The Oxford TEFL Blog

Graduate stories: Ciaran Maher

Ciarán Maher took the four-week intensive Trinity CertTESOL course in Barcelona in August 2016. In this blog post he explains why he came to Barcelona to take the course and how the city has already got a hold on him.

TEFL course graduate

Ciaran (in green) with friends of the course

My name is Ciarán, I am 21 years old and from Ireland. I finished university in May of this year, with not a lot of money to my name and a bit of a travel bug. The previous year I had worked at an English language summer camp in Murcia in Southern Spain, mainly motivated by wanting to get out of Ireland for the summer. This year I managed to secure a job working at another summer camp, this time in the Basque Country, but I knew that this four week job couldn’t sustain me in the long run. I had previously researched TEFL courses and it was at the back of my mind to do one once finished in the Basque Country. So at the end of July I decided to make the short trek from Bilbao to Barcelona. I felt that the Catalan capital could offer so much, from its beaches and nightlife to its culture and diversity.  Fortunately this proved to be true and I haven´t doubted my decision to come here for a second.

The course itself was recommended to me in July by a friend who was actually in the middle of doing the course himself at the time. This endorsement was probably the decisive factor in choosing Oxford TEFL because my friend could speak from first-hand experience. My own experience at the school was an unforgettable one. Everyone came from such a diverse background in terms of age, prior teaching experience and nationalities. As strange as it might sound I think this led to a much more wholesome month for all of us. Rather than students closing themselves off, they actively tried to help each other. My four weeks at Oxford TEFL was a fantastic opportunity not just for providing me with the skills and training needed to succeed as an English teacher, but also for having the opportunity to meet and socialize with such a wonderful group of people. I came here thinking I would get to learn about Catalan culture but actually I have also had the pleasure of learning about cultures from around the world thanks to the people at Oxford TEFL. One aspect in particular I am very grateful for was the ‘Unknown language’ sessions and project work during the course, as we had the opportunity to learn Welsh which was of particular interest to me because of the similarities between the Welsh language and Irish.

TEFL training Barcelona

Unknown language session with tutor Ollie

Now my plan is to stay in Barcelona. I have enjoyed every minute of it and still feel it has so much more to offer. The uniqueness of being both an important place for Catalan culture and still being a big international city sets Barcelona apart from others. I was fortunate enough to arrive around the time that the city’s districts were having street festivals, something that just doesn’t happen where I´m from. I’m writing this on the day that I’ll be going to a Champions League match in the Camp Nou, something I didn’t think I’d be saying when I left Ireland a few months ago. Barcelona has quite simply been a great experience and one that I’m not ready to stop.

Would you like to study or live in Barcelona? Get qualified to teach English in only four weeks with our Trinity CertTESOL course and take advantage of our free lifelong careers service. For more information visit this page, get in touch or apply here.

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