FAQ

Host families
Does SOL provide transport for students?
Families are responsible for the transfer of students to and from school. Those who live more than three miles from the school may be given financial support towards any petrol expenses.
Do students have free / organised programme in the evening?
Students spend evenings with their host families, who usually arrange their own programme for them. Students are not allowed to go out on their own without the leader teacher’s written permission.
Sometimes groups do ask for an evening programme (e.g. football, BBQ etc), Host families will be informed about this in advance.
Is there an organised programme for every day of the week?
Students have an organised programme each day Monday to Saturday (between 8.40am and 5.30pm). Sunday is a family day. Host families organise their own programme on this day (e.g. a beach visit, shopping, family party etc).
What type of food do the students generally like?
Most Eastern European countries have a main meal at lunchtime, so it’s unusual for them to have sandwiches. Our host families are asked to provide students with lunch boxes. These should consist of various items (e.g. two rolls, fruit, small chocolate bars and drinks). Evening meals should be cooked. Breakfast can consist of cereals, toast or bread.
Some students require a special diet (vegetarian, vegan or have food allergy). Families will be informed about any special requests well before the group arrives.

At the SOL Centre
Who is responsible for the students during daytime activities?
Our teachers take responsibility during the activity sessions. However we do ask accompanying teachers to be present or must be easy to contact in case of any emergencies. Throughout the excursions we do have English guides who are responsible for delivering an educational and successful trip, however the accompanying teachers will go with the students on trips and the welfare of the students is the teacher’s responsibility.
Who are the teachers?
SOL provides teachers, but we like the teachers accompanying the groups to be present at all times – many visiting teachers enjoy seeing their students at work with a native speaker, although many activities enable the visiting teachers to join in too. Our teachers have been carefully selected for their experience, qualifications, and their ability to deliver good practical interactive and professional lessons and activities.
How many students are in each group for these activities?
This depends on each individual group’s requirements but most are about 15 in size.
How many other students are at school?
It is possible we will have more than one group at any one time, however the programmes are different and each group tends to be separate to the other.
How long is the time spent when at The SOL Centre?
A standard course consists of 3 60 minute sessions per day (i.e. equivalent to 4 x 45 min)..

Teaching Abroad
Who is the contract with?
The contract is with the SCHOOL. If a State school you will be a State employee.
Is the salary enough to live on?
Yes, although in Romania getting some private teaching is probably necessary to make life comfortable.
What health insurance will be needed?
You will pay National Insurance so will be covered as a citizen of the country you work in as far as health care is concerned. However until you have your health there is a potentially vulnerable time, so if you are an EU citizen your European Health Card is essential. For non-EU teachers it would be worth extending your travel insurance for a month or so.
What will I have to pay for?
You will have to pay to get to the country, but should be met on arrival or from where the induction programme is held. You will also need some reserve money to stock up with as your first pay won’t be for several weeks (though many schools do help out informally, and we encourage this!). The school pays for all permits and registration requirements.
Do I need a TEFL or TESOL qualification?
If you have a teaching degree then it may not be essential, but teaching English as a foreign language does require a new perspective and even a short weekend course can be invaluable to help you do the job well. For other degrees, then a short course qualification is required. If you are thinking about taking this on as a career then it is possible to do a correspondence course whilst you are teaching. This is arguably the best and most appropriate way to take a further qualification.
What sort of TEFL or TESOL certificate do I need?
This is a difficult general question to answer. Evidence that you have some qualification as an EFL teacher is needed for your residence permit. Beyond that the type of course to take depends on your own situation, but as a minimum a 20 hour weekend course is needed. A longer course (100 or 120 hours) would be better if you do not have an English as Language or Teaching degree, but if you are only planning this year as a one-off that involves a considerable expense which may not be deemed worth it. For those looking for continuing in TESOL a good option is to take a distance learning course whilst you are teaching. You can combine the course and your teaching in a very effective way. Two places to enquire further: www.tefltraining.co.uk and www.via-lingua.hu
How long is the contract for?
The contract is for 12 months to the end August (11 to July in Slovakia) – includes holiday entitlement.
Could I extend my contract after one year?
Yes, as long as the school agrees, which is usually the case!
Can Americans join the programme?
Definitely, and any other nationality where the national language is English. In most schools the curriculum is based on British course books so this has to be taken into account. Strong accents, from whichever country (including the UK!) can be a disadvantage for students.
What permits or visas do I need?
You will need a residency permit, which is obtained, once you are there, although in may cases the school can prepare the ground in advance. For non-EU citizens, visas are likely to be required and where possible these should be obtained beforehand from your normal country of residence. Where this is impossible this can usually be solved once you are there although you cannot be paid until these things are settled.
What documents do I have to provide?
You will need to complete the interim agreement form, which SOL draws up. Then you will need to show your original degree and TEFL certificates. If this is impossible a notarised copy will do. Your passport needs to be valid until the end of 2011. If you have a police (CRB) check then this should be shown too. This may become compulsory but for now we require you to sign a certification that you have no criminal record which would prevent you working with children. A simple medical form, provided by SOL, and signed by your doctor is also recommended.
What will the accommodation be like?
SOL requires that you be provided with independent accommodation. This means in most cases a small furnished flat. In some cases it may mean accommodation in a hostel (other teachers may be there as well) but the independence factor here is essential so that you can eat and host independently.
Do I have to take bed linen, crockery etc.?
No, everything you need should be provided. It may be that you prefer to take your own towels. You will be in touch with the school in advance of going and they should provide you with an inventory.
Will there be a phone/internet connection in the flat?
This is not certain. Phone lines require a rental agreement and as flats may only be booked from August, there may not be a line in the flat. However schools will have good internet facilities. Mobiles phones are now very common and the preferred option for many teachers.
Can I use the flat during the holidays?
Yes, even after you have left in the summer, though this should be done in consultation with the school.
Do I have to stay after the term ends?
Term ends very early (mid to late June) and there may be some administrative tasks to deal with, but it is unlikely you would be required to stay until July (though you will still be being paid).
Can I talk to someone who has done this before?
Yes, we will try to put you in touch with either the previous teacher in your school or someone else who has taught in that country. You will be in touch with the school once the agreement form is signed.
How does SOL help us once we are there?
We run an induction programme for most teachers in the week prior to term starting in September. We have a co-ordinator in each country who would be your point of contact if you needed any advice or help, which you cannot get from the school. SOL also arranges one or two weekend get-togethers during the year and keeps in touch through newsletters. Most SOL teachers also keep in touch with one another.
Can a fluent non-native English speaker join?
Our agreement with the Ministries is for us to recruit ONLY native speakers of English. This does therefore exclude some excellent teachers from other countries, but this is not a judgement against them in any way!
Is there any possibility of summer work in EC Europe?
We cannot arrange this. Most people are on holiday and few language schools remain open. There are a large number of summer language camps but these are mainly staffed by unpaid volunteers.