But why take my word for it? I work here, right? Of course I’m going to spoon-feed you rainbows and sunshine and glitter-covered unicorns! Touche.
Instead, meet Emma Swadley! She is a recent graduate of the IDELT program with BridgeChile, and was immediately hired upon graduation by our English center in Santiago! She has kindly shared with us her thoughts on the IDELT program, her new job, and life in Chile:
Tell me a little bit about your background.
I graduated from Northern Michigan University with a BA in International Studies. I have always had a desire to see the world and learn about new cultures, and in my junior year of college I participated in a study abroad program in Barcelona, Spain.
What originally drew you to teaching English abroad? Why Chile?
After my study abroad, I wanted to continue experiencing new places and cultures. I started researching TEFL and the different available programs, and I realized this is what I wanted to do. Why Chile? I was interested in the people, landscape, culture, and history, but I was also looking into teaching other places as well. Chile has a stable and growing economy and so there are many opportunities to teach English in the business sector. I chose Chile for many reasons, and it was a great choice.
Tell me about your experiences during the IDELT program? Was it what you expected?
I had a great experience in the IDELT program. It was a challenging course, but well worth it. I gained many skills and characteristics of a good teacher, and felt prepared to lead a classroom. This program is organized, and it covers many aspects of the TEFL field. It prepares you for any direction you may choose to take your IDELT certificate.
What did you find the most beneficial part of the IDELT program to be for you?
The most beneficial part of IDELT was the teaching practice. I received 7 hours of real teaching experience, as well as peer and trainer observations of those lessons. This was the most valuable thing for me in the program. It gave me the necessary practice and confidence to leave the program ready to teach my first ESL class.
Now you are teaching at BridgeChile! Is it what you expected? What is the best part of your job?
BridgeChile has a great reputation here in Santiago as a professional and organized institute. The best part of my job is seeing progress in the classroom. My students are business professionals and it is rewarding to watch them learn and improve their English.
As a new EFL teacher, do you feel that the training you received in the IDELT program has helped you?
Before teaching my first class at Bridge, I was nervous but also ready and well prepared. I owe a lot of that to the extensive lesson planning we did throughout the IDELT course.
Having become a teacher with Bridge, do you feel that the staff in Chile was helpful getting you all set up for a more permanent stay?
BridgeChile works with you throughout the work visa process, and I know it would have been extremely complicated and tiring to do this without their guidance.
What has it been in like living in Chile? Did you experience culture shock or just snuggle right in?
My experience has been great so far living in Chile. I don’t think one could ever ‘just snuggle right in’ when moving abroad, but there was no excessive culture shock either. Some days are better than others, but life is more interesting with a bit of a challenge.
What is your favorite/most memorable experience you have had thus far in Chile?
I have really enjoyed making friends here in Santiago. Most of the time, the people are friendly and want to have a good conversation. Getting to know people and making lasting friendships are essential to living abroad, without good friends your experiences are not as memorable.
Intrigued? Read more of what our teachers have to say about teaching in Chile.
This post was written by Kaye McDaniel.