensive training, to the facilities in each classroom, to the assistance with paperwork and the support we received when looking for accommodation, they have done everything in their power to make moving to a foreign country a comfortable and positive experience. Let the good times continue! For anyone thinking about making the move to Spain, what are you waiting for?