As many of you may know, I moved abroad in January of 2017 to teach English. Moving abroad was the most satisfying, yet terrifying decision I have ever made. After studying abroad, I knew with every fiber of my being that I was meant to live in Berlin. Don’t ask me how I just knew. This post is dedicated to explaining how I did just that, how freelancing works in Germany and answering common questions I receive.
Let’s start with an overview of how I managed to move abroad alone. The first step I took was setting up a meeting with the study abroad office at my university in Minnesota. We talked about various masters programs, internships, and teaching opportunities that I could indulge in. I decided that I wanted to get my masters and my adviser helped me with the whole process. In the end, that (clearly) that didn’t work out.
I didn’t want to go back to school because I had already been in school for 16 years, so I decided teaching English would be a good alternative. My adviser gave me some resources to find teaching certificate programs and I did some independent research as well. I landed on International TEFL Academy’s website and loved what I saw. There were so many testimonials from teachers all over the world loving their jobs. After requesting further information, I decided this was the route I wanted to take. This decision changed my whole transition abroad. ITA changed my life in the best way possible. For starters, their teaching certificate is highly accredited by the Training Qualifications UK, or better known as TQUK. TQUK is regulated by Ofqual, which is the British government body responsible for maintaining educational standards in the UK. Long story short, a teaching certificate from ITA holds accreditation from the British government for quality assurance and professional training. An in-depth explanation of ITA’s accreditation can be found at ITA Accreditation
Throughout my job search process, employers would commonly ask me if I was TEFL certified. So, it’s safe to say that an ITA TEFL certification is a stepping stone to landing a teaching job abroad.
Besides my three month online TEFL course, I applied to various language schools that I found on ITA’s resource guide and google. I had a plethora of interviews during my first month in Germany and decided to work for Lingua Franca. The one part that delayed me beginning to work, was my freelance visa, which I’ll touch base on next.
Besides ITA’s incredible accreditation, they are also an amazing company with wonderful staff. I was their Berlin ambassador for six months, which really helped me realized how much I loved living and teaching abroad.
Obtaining a freelancing visa is a topic that stirs up quite a bit of emotion for me. From extreme anxiety to overwhelming joy. All in all, with the help of Speakeasy Language Academy, obtaining my freelance visa was a cake walk. I quite honestly don’t think it would have been as simple without their help. Actually, I know for a fact it wouldn’t have been as simple. SLA has all the tools to help Americans transitioning to Germany obtain their freelance visa. There are a handful of documents one needs, (good old Germany bureaucracy) that are all explained by the lovely team at SLA. If you would like their contact information, let me know below! One useful thing to know about the Ausländerbehörde, (foreigners office) is that you can go there at the crack of dawn if you don’t have an appointment, and wait in line. I went at 4am, got in at 7am, and left around 9am. It was a very long day, but definitely worth it. Many people take this route because if you don’t schedule an appointment early enough, you can expect a two month waiting period.
The one tricky thing to keep in mind with freelancing is that taxes aren’t taken out for you, we have to do that on our own. Some might already know this, but it was a complete surprise for me. Freelancing is different depending on what profession you’re in, so if anyone has specific questions about English freelancing in Berlin, let me know!
These are the questions I’m frequently asked about Germany and moving abroad.
- How much money did you save? $2,500
- Did you have a job before moving? No, found one after arriving.
- Did you have a flat before moving? No, found one after arriving.
- Was it hard finding a job? Not at all thanks to my TEFL certificate.
- How did you find a job? ITA’S job search guide and google.
- Did you have a culture shock? Yes! I have a YouTube video explaining this. Cultural Differences, click the link to watch!
- Did you know anyone before arriving? Nope!
- Was it hard to meet people? Somewhat, yes.
- Do you miss the states? I didn’t until the holidays.
- Why Germany? I’ve always been interested in different cultures than my own and studying abroad solidified that. I knew from the moment I arrived in Berlin that this was going to be my new home. And I haven’t regretted the decision ever since. 🙂
Any other questions? Please don’t hesitate to ask – I loveeeee talking.
Thanks for reading! Here are some cool pictures of me living abroad.