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In July 2011 I decided to move half way across the world and teach English in China. I researched various programs and finally settled on getting a TESOL certificate in Cambodia through LanguageCorps Asia. I chose their program based on several blogs I had found as well as a guarantee of a job in China. At the end of January 2012 I packed my bags and headed to Cambodia to start my year abroad.

Pros:
1. The training is great. I had a blast in class and I felt so much more confident coming to China.

2. The accommodations were nice. This may seem silly to some but if I had been staying somewhere that disgusted me, I’m sure my month there would have been unpleasant. The hotel was very clean and the staff was great! I would stay there again if I went back to Cambodia.

My room in Cambodia

3. The trips!. Yes, I could have gone on these trips by myself..but they arranged everything. I never though I’d see Angkor Wat. They pack a lot into two weeks in Cambodia.

4. The student teaching I’ve never taught in front of a class before and I have a huge fear of public speaking. Teaching doesn’t sound like the ideal job for me but having the opportunity to practice everything before heading to my job really gave a huge boost to confidence.

5. The staff. The staff really made the experience for me. They were helpful and friendly. I was even able to get my wisdom teeth extracted in Cambodia because of them. The staff became my friends and I know if I ever visited Cambodia again they would make me feel welcome there.

6. Other LanguageCorps Trainees I met people that I will never forget. Every person in my group was essential to me having the time of my life in Cambodia.

Cons:
1. The program is not tailored towards those going to teach in China. I know they are working on fixing this but at the moment, everything in the program is very catered towards Southeast Asia.

2. It is expensive. I do not regret the money I spent on the program. It made sense to me. They helped with my transition abroad, everything was taken care of for me in Cambodia, I had a great experience and I don’t think I would have ever spent a month in Cambodia for any other reason.

3. There are times when you feel a bit trapped by LanguageCorps. There are times when you feel like you just keep handing more money over to them. The hotel food is a bit pricey and the bar they bring you to is owned by the owner of LanguageCorps Asia.

For me the Pros outweighed the Cons by a lot

If I was asked if I would do it again, without a doubt I would say yes. I am extremely happy with what I received for what I paid.

If you have any questions, feel free to ask.

OVERALL GRADE: A-/B+

20 Comments »

  1. Meghan says:

    As a female traveler, did you feel safe through the languagecorps program in Cambodia?
    I’m signed up for the March course but am nervous about crime reports I have read.

    Thanks a bunch!

    • liz says:

      Hi Meghan,

      I always felt safe during the program. Just be a smart traveler. I pretty much stuck to the main roads and crowded tourist areas and was always out with at least one other person.

      I had heard some stories of people who got into a little bit of trouble but usually it was because they were doing something a little out of the ordinary.

      Let me know if you have any other questions. Hope you have a great time with LanguageCorps!

  2. Gina says:

    did language corps help you find a job during or after the program?

    • liz says:

      Hi Gina,
      Since I did the China program, they helped me find a job before I even landed in Cambodia. For the others, they helped find a job after the program. I heard mixed reviews on the help they gave after the program but I think if you go in realizing that you’ll need to put some leg work in, you’ll have a great experience!

  3. Josephine says:

    Hello,

    I am so glad you wrote this post! I was researching LanguageCorps everywhere and it was actually quite difficult for me to find reviews by those who had taken part in it. I just applied for their program in Taiwan and was wondering if you knew anybody who had done it there? I know their program for Taiwan is pretty new, but it’d still be quite nice if I had some insight on experiences there.

    Anyway, it was great reading your post!

    • liz says:

      Hi Josephine!

      At the time I did my program, no one did the Taiwan one. Originally I wanted to go to Taiwan as that’s where my mom is from but was told Chinese-Americans were difficult to place there. I know my roommate in China had also applied but they told her that they weren’t accepting applications for Taiwan at the time. I think you will probably experience the same thing I experienced in China. Once you get to your destination, you wont really be hearing from LanguageCorps anymore. I’m sure no matter where you go, as long as you’re open minded, you’ll have a great time!

