A local man who learned how to teach English as a foreign language at North West Regional College (NWRC) is now living the dream making his way round Europe in a camper van.
35 year-old Noel Barr, a musician and qualified personal trainer, sold everything he owned in May of last year, bought his camper van and left on the first boat to France via Dublin.
He’s spent the last 12 months visiting 17 countries across Europe whilst teaching private students online on his laptop via zoom.
Noel’s now settled in Spain where he’s just received his residence Green Card – and says the opportunities opened up for him studying Spanish and TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language), at NWRC, gave him the opportunity to chase his dream of travelling across the globe.
He said: “When all my gigs were cancelled for the year when Covid-19 hit, I decided it's now or never so I sold everything I owned, booked my camper on the first boat to France and left via Dublin.
“I had previously studied a night class TEFL course with Arnold MacAteer at NWRC, he’s an invaluable teacher, full of knowledge and speaks about a thousand languages. I was saving for a long time to take a trip around Europe in a campervan. The TEFL course was to possibly find employment when I finished travelling. I knew this would open many doors for me.
“The course was intense at times but well worth every minute. You really do get your eyes opened and you also learn a lot about your own language. This course also paves the way to learning the fundamentals of other languages. My Spanish is now getting quite good as I’m now living here in Cordoba, Spain teaching English.
“Traveling during the pandemic wasn't actually that bad. I think I was stopped three times at customs, but I stayed mostly at the coasts where restrictions weren't that bad. However, Covid did get worse and it didn't allow me to reach Bulgaria or Greece with border closures, so I decided to head towards Spain.
“When traveling Europe, I did manage to see a lot of awesome sights and capitals with no tourists, so I've definitely experienced something different from other travellers. I'd recommend the TEFL course to anyone and it's a great idea to study a language at the same time as it opens so many doors. I've just received my residence green card in Spain ...so it's a fresh start for me in the sun.
“I now teach all age groups in four different schools, put students through their Cambridge exams, make exams and run intensive courses. I’ve also received an unconditional offer from a few universities to do my PGCE in English via distance learning.
“I’d recommend this course to anyone that wants to travel and seek new beginnings. I’ve had job offers from all over Europe, Asia, China, and Japan etc.”
The OCN Level 4 provides an introduction to the skills and knowledge required of individuals to teach English language skills to learners whose first language is not English.
Learners will develop skills and knowledge in the areas of classroom and learning environment management. In addition, they will develop skills and knowledge in planning and delivering effective learning activities, appropriate use of technology resources and the assessment of learner performance.
To apply to learn how to Teach English as a Foreign Language go to www.nwrc.ac.uk/parttime
I'd recommend the TEFL course to anyone and it's a great idea to study a language at the same time as it opens so many doors. I've just received my residence green card in Spain ...so it's a fresh start for me in the sun.Noel BarrTEFL Graduate