Teach English in Prague with VisaForce
Are you ready to teach English in Prague with VisaForce? David Rankin, owner of VisaForce, shares his perspectives with us on living and teaching in the Czech Republic. His organization is dedicated to helping others get started on their own journey of teaching and traveling abroad.
In this post, we sat down with David Rankin, the owner of VisaForce
, to learn the ins and outs of teaching English in the Czech Republic. David shares his personal story of getting TEFL certified and moving abroad, the benefits of working in the Czech Republic and he even answers some common questions people have about getting started. His insider’s perspective will give you a glimpse of what it’s really like living and working in this picturesque European country. Keep reading to learn how you can teach English in Prague with VisaForce
Part I. The Journey
So, essentially I come from a blue collar town where I could never find the right fit of what I wanted to do or what my true calling was. I did all of the right things (mostly). Went to an amazing public school, started working at an early age, got accepted to college, etc…. However, it was very empty and while all of my close friends were pursuing these awesome careers doing all these really cool things, I never heard that booming voice from the sky instructing me to be a Chemical Engineer or Zoologist. I then found a job on Craigslist driving a truck which was pretty cool. I got to see most of the USA, had lots of adventures, decent pay, and no corporate nonsense. This lasted 6 years.
Suddenly in January of 2013, I was informed that my company had been sold. It was pretty depressing. In the middle of this, my mother informed me that the Pennsylvania treasury was unloading a bunch of unclaimed returns from it’s books and that I should call a number to see if I was entitled to anything. I did and BOOM! I had 3,000 USD coming my way. Now, the problem was what to do with this money. Vacation? Pay bills for a few months? New car? No idea.
Roughly a month later I was on my way into downtown Pittsburgh to interview for a job and I ran into my high school prom date. It was the first time we had seen each other in 10 years! We caught up and she told me she was teaching English as a second language in South Korea. I was floored by this profession. She lived in another country and was working as a teacher. It sounded soooo cool. I asked her if she went to school for it. She said “I took a course on how to teach ESL and that was my only requirement.”
I almost blew off the interview because I was so excited to get home and look up ESL schools and jobs. I hunted and searched for hours and after looking at all of these countries and courses I came across one in Czech Republic. They promised a free job (catnip to a blue collar worker) and a certification. I looked up The Czech Republic/Prague and was blown away by all of the beautiful shots of nature, castles, and scenery. It was like something out of a fairy tale. I looked up a TEFL course + a one-way flight to Prague from Pittsburgh….. $3,010. It was almost as if fate stepped in and took the wheel on this one. I bought the course, I bought the ticket, and 3 months later I crossed The Atlantic.
PART II. The Czech Republic
The Czech Republic is a really cool country if you are trying to jump overseas with the greatest possibility of success.
-From a working standpoint, finding a job is almost too easy as the demand for teachers dramatically outweighs the supply. The jobs range from being a proper school teacher of all ages, to a language school teacher working with adults and private students.
-Acquiring a visa is quite easy as well. You need to understand that with a lot of EU countries, you need a job before you get a visa. This is not the case with the Czech Republic as there is a visa “for the purpose of business” where essentially you declare you will be an independent contractor and your visa is awarded based on that.
-You do NOT need a college diploma to acquire a visa OR find a job. If you have a TEFL certificate, that is all many of the schools will need.
-If you are an American, you do not need to pass a criminal background check to be a teacher/get a visa. All you need to do is sign an affidavit from the US embassy stating that you have not committed any crimes related to your teaching position.
-There is a massive support network of foreigners who help each other find work and sort out life in Czech Republic. You also have VisaForce which is run by American expats who came to Prague to be teachers and created a community helping all expats acquire the tools for success teaching in Cz.
Living in the Czech Republic is an amazing experience. From fairytale castles to small village day trips, this country boasts a much more relaxed lifestyle. Plus the rest of Europe is on your doorstep and travel there is extremely accessible. It is a dream come true!
For perspective, we are (train) 2 hours from Germany/ Poland, 3 hours from Austria/ Slovakia, 6 hours from Italy/Switzerland/Slovenia, and 8 hours from Croatia/France/Belgium. If you want to fly we are 90 min from England/Ireland/Greece/Norway/Sweden and 2/3 hours from Spain/Portugal. With all transportation being VERY affordable. Essentially the entirety of Europe as at your fingertips with Prague as your social and economic home base.
PART III. FAQs
Q: “How much can I accomplish if I do not speak Czech?”
A: In the 10 years I have been in Cz, I have managed the following (mostly not being able to speak Czech)…
Getting a job as a High School teacher, getting a driver’s license, buying a car, getting married, buying properties in and out of Prague, starting multiple businesses, opening 2 bar/restaurants, taking 2 buses of students on field trips to the UK, going to doctors, dentists, chiropractors, and all medical needs. (On state insurance so no payments beyond monthly health insurance which is about $100)
Q: How much can I make as a teacher?
A: Well, this is about the same no matter where you go with relation to the economy. There are VERY few wealthy teachers. It is more for the reward than the yachts and fillet mignon. However, if you assert yourself and your abilities, you can innovate and run your business in such a way that large amounts of wealth CAN be generated. You have very little holding you back in this economy and you have a VERY marketable skill which is your own spoken language. Keep in mind, I came here with NO bank account and a plastic sandwich bag with about $2,000 in it and nothing else to my name. My wife and I just bought our 3rd property after 10 years of grass-roots work in education and migration assistance. A little bit of luck and a lot of work really paved the way for that. If you just take a job as a teacher no-more no-less, I would expect about $1300 on average which is plenty to get you by in the Czech Economy. It is VERY affordable here.
Q: How much do things cost in Cz/Prague?
A: If you are living on a US salary, this country is dirt-cheap. Just keep in mind once you switch to a Czech Salary, it is a little bit pricier. (Maybe not a restaurant every day).
Q: What is the healthcare system like?
A: If you are an American on a trade license or employed, you get a full ride on state insurance. This is the same insurance that the President has which covers everything that is considered medical (Dentistry gets a little weird in this category). However, you will always be taken care of with your health insurance card whether it covers broken bones, diseases, or childbirth. Not as shiny and polished as the American health system, but I guess you get what you pay for.
Q: What does it take to get a visa and how much will it cost?
A: The application for a Trade License visa is pretty cut and dry. The items needed are as follows:
- 2 passport photos
- A proof of Czech accommodation signed by the owner of the property
- A bank statement showing you have at least 150,000czk in your possession (roughly $6,300)
- A criminal Affidavit
- 200 euros for your application
- A Czech business address document signed by the owner of the property.
We help put this all together for you and troubleshoot any issues that may come up. As a corporate partner, our office charges 6,000czk per application ($250) there are a few other fees but all in all, everything should run you about $500-$700 for the full application. We try to make this as affordable as possible.
Q: Would you recommend moving to Cz?
A: As much as I have talked this country up to be the garden of Eden, I will offer up a cautious “Maybe”. This country changed my life in ways I can’t even explain. I personally synched up with Czech life and culture very easily and have a very laid back attitude. Where there bumpy patches? Absolutely. Culture shock? Without a doubt. Things I miss from the USA? Aside from my family, not much but there are things.
However, it is not for everyone. I have had over 2500 clients come to Cz and not all of them have had the romance I have had for this country. Everyone expects something different. If you are looking for a high salary, move to South Korea or Saudi Arabia. If you are looking for a massive modern city that hustles and flows, move to Shanghai or Tokyo. Prague is a beautiful smaller historic city that kind of picks and chooses which advancements it wants and it focuses on taking care of its residents. Some love it, some find it is not for them. For me, it was where my life began.
A big thanks to David for sharing these valuable insights into life and work in the Czech Republic. Are you ready to teach English in Prague with VisaForce? Click here to get started!