Posted by MsChristmas
on 21 Jun 2016
Hi Please may I ask for some advice? I have always wanted to live abroad, mainly to absorb another culture and learn another language. I am a qualified solicitor and specialised in family and criminal law. I have also volunteered for various charities such as Citizen's Advice Bureau and Woman's Refuge. I will be studying the CELTA course in Valencia to qualify as an English Teacher, to build on my existing skills. I have just turned 50 and my children are all off hand. I intend to rent my house out whilst I am abroad. I am financially independent. I wanted to do something useful whilst I am living in Spain (Valencia) not necessarily paid work but some sort of voluntary work that would mean that I would meet other people and make friends. I guess I just a bit worried that I will arrive in Valencia and not know anyone, especially as I am doing this very much on my own. I was wondering if anyone could give me some advice, ideas or information what I should be doing over the next year towards my move abroad? I understand that I would need to rent a place but I am not sure where to begin and I was hoping that someone could help me with that please? I want make friends both expats and local people and I was hoping that someone could give me some advice or information? I am intending to learn Spanish before I go and have enrolled on a Spanish course but I do speak a little Spanish and have been practicing everyday. What should I be doing to prepare for this big adventure? I am currently doing my house up to rent it out in June 2017 and am looking to do the Celta course around July 2017. Any tips, advice, information anything would be most welcome. Kind regards Patricia
AlexL on 22 Jun 2016
Hi Patricia

We have a small guide dedicated to Valencia, which features some useful information about the city as a whole.

Additionally, we have some interviews with expats who are living in Valencia, like Billie and Rachel, who both teach English and Zach, an American expat. These can provide some insight into what life in Valencia is like, and answer your questions about meeting people and making friends. It seems that learning a bit of Spanish can definitely help with this process. There are also many Meetup and Facebook groups that can help you meet people. 

We also have an article written by an expat about volunteering abroad. The website Do-it is can be useful in this regard. 

We have an article dedicated to what you need to plan for prior to your move, which you might find useful in your preparations, as well as another article that covers other factors to consider.  

With regards to doing CELTA, alternatively you could do a TEFL course, both are widely accepted, and the TEFL is less intensive. However the CELTA course might guarantee a better job offer. Is there a reason you have decided on doing the CELTA?

Kind regards,
Alex


Anonymous (not verified) on 22 Jun 2016
Hello Alex Thank you very much for taking the time to respond to my question and for the wealth of information. I opted for doing the CELTA because I wanted to make sure that I would be more of an attractive prospective because of my age. I would be delighted if I could work in Valencia but I do understand that my age is very much against me so I thought volunteering would be a better option. If you TEFL is the way to go then I would consider it. Can you recommend any good schools in Valencia that teach the CELTA course please? Thank you very much for your help and advice. Warm regards Patricia
AlexL on 23 Jun 2016
Hi Patricia

I found an article for you that explains the differences between CELTA and TEFL. Perhaps as a suggestion, you could begin the course online now, as you said you are only planning on relocating next year. However, if you are interested in doing the course when you move to Spain, here are some CELTA courses in Valencia:

http://celtavalencia.com/
http://spainwise.net/celta/

Speaking from experience, I did a 120 hour TEFL course (most schools want at least 100 hours) with i-to-i, which consisted of 100 hours online work (assignments and tests) and 20 hours of practical (which was held over the weekend). In total it took me a month to complete. This enabled me to teach English in South Korea. However, when I was interested in teaching English at a language academy in South Africa, I was required to have the CELTA, as it's more extensive, and specifically for language schools. 

One thing to keep in mind with Spain is that people can teach there without a degree and just a TEFL/CELTA, so having a degree gives you an advantage already. 

Kind regards,
Alex