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  • The worst ELT interview questions… and how to answer them March 12, 2012
    Some friends of Naturegirl123 were talking about interview questions that they got. Here are some difficult ones to answer and suggested answers. What religion are you?/ Are you X religion? This could be a legit question if you’re applying to a religious school. If you have the same religion as the school, simply say […]
  • Invoice factoring as a way of financing your language school March 12, 2012
    You’re looking into alternative ways to keep the finances in order in your burgeoning language school. Why not consider invoice factoring? Please don’t think of invoice factoring as a loan because it’s actually something quite different to that: it is more correctly defined as the acquisition of a financial asset. What does that mean? […]
  • Language Classes… Heat Up Careers! March 9, 2012
    Whether you love the snow or can’t wait until the warmer days of spring, this is a time of year when we all start to get a little stir-crazy, suggests Charlotte Evans. Winter was fun back in December but now the cold temperatures and extra layers of clothing are starting to feel a bit […]
  • Learning and Communicative Strategies March 6, 2012
    Introduction Communicative strategies are systematic techniques employed by a speaker to express his meaning when faced with some difficulty and the difficulty here refers to the speaker’s inadequate command of the language used in the interaction (Faerch & Kasper, 1983:16). On the other hand, the term learning strategies has been defined as “the higher- […]
  • Optimizing Computer-Assisted Language Learning (CALL) March 6, 2012
    Technology transforms virtually all human pursuits, notes Michael G. Hines. In the field of education, the use of audiovisual aids, computers, and telecommunication devices has radically altered classroom dynamics. For ESL and TFL practitioners, the possibilities being opened up by technology are highly promising, with the currently accepted practices alread […]
  • Selling textbooks after you’ve finished using them? Here’s some advice February 28, 2012
    These days, being a student is in many ways more demanding than ever. In other ways, though, those attending university have never had it better. The advent of the internet has brought a wealth of information to the modern learner’s fingertips. The advent of sites like Wikipedia has made conducting research and building up […]
  • Want to employ the best teachers? Test them! February 22, 2012
    Are you looking for new teachers? Make sure you do into the process with a clear strategy for how you ensure you end up with the best candidate. Employee assessment tests are extremely important in enabling you as a recruiter of teachers to be able to make measured and well-informed decisions about the type […]
  • Online learning: Do you have the right personality? February 13, 2012
    Research has shown that online learning is better suited to people who are verbally oriented, rather than those who have visual or kinesthetic skills. For this reason, notes Jonathan Ginsburg, whether or not a student is successful in an e-learning course can depend considerably on their personality and their learning type. Before taking an […]
  • Alternative careers: Operations management February 13, 2012
    Tired of the hoi polloi of everyday life as a language teacher? Why not train to become an operations manager instead? An mba in healthcare management is an absolutely indispensable industry qualification which enables those who take it to hone their decision making abilities. The importance of a healthcare mba In today’s bloodthirsty world, […]
  • Can we use dreams to teach English? January 11, 2012
    Dogme ELT is rooted in the experiences of the learner and what they bring with them to the classroom. Our unconscious mind regularly sends us communication in the form of dreams: it is an advantage to understand the meaning of these messages. As our subconscious sends us only constructive information about our existence, it […]

Living in a Foreign Country

June on the TEFL Times has been set aside for a series of articles from Sharon K Couzens de Hinojosa, the creator and writer for TEFL Tips.

Being a tourist is one thing, but making the move to a foreign country can be daunting. Here are some tips to help make the move easier.


● Try to learn a bit about the country’s history, culture, people and language before you go.
● Make the most of your experience. Try different foods, go dancing and visit other cities.
● Interact with the locals and try to make friends.
● Go to festivals and local events.
● Compliment the food and culture.
● Take photos to remember your experience.
● Visit some of the local tourist attractions.
● Try to pick up a bit of the local language. People appreciate it when you make an effort to learn about their culture.
● Keep an open mind about differences between your culture and theirs.
● Visit local markets and artisan shops. Try out your bargaining skills in the local language. Both you and they will enjoy it.
● Try to blend in clothing-wise. If everyone else wears pants in the summer, there’s no reason why you should wear shorts.
● Be respectful to the culture. If you have to cover your shoulders in order to enter a church, do so. If alcohol is forbidden during a specific time, you shouldn’t be drinking.
● Learn to use the local transport system. Taking taxis is usually more dangerous than local transport, plus it’s a lot cheap.
● Learn the value of local goods in the local currency. You shouldn’t have to keep converting from the local currency to yours in order to figure out if something is cheap or expensive.


● Bring your stereotypes with you. Asians are necessarily short, some Latin Americans are blonde haired with blue eyes. And many people DO understand English, so don’t make negative comments.
● Think that your culture is superior. Cultures are different. One isn’t better than the other.
● Be an ugly tourist. Everyone’s seen tourists in their area and how badly they stick out with their shorts, tank tops, flip-flops, hats, sunglasses, guide books, and cameras. Don’t make the same mistake they do.
● Carry valuables when you go out. Take only the money you need and don’t flaunt your wealth.
● Comment on how cheap or expensive things are compared to your country. You’re in their country now, so you have to think about their prices, not yours.
● Speak English loudly and overuse gestures. Lots of people around the world understand English, you just may have to simplify your vocabulary a bit, but don’t talk to them as if they were stupid.

About the author

Sharon K Couzens de Hinojosa is the creator and writer for TEFL Tips, The LA Job List, and The Ultimate Peru List. She enjoys answering people’s questions about TEFLing and Peru.

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