The Oxford TEFL Blog

Prague Graduate Interview: Cara Gaynor

Who is the bubbly girl who appears in the recent video of Oxford TEFL Prague? And what a natural on camera! Actually, Cara Gaynor is a 2014 graduate of the Trinity Cert. TESOL course at Oxford TEFL in Prague. And she was the first person we thought of as the face our video and she is great!

Cara is 24 years old and grew up in New York state, about an hour outside the city. She graduated in 2013 from Colby College in Maine with a degree in International Studies and French. After working for a year in her hometown, she decided she needed a change of scenery – and here she is!

What made you decide to come to Prague to study the Trinity Cert. TESOL course at Oxford TEFL?

I’d always had a passion for languages and cultural exchange, but after university I was still unsure of what type of career I wanted to pursue. I decided to take a year to explore a new place, find out a bit more about myself, and get to know English in a way I never had before! I wanted to get a certification that would be recognized no matter where I went afterwards, so Trinity seemed to be the way to go. Prague always seemed intriguing to me as well, so it didn’t take much thought to make up my mind about coming here.

What do you think you would be doing now if you hadn’t started taken the course?

Yikes!  I’d probably still be living in my hometown, or maybe NYC, working full-time and still daydreaming about what it would be like to live in Europe.

What do/did you like most about Prague?

I love the size. It’s big enough that there’s always something new to do at the weekend— a new cafe, a new club, a new park— but it’s small enough that I know my way around pretty much everywhere and I bump into students quite a lot!  As time goes by you discover more and more hidden places that really make the city feel like it’s yours.

What can you do on the weekend in Prague?

Pretty much anything!  Now that it’s summer I spend a lot of time outdoors at cafes soaking up the sun, but you can also go for a walk in the park, go to the pool, the farmers’ market, the zoo, the clubs, the mall…There are a ton of festivals too. Film, beer, burgers, live music, etc. you name it, there’s a festival for it. Lately I’ve been discovering places around Prague as well. Students always have great recommendations of small towns to visit on a day trip so that’s nice if you need a break from the city.

What do you believe is the most challenging thing about the Trinity Cert. TESOL course?

For me it was learning how to teach. I’ve always been an avid language learner, but never a teacher, so it was completely new for me to try that role and figure out how to structure a lesson, what kind of support to give, and things like that. I’m quite a shy person so it was a challenge for my confidence to stand up in front of a room of people, but the students were so incredibly nice that I got over that really quickly. I can’t say enough great things about the students— they totally put me at ease.

What do you think is the most rewarding thing about the course?

The most rewarding thing is the same as the most challenging— the level of confidence I gained through teaching. I don’t think I’ll ever be scared to stand up in front of a room full of people I don’t know again. That’s something that will help me no matter what I do in the future. I’ve also met a ton of awesome students that are so knowledgeable about so many different things— actually, I’ve learned a lot about British culture thanks to them!

If you could give one piece of advice to someone who is thinking about studying TEFL abroad, what would it be?

Don’t worry too much about your long-term plans. Finding a job isn’t as difficult as you think, and if you aren’t sure where you want to go after the course, you’ll have time to figure it out. There will be other people in the same boat, too. A lot of people I know have changed their plans a bunch in the last year, whether to leave Prague, stay in Prague longer, go home and then come back, etc. You’ll get great visa support through Oxford TEFL too, so that process is almost totally stress-free.

What has been your biggest accomplishment as a teacher since you graduated?

I think any time a student tells me at the end of the course that they really enjoyed it, or they’ll sign up for a course again as long as I’m the teacher, I feel accomplished. It’s great knowing the students are getting something out of the course. One of my classes last year decorated a T-shirt that they all signed, which was the sweetest thing ever. The relationships you can form with students in just one month is amazing.

When you are not teaching, what do you like doing?

When I’m not teaching I’m usually in a cafe or sitting outside reading, but I also like discovering new places in and out of Prague. It’s my goal to become familiar with every tram and metro line in the city. I’m not there quite yet, but I’m getting there.

What is on the horizon for you? What are you going to do now?

I’ll probably be heading back to New York in the fall, and I might not keep teaching but I’m going to look for jobs which will allow me to continue to interact with people from around the world since that’s my favorite thing about what I do here. I’m definitely going back more aware of myself and what I want, which is exactly what I was hoping for when I came here. Who knows how long I’ll be in one place though— I might always come back! You never know…

If you would like to find out more about why Prague is so special and why you should take a TEFL course there, watch this video.

For more information about the Trinity Cert. TESOL course click here or contact us.

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