Bosnia and Herzegovina is not a typical TEFL destination so when we learned that Global English TESOL graduate Elizabeth lives and teaches there, we were intrigued to know more and had lots of questions about her experience:
1. Hi Elizabeth – what did you do before your TESOL course with us?
Before I did the TESOL course I was working as a youth worker in Mostar, Bosnia and Hercegovina. I did this for 5 years, teaching young people how to play the guitar using both English and local songs. I helped out in a local youth centre and assisted young people practice English conversation in an informal setting. I also helped students with their English schoolwork and university assignments.
2. How did you find your first job?
I got restless after doing it for 5 years and I was ready for a change. I was actually scouted to join a new business venture teaching English in this city. I went from working with 11-25 year olds to working with 4-11 year olds. My background in the UK was in childcare, I am a qualified NNEB Nursery Nurse and have worked in a variety of settings with various age groups so I was already equipped for this new challenge.
3. Your location is not a typical one for TEFLers – where are you and why there?
I am in Mostar because my family and I felt God's call on our lives to live here. We joined an organisation called Novi Most which does pioneering youth work here and are financially supported by our local church, family and friends in the UK. The civil war ravaged this city and its people and we are working with the next generation. We want to sow seeds of hope, love and that we can all play an important part in creating change in our country.
4. What is life like there?
Life here is like nothing on earth!!!! It is a very relaxed culture where sitting around in cafes and drinking coffee together is the norm. I love how inter-generational the city is with old and young roaming the streets night and day. I feel very safe travelling on my own through the city at night. The most challenging thing is learning the Croatian language. The worst thing is the smoking. You can smoke anywhere and the smell infiltrates in schools and hospitals!
5. What is the best bit about your EFL teaching – are there challenges?
I love teaching these young, bright students. It's very fulfilling when they understand how to use English correctly and get good marks on their tests. My class sizes have grown and I really have to be on my toes when it comes to discipline, being firm and fair.
I have no regrets spending over 6 years here. Our own children go to the local school and are bilingual. My journey was to come out through an organisation and now I work for a private school. Life is short - live it!
Thanks for sharing your journey, Elizabeth. We love hearing from our TESOL graduates all over the world.
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