Get a TESOL certification and Travel the World

Having a TESOL certification really is a passport  to travel the world. This is article is about living and teaching in Poland. Live in and visit exotic places as the world really is your oyster with your TESOL certification.

Attending college in Madison, Wisconsin, I became friends with many Chicagoans and more than a few had very close ties to their Polish backgrounds. Pierogi (filled dumplings) and the lyrical lilt of Polish being spoken over the phone became common companions on late study nights. So, when I got my  TESOL certification (Teach English to Speakers of Other Languages), I couldn’t wait to experience Poland firsthand.

I traveled to Pulawy, a small town of approximately 50,000 people in eastern Poland. Quaint and picturesque, the city is full of landmarks: towering churches, the palace of Marynka, beautifully landscaped parks, and a historic inn. There are several colleges and research institutes, making it the “center of higher education” and also a wonderful opportunity to meet some truly brilliant people who shaped my experience. Exploring the city of Pulawy was utterly entrancing!

I indulged in warm pierogi and cold mizeria (a cucumber dill salad that quickly became a favorite of mine), deep-fried dough paczki, and szarlotka (apple tarts). Needless to say, I eagerly awaited every meal time in between my city walks and classes. I really took advantage of having my TESOL certifiction!

My TESOL certification gave me the opportunity to visit the beautiful city of Warsaw

On weekends off, I would sometimes venture into Warsaw, a five-hour bus ride away. I visited the Royal Castle, a true emblem of the tenacity and perseverance of the city of Warsaw. The Royal Castle, like the rest of the city, had been destroyed during WWII, but was later rebuilt. An exhibit inside tells the story of the thriving and beautiful castle, its destruction by bombing, and the fight to restore this symbol of Polish identity.  There are several beautifully poignant museums dedicated to the city and the country’s victims of the Holocaust. These places were some of my favorites to respectfully peruse, paying homage to the storied history of this once-again idyllic city. There are many quiet reminders around Warsaw that make you appreciate the beauty and rejuvenation of a place that had been so badly battered:  various boulangeries, Michelin star restaurants, universities, and monuments.

The beauty, history, and rebirth of Poland made for a truly incredible experience during my TESOL teaching tenure. I had scraped the surface of Polish culture with my friends from home, but I had never truly understood the resilience and strength of the people and their country until I saw the beauty that had risen from the wreckage. Using my TESOL certification in Poland gave me a deeper awareness of another culture and ultimately, of myself.

Adapted from an article written by Sue Petersen