After completing my volunteer work at Gdansk, Poland, I was off to Prague, Czech Republic for my next workaway gig. This turned out to be a terrible idea.
My first impression of Czech Republic was great. I took a sleeper train from Warsaw going to Prague and had a really cool Czech guy as my roommate. He was so friendly that upon arriving in Prague, he helped me get a ticket to use the metro when I was completely lost.
“So far so good”, I thought to myself as my first encounter with Czech people has been awesome so far.
I arrive in the city too early and my hostel wouldn’t let me check in yet. Thankfully, the guy working at reception allowed me to use the valuable storage lockers to store my stuff as I venture back into the heart of Prague to do some sight seeing.
Prague, Czech Republic city walking tour
A city walking tour of Prague is complimentary to the Angloville volunteers. However, because I arrived really early, I still had several hours to kill before we gathered together to start the tour.
I decided to show myself around the city early in the morning which turned out to be a great decision. Early on, the streets are quiet and you can take awesome pictures of the historical city centre of Prague.
My first impression of Prague is that it is a very beautiful city that is also inexpensive. Perfect for budget travellers or backpackers.
I had no idea what I was sight seeing for so I just took pictures of buildings that looked interesting. Thankfully, I managed to take a shot with the famous clock before the crowds came along.
After walking around for several hours, it was time to join the Angloville city walking tour.
Man, it was definitely crowded as soon as the afternoon hit. I can’t believe how many tourist crowd the streets of Prague.
The city walking tour was decent. I did learn a lot about the buildings in Prague which was neat. We were also provided lunch after the tour was over and I was quite happy with the meal.
Arriving at the facility where we would be teaching English for Angloville Czech Republic
The next day, we all gathered together at the train station where a mini-bus would come to pick us up to take us where the Angloville English intensive retreat would take place.
I sat beside this British-Korean guy who ended up being my roommate during the duration of my stay. We got along quite well at first but as days went by, there was a growing rift in our communication. As a result, we remained cordial with one another but we also knew that there would be no ongoing friendship from there on out.
On the bright side of things, the retreat was held in a very beautiful castle located on the country side. It was very pleasant staying there as it felt peaceful and serene.
Unlike my previous two workaway volunteer work where I taught English in Poland, I didn’t seem to have built much friendship with the volunteers. I think the only person I would say became my friend was this black woman from Detroit.
Regardless, I was friendly with other volunteers and made small talk with them whenever possible.
Angloville Czech Republic and Slovakia students
To be honest, the Czech and Slovaks students were very difficult to converse with compared to the Polish people. I hate to make comparisons because it’s really not fair but I also wanted to provide an honest review of my experience teaching English in Czech Republic.
Compared to the Polish people, the Czech people hasn’t completely embraced English yet. When they watch movies, they watch it with Czech dubbing while in Poland, they have English subtitles.
Because of this and along with many other non-English cultural aspect of things, the Czech’s English is quite poor compared to their neighbouring countries.
Czech people are very nice and I liked most of the students. I think there was only one whiny lady that people clearly knew that massive complainer but everyone else was pretty cool.
I didn’t quite get along with the Angloville coordinators in Czech Republic compared to Poland. The main coordinator, Shaun, for example, clearly did not like me. During the entire time, he was suppressing himself from saying passive-aggressive things to me. To his defense, I completely understand. After one of our lunch breaks, I took a nap and forgot to set my alarm. By the time I woke up, I was late for my one-on-one speaking session.
Clearly, Shaun was upset at me but he did his best to fake a smile and be cordial. The student didn’t seem to mind; however, since then, he clearly had a judgemental attitude towards me.
I would have to take full responsibility for the passive aggressive behaviour he exhibited. Our volunteer schedule is quite exhausting as you can see below:
Angloville volunteer schedule in Czech Republic
- 9:00am-10:00am – Breakfast
- 10:00am-11:00am – Mentor Meeting
- 11:00am-12:00pm – One-on-one Session
- 12:00pm-1:00pm – One-on-one Session
- 1:00pm-2:00pm – Group Activities
- 2:00pm-3:00pm – Lunch
- 3:00pm-4:30pm – Free time
- 4:30pm-5:30pm – One-on-one Session
- 5:30pm-6:30pm – One-on-one Session
- 6:30pm-7:30pm – One-on-one Session
- 7:30pm-8:30pm – Dinner
- 8:30pm-9:30pm – Entertainment Hour
- 9:30pm – ?????? – Social Time
Because I just finished volunteering in Poland, I was feeling burnt out from teaching English all day. It was completely my fault for taking on another workaway gig teaching English with Angloville. Looking back, I should have taken a week off before jumping into another volunteer gig. This is an important lesson learned in the future.
The whole experience wasn’t bad of course. As mentioned before, Czech people are quite friendly. I even went hiking with one of the students during our one-on-one conversation session.
While I am a big fan of workaway, I think doing two intensive English teaching gig back to back is too much. I was so burnt out after each day that I did not want to do anything but hole myself up in my room and not talk to anyone. Despite a lot of people having fun during this volunteer experience, I personally felt miserable. Again, I don’t want to blame anyone but myself because I chose to do two intensive volunteer work back to back.
In the future, I will definitely leave a gap between volunteer work to give myself some time to decompress before volunteering again.
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