Teaching English in GreeceWritten by Emmanuel Mendonca
The employment situation can be quite uncertain for newcomers to Greece and therefore many people choose to try teaching English as a foreign language, on a full or part-time basis. It can bring in a good income whether it is your preferred career choice, or you wish to do it short-term until another career choice pans out.
Qualifications and Experience
There are many language schools or frontistiria in Athens and all over Greece, to which you could apply for work. In order to get a job in one of these schools, it is still not strictly necessary to have a formal teaching qualification such as TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language). Often all that is required is a university degree (in any subject) from a UK or US university. That said, if you are uncertain about your ability to teach English and want to ensure that you start off in this line of work with necessary skills, a course would be useful. It would provide you with some teaching theory, knowledge of English grammar (let’s face it, many of us have never formally studied English grammar in any great depth, even though we speak and write English everyday) and give you some valuable experience of teaching in a classroom, since this is included in most courses. When applying for jobs, you will find vacancies that specify that previous teaching experience is required and others for which no experience is necessary.
It does not matter if you do not speak a lot of Greek. Native English speakers are often valued for other reasons such as having what is seen as a “proper” accent. Many people also swear by approach of not speaking your students’ language, so that they hear only English being spoken for duration of lesson. You will find ways to make yourself understood. In my experience of language teaching, it can even be counter-productive if your students know that you speak their language well, because they may be too easily tempted to speak to you in Greek when they find it hard going.
Teaching English as a foreign language jobs are widely advertised in newspapers and on Internet all year round and most often from August to October. As well as applying before in Greece, you can also go to door-to-door around frontistiria with your CV, again in August to October period. If you are visiting them in person, it is not recommended that you spend time doing this any earlier than August because schools often do not consider their recruitment needs much before beginning of academic year.
Pay and working conditions
Pay and conditions offered by language schools will vary enormously, so it is important to check these out in detail first before accepting a contract. If time is on your side, it may be worth speaking to several schools rather than taking first job you are offered. Also, if you work in a frontistirio it is quite likely that you will be working mainly in afternoons and evenings, since this is when children and adults are free to take their lessons.
Street Food in Thailand...A Smorgasbord For All The SensesWritten by Carolyn Nantais
Like other Southeast Asian countries, food stalls are everywhere in streets, markets and festivals of Thailand, providing an endless smorgasbord of aromas, color and flavors - food in Thailand is a feast for all of senses. Picture a barbecue hotdog stand outside a North American sports stadium. Now, instead of hotdogs and buns sizzling on a grill, food cart is laden with fresh bananas, which are slathered in batter and deep-fried to golden in a giant wok, then scooped into a paper bag like a super size order of extra thick homecut french fries. That was my first breakfast in Thailand while I watched hundreds of beautifully costumed elephants play soccer and tug-of-war in an annual Elephant Round-up in Surin, in far northeast of country!
The next 'hotdog stand' does have a grill, placed over a large bin of charcoal, with flattened chicken quarters sizzling on sticks that you eat like a Popsicle; next door to that is yet another steel cart heaped with fresh, ripe pineapple, mango and papaya, and sporting a huge mortar and pestle for transforming greener papayas into a crunchy, sweet-sour-spicy salad with morsels of shrimp or squid, chiles, garlic and sugar.
What makes Thai food so delicious and distinctive among other Southeast Asian food is this unique blending of fresh herbs, spices and other ingredients that combine for a perfect balance of sweet, sour, salt and heat that leaves your mouth feeling clean and your tastebuds popping in afterglow.
Fresh fruit, salads and even soups and noodles are ladled into plastic bags with a skewer, fork, spoon or straw for eating on go or perched on a folding chair at a nearby metal card table in market.
Thai buses and trains become moving picnic grounds, with everyone chatting, eating and sharing fare hawked through vehicles' windows at roadside stops and terminals: Gai Yang, flattened barbecue chicken on a stick, skewered meat and fish balls and sticky rice wrapped in banana leaves.
Carnivals and markets feature huge woks at knee-height, bubbling with deep-fried critters of all sorts, many unidentifiable. Are they grasshoppers? crickets? spiders? baby birds? small frogs? -- my mouth and eyes were constantly wide open in wonder and amazement!
I spent an inordinate amount of time in fresh produce and night food markets -- exuberantly fascinated and often visibly discombobulated, to great amusement of vendors and shoppers.
After traversing every aisle of food carts and woks on my mission to find freshest, most interesting and tasty-looking dishes, I was often met with earnestly shaking heads or "No, you don't want that - that's Thai food!" by English speaking cooks or bystanders when I pointed and gestured and tried to ask for a meal I knew I truly wanted. On my first such adventure, I did not know that custom was for cook to show ladle with amount of garlic and chili for you to indicate how much you wanted: thinking she was simply asking if I wanted those Thai ingredients, I nodded vigorously at heaped display, and in it all went! Yes, it was Thai food, and I enjoyed every sizzling touch to my lips under watchful, laughing eyes of vendors and bystanders who had gathered.
I spent as much time learning about, admiring and experiencing food as I did with major tourist attractions, often spending hours strolling through streets and markets taking in sights and smells and sounds: quiet clucking rising up from a heap of vibrantly coloured roosters or hens tied together at feet - a Thai rooster's plumage is extraordinarily beautiful; plastic tubs and buckets just full enough of murky grey water to keep fish, frogs or turtles alive until a sale was clinched; mounds and mounds of green and red, and purple and orange; pleasant stench of durian and jackfruit - pleasant because I was just so thrilled and in awe of it all!