Travel & Teach - Croatia
Croatia is certainly one of the better prospects if you are heading towards the Balkans for your teaching. In 1997 there was significant post war instability, but the economy is presently being restructured and the current democratic system appears to be solidifying. The country still has some economic difficulties, with high unemployment in particular, but inflation is under control and English is a language once again in demand, in common with many other Eastern European countries. As with Ukraine, English is the ‘first’ foreign language and we are seeing the number of English language schools and institutes increasing rapidly.
Living conditions in the Croatia are not as good as in certain other Eastern European countries, such as Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic. However, if you are not motivated solely by money and are determined to teach here you can reap rewards in other ways. The country is culturally and historically diverse and interesting. Northern Croatia has a continental climate. Central, semi-mountainous and mountainous regions, as well as the entire Adriatic coast, have a Mediterranean climate. Spring and autumn are mild along the coast, while winter can be cold and snowy in central and northern regions.
Your prospective students are likely to be quite demanding in the classroom, respectful of education and highly motivated to learn English. We have heard mixed reports of availability of materials, so it is best to take some with you before you go. Authentic ‘realia’ such as magazine articles will be of great interest to your students and will not take up much room in your luggage.
For a look at Croatia, take a peek at Michael Palin’s New Europe - Croatia here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2PcF6inxz-A
British Council http://www.britishcouncil.org/
British Council in Croatia: http://www.britishcouncil.org/croatia.htm
Croatian Embassy UK: http://croatia.embassyhomepage.com/
Croatian Embassy USA: http://www.croatiaemb.org/
Croatian National Tourist Office: http://www.croatia.hr/home/
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Travel and Teach
Teaching positions are now beginning to be advertised outside the country, although only slowly. Interested teachers should try websites like www.tefl.com. Native English speakers with a TESOL certificate should not have a problem finding work, as there is a strong demand for private English language teaching. Indeed this is a country where demand currently exceeds supply and institutes have found difficulty in finding enough native speakers to fill all their positions. Therefore institutes recruit from both the local market and from overseas.
The situation regarding visas appears to be relatively straightforward in comparison with other Eastern European countries. British passport holders can enter the country on a tourist visas for up to 90 days. However to work legally an entry permit must be applied for in your own country before you travel and you will need to show details of your contract of employment at the Croatian Embassy (see Useful Contacts).
To obtain a work permit you need to be invited to work by one of the schools. Many schools that do advertise in the international press will offer to arrange visas prior to your arrival and this is the safest way to find work. However, it may be possible to pick up work once in the country and apply for the appropriate documentation while in situ. Still, to ensure you are going by the book, contact your country’s Croatian Embassy for the latest information. As Croatia is a non-EU country, there may be greater opportunities for teachers from non-EU countries, like the US and Canada or Australia.
Because the demand is growing, you may be able to secure work without a degree. However if you do hold appropriate qualifications (degree + TESOL qualification) your chances of success and securing a better rate of pay will be higher. Work contracts are common and usually set from 10 to 12 months, and it is possible to pick up private teaching work. It will be worthwhile making contact with the HUPE (Croatian Association of Teachers for English) after you arrive, as this has an international focus. As previously mentioned, pay is not great but should be sufficient for you to live on.
Naturally you will find there are greater opportunities in the country’s capital Zagreb, although opportunities are now being reported elsewhere in cities such as Dubrovnik, Varazdin and Karlovac. A Global English Level 2 TESOL qualification would certainly be advisable for prospective teachers, although this is not always necessary and you can pick up work on spec if you are adventurous enough. We would recommend at the very least you take a Global English Level 1 TESOL before you go. Try the local yellow pages or the British Council office in Zagreb, which should hold a list of the principle language schools in the country.
Most EFL salaries were previously paid in Deutschmarks although whether this will now change to the Euro is not known at the time of writing. In private language schools the average rate of pay appeared to be between DM 1,000 and DM 1,200, (€500 - €600) which can often be supplemented with private teaching. Although the cost of day to day living is low but we have heard that accommodation can expensive (around DM 400 or € 200 per month for a basic studio flat) and can be difficult to find, although your employer might be able to help you in locating somewhere to live.
When applying for EFL positions, it is generally advisable to send a passport-sized photograph along with a CV, covering letter and possibly copies of degree/TESOL certificates. You might find the guide to writing your CV on our site quite helpful here.