Marie Hils

Teach Enrich Empower

Discovering and Living in Chile

My name is Marie and I am 22 years old. I had a dream of living abroad after graduating from college, and with the help of The TEFL Academy, that’s exactly what I’m doing!

I graduated with a degree in early childhood education, but teaching young children the basics of mathematics is VERY different from teaching teenagers to speak another language. My friend who had moved to Brazil to teach recommended The TEFL Academy to me, and when I looked into the course offerings I understood why. With the course being entirely online and self-paced, I was able to complete it whenever I found free time between moving all my belongings to a different state, traveling to visit friends, and working a part-time job to save up money.

I wanted to improve my Spanish, so I applied to be a volunteer English teacher in Chile with the English Opens Doors Program. We received a bit of practice lesson-teaching upon arrival, but I could already tell that my understanding of the mechanics of teaching English was at a much higher level than some of my peers who did not have the training I received through The TEFL Academy.

“There is so much beauty around you. Go explore it!”

I now teach English speaking and listening to Chilean public school students ages 9 to 15. I work together with local teachers who focus on English reading and writing. Most at my school have never met someone from another country, so working with a native English speaker is both exciting and intimidating. Chilean children have a lot of energy and I’ve had to be creative with ways to keep my students practicing English while also keeping them engaged, introducing activities like a clothing race to dress a teammate for appropriate weather while practicing vocabulary related with seasons and weather.

I live in the central-south of Chile, near a small city called Chillán. I have felt so welcomed by the local community. Chileans are generous, thoughtful people who are always ready for a good laugh. My favorite part of my time in Chile so far was during the month of September, for Fiestas Patrias, Chile’s independence day. I learned how to dance cueca, the national dance of Chile, and ate a lifetime’s worth of grilled food at asados.

I have also traveled to the big cities of Santiago, Valparaiso, Concepcion. I’ve climbed mountains, bathed in hot springs, visited volcanoes, and relaxed at the beach. No matter where you are in the entire length of Chile, you ́re never more than a bus ride from any of these natural wonders.I would not have had the confidence to try teaching English if I hadn’t found the TEFL Academy course before I made the big move abroad. Since then, I have definitely improved in my abilities to write lesson plans and gauge what a certain group of students needs to succeed. There is so much beauty in immersing yourself in another culture and living in a new community. I cannot recommend it enough!

My advice:

-Be flexible! Things will not go as you expect, and that’s okay.

-Make friends with local people, even if they’re not your age.

-Take all the pictures.

-Learn about local traditions and participate when you can.

-Try all the food. Even if it seems weird at first.

-There is so much beauty around you. Go explore it!

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