At the English Teacher Training College, we are a team of teachers. We come from all over the world, including the United States, Scotland, England, Ireland, and Australia. We are all here because of our common interest in helping children learn English – and our passion for living abroad – but what makes this place so special?
Why Do We Love Teaching in Austria?
(And Why You Should Too!)
1. The Children
Don’t get us wrong, we work hard. Working for a non-profit always means that our work is never finished, and we don’t always have the time or resources to accomplish everything to which we aspire. Interns and permanent staff members are consistently putting in extra time to execute the mission in which we believe so deeply. Why do we do this? At the end of the day, it’s all for the children. Austrian schoolchildren, and the international students in Austrian classrooms that we’ve had the pleasure of teaching, are great students who love learning English. Many of them develop a respect and appreciation for their Native Speaker English Teachers during English Project Week – their kind words, thoughtful drawings, and big smiles humble and delight us at the end of each and every project week. Their joy is contagious, and our ABCi bag of tricks – including English games, drama workshops, sports and songs – are always sure to elicit giggles and excitement in our pupils. For those of us who are experienced teachers, we recognize and appreciate a great bunch of youngsters when we see them. For others, with less experience teaching young learners, we are grateful for the opportunity to teach such well-behaved, respectful, and tolerant children. Each week, in each school we visit, we inevitably meet with surprises. In my short time with the organization, I’ve seen rainbow lion-peacocks, talented and dazzling dabbers, and hilarious political parodies that could compete with the likes of famous late-night comedians. What will the kids have in store for us this week? Whatever it is, it’s sure to fill us with an inspiring awe of future generations.
2. The Culture
From Krampus to Christkindlmärkte, Austrian culture offers us an interesting experience on every corner, and at every time of year. Those of us who live in Gmunden, a beautiful lake district on the outskirts of the Austrian Alps and not far from our ABCi Vorchdorf campus, relish the beauty of the small lake town in winter and summer alike. Austrian lake culture is not to be missed and in Gmunden, we enjoy lazy summer days full of ice cream, swimming, and boat rides on the famous Traunsee. Nearby mountains call to be climbed, and friends – in the form of friendly locals – are everywhere to be found. Even the nightlife in Gmunden offers people of all ages and backgrounds an opportunity to come together and bond over a nice warm mug of Gluhwein.
Other staff members live in bigger cities, including Linz, Vienna, and Graz. There we enjoy the many cultural initiatives that Austria strives to protect and promote. Linz for example, enjoys a thriving arts scene, with shows, festivals, and other unique cultural events offered each day. Wandering around the city, one naturally stumbles upon an artist collective pop-up shop; an art and design market; a cinema with foreign language films or even live circus events as they encircle the city (check out the Pflasterspektakel). On the other hand, it’s no secret that Vienna is the place to be for expats of all nationalities. The events and sightseeing destinations there are famous the world over.
3. The Countryside
Many of us left the big cities of our previous residences, such as London, Budapest, and Dublin, to enjoy the peaceful countryside of rural Austria. And while a few of us still live the urban life, we enjoy our commute into the forest each day, or through the countryside to Austrian schools, as a chance to experience the unique tranquillity that only these famous hills have to offer. Each morning, on our drive to schools and back, we watch as the colours of the leaves change from green to bright orange to brown; as the tall forest of uniform trees braves the icy winter cold; as the freezing temperatures subside and spring emerges like a clear, crisp creek flowing through mountain crevices. We enjoy finding our place, and in some cases even our home, in the wonderful and ever changing landscape that is so unique to Austria.
4. The People
As travellers, we know that family is not necessarily that group of people into which you were born, but the friends you make along your journey. In our journey, which for most of us involves travelling the world teaching English, we’ve made fabulous and unlikely friends, grown close to incredibly talented colleagues, and met hospitality in almost every corner we’ve visited. So yes, we love Austria for the open-mindedness of the people we encounter here, for the friendships we’ve made, for the beautiful strangers we’ve come across, and for their generosity and kindness. Without all of you, we couldn’t keep doing what we do.
In honour of this holiday season, we’re sending a big thank you to all the ABCi supporters for helping to make our teaching experience in Austria one that we will never forget! We’re looking forward to working with you for many more seasons to come.
If you know a Native English Speaker who might enjoy teaching English in Austria, find out more about our unique charity outreach and teacher training program here.
Written by Chelsea Workman, Marketing, Sales and Promotions Intern