  4. Katie says:

    I have read a lot of reviews saying that they do really help with job searches or placement. Some people said they paid for guaranteed placement and never got a job. How well we’re you assisted when looking for a job? Also, how much would say you ended up spending on the program, and how long did you have to financially support yourself before money came in?

    • liz says:

      Hey Katie,

      Since I signed up for the China program, I was placed in a job before I even got on the plane to Cambodia. I’ve heard with the other programs that some of the participants didn’t feel super supported but almost everyone I know got a job within about a month. I’d say all said and done I probably ended up spending about $4000. This includes all the flights to Cambodia and China, food, visas, program fee etc. I had saved up a bunch before I went so I wasn’t too worried about the finances. But I know for the China folks, some people were hurting before we got paid. It can be up to 3 months before you’re paid so I’d make sure to save up enough before you head out.

  5. Blaine says:

    Did you make more money than you spent or was it a wash or a loss?

    • liz says:

      I ended up about even. But I traveled a lot and did not focus on saving money. I’m sure if I really wanted to save, I could have ended up saving some.

  6. Katie S says:

    So glad you made this post ill be going to Cambodia this summer for the TESOL program with LanguageCorps. I have a couple questions for you. How expensive were things in Cambodia did you spend alot in the month you were there? Also was the TESOL course difficult?? Thanks!

    • liz says:

      The TESOL course was pretty easy. They want people to pass. Everyone ended up passing in my class. I think one or two people had to retake the grammar test once but they passed the second time around.

      Things in Cambodia were not too expensive. They were pricier than I thought they would be though since they use USD. The hotel food was pretty pricey. But food averaged between $.50 and $5/meal.

  7. Eric says:

    I was wondering about the class size and if you had to develop your own curriculum. I remember teaching once in South Korea and I had to come up with my own curriculum.

    • liz says:

      Class size really depends on where you get assigned.

      For my student teaching portion (2 weeks) I had a class of 5 and had to develop my own curriculum.

      As soon as I got to China I had class sizes from 2 – 19 students and had to follow the curriculum very closely.

  8. steph says:

    Thanks for posting this. When you applied did you have a choice of where in China to work? Did you know where you would be located in China before heading to Cambodia?

    • liz says:

      They set us up with a school called Aston English. I’m pretty sure that’s the only school they had a relationship with at the time I went because out of all of us going to China, we all had a contract with Aston. Aston has locations all over China and they let me pick what city I wanted to go to. I was lucky just because I happened to want to go to Xi’an, one of their larger hubs. No one I knew went to Shanghai or Beijing, I think you generally need a little more experience to be approved for a work visa in those cities.

  9. Tara says:

    Hi Liz-

    I’m strongly researching teaching abroad so I truly value all of your insight. How was it possible for them to secure you a job prior to training? At that point it had to be unforeseen of your ending performance, correct? Were there any participants or other teachers that you’ve since met that do not have 4 year degrees? Lastly, do you know of anyone that was able to use their country specific TEFL/TESOL certification to teach anywhere else? Thank you for your time!

    • liz says:

      Hi Tara,

      Aston gives you a conditional contract. Basically, you have to finish the LanguageCorps program for you to keep your job. If you don’t then they don’t have to give you a job. LanguageCorps pretty much made sure to pass everyone in our group.

      I know people without 4 year degrees can have a harder time. Many of them have to be willing to work harder to find a job or be willing to work under the table. A 4 year degree is a requirement for many countries in order to secure a visa.

      The TESOL I got is not really country specific in the sense that the way you teach isn’t country specific. All they did different for each country was give us a crash course in the language we’d need to survive. I personally don’t know anyone that went on to a different country from LanguageCorp but I’m sure it wouldn’t be a problem.

  10. Maria says:

    Hi Liz

    I’m from Denmark and have really considered teaching english abroad. I was just if that was even possible now that english isn’t my first language?

    • liz says:

      Hi Maria,

      It really depends on the country that you want to teach in. Some countries are a little more lenient as they have a high demand for English teachers but some countries require that English be your first language. There are some that require you to have a passport from certain countries.

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