Should I Teach English in the Country or City?
Should you set your sights on Budapest, Prague, Krakow, Warsaw, or Bratislava, or aim for an off-the-beaten-track town in southern Bohemia, the great plains of Eastern Hungary, or the Carpathian mountains that form the border between Poland and Slovakia?
Will the teaching experience be the same no matter which you choose?
Here are some hints from an American woman who taught English and worked for a volunteer organization:
“The availability of teaching jobs is dependent upon the economy. Consequently, the larger cities generally have higher-paying jobs, but the cost of living is higher, too. Within the smaller cities and rural towns, it is necessary to create your own possibilities by convincing a local school or college headmaster to take you on as the local native speaker.”
Living in the less-populated areas will afford you a slower-paced lifestyle.
It does not mean, though, that life will be easier. While the cost of living may be lower, you will often have greater demands made on your time because you are teaching, performing other school duties, and acting as the local foreign ambassador.
Schools in rural towns and smaller cities often have less money to pay their teachers, so you may find yourself accepting a combination of cash and room and board as compensation for your efforts.
Because larger cities like Prague and Budapest attract the bulk of the expat communities, you often won’t see one of your compatriots for several days or even weeks. In some places, you will be the only foreigner for miles around. Though this may be an expedient way of immersing yourself in the local culture and language, you must be willing and able to handle all the trappings of isolation. Remember that the larger cities are never really that far away. You might be able to find a perfect balance between rural responsibilities and big-city anonymity if you choose a smaller town that is only a few hours’ train ride from a major metropolis.