Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Make the Most of Your Time...Even While Traveling

Before I continue with my re-posts, I am going to make an intermediary note here.

Prior to finding out that my cousin would be spending time in Spain, I had made a decision to pursue my certification in Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL).

I had done some research previously, trying to find a good school, but was vacillating on whether to do the course online or perhaps find a class that would allow me to do something both online and on-site. I couldn't do the entire course on-site (which was really my preference) because I couldn't take 4-5 full weeks away from work.

When I found out my cousin was going to be in Spain, I decided the time was right to pursue the certification and do the combo class. I found that one of the schools I had researched had responded favorably to my questions and gave me several references from students that had graduated from their program that felt the class was worth the money and some students that had gone on to find full-time work in various other countries.

The school had a class that fell in directly after the week I was going to be in Spain so the timing was perfect! The price I paid for the class would pay for my online portion with one on one tutoring and the two weeks of on-site classes, AND accommodation, while in Rome.

My biggest worry was that accommodations were supposed to be a 45 minute train ride outside the city then another 15 minute metro ride to the school. Normally, I wouldn't mind the idea of staying out of city. I love the smaller villages and towns of Italy. They are so peaceful and have such a wonderful feeling of community, my biggest worry was that classes would begin at 9:00 am and end as late as 9:00 pm. With the commute, my days would be tremendously long and I wasn't too sure about taking the train at night.

Financially speaking, it made perfect sense to mix vacation with school. I was already flying to Europe anyway so a large part of my budget would already be going to the flight. One of the bonuses was that this particular program's price paid for the classes PLUS the accommodations for not much more than I might have paid for accommodations alone for a two week stay in Rome.

If you're looking to mix your vacation with business or school on your travels to Europe, that is the perfect combination to save some money and get more accomplished than you thought you could!

Well...serendipity stepped in at just the right moment!! About two weeks before I was to leave to Spain, I received word from the school that I was the only student doing the combination course so I had the option to stay in the apartment in the village outside Rome by myself (with a long commute to school) or to rent a room from someone who was contracted with the school and who lived in the city center. The only catch was that I would need to pay an extra hundred euros. In my head, that was a no-brainer! I would be staying in city center about 8 stops away from the school with no need to change metros...great news as far as I was concerned!

My tip here is to do your research and to think outside the box when traveling. If you can mix cooking classes or a foreign language class with your vacation, consider it. It might be a great opportunity to ge to know the inner workings of the city you're visiting.

No comments: