Rain in Tallinn… Regarding Foreign Country Job Searches

Since moving to Tallinn, it’s rained almost every day. This can get a little depressing, but my main focus since coming has been trying to find a job. Going on the job hunt is never fun, regardless of where you are, but looking for a job in a foreign country where you don’t speak the language is confusing and very tricky. Like if I was in the US, I could actually go in to various locations and ask if they were hiring; my abilities and job options are much wider in the US. But here, what could I do? Teach English…. And that’s about it! While Pete has been in school, I’ve been spending hours at the local mall using their free WiFi (our internet took 2 weeks to get set up) to search for different places to work (public schools, language schools, etc).

Anyway, here is the looong story of what’s been going on lately (and it does have a happy ending to those crazy enough to actually read this whole thing).

About two days after arriving in Tallinn, I found out that a job that I had arranged while in Budapest had fallen through. This was a huge hit and Pete and I started doubting our choice in coming here. One day, Pete and I were walking around a store, trying to get pillows and other things for our apartment. We had just come from the immigration office, and had been very discouraged with how complicated visas and becoming a resident of the country was for us (especially with me being not employed; it is impossible for me to be a resident of the country if I didn’t have a job). At the store, we both were contemplating flying home—not at all what we were expecting to consider after arriving to Tallinn, but in the situation we were in, it sounded like a good (and easy) option. After wandering around the store, trying to figure out life, we decided to go forward and figure everything out here.

Later on, we discovered that we didn’t need to get residence permits asap, as we had thought, so that was a relief. Pete started going to his orientation and classes, and was enjoying the university (I’m super jealous of his classes, so luckily he takes great notes and we continue his class discussions at home). We also went to the branch, and were instantly welcomed in and felt quite at home there. But, after two weeks job of searching (I emailed every single kindergarten, elementary, junior high, and high school in search for teaching jobs), I was beginning to get pretty hopeless about the situation. I even emailed a bunch of hotels to see if they were hiring cleaning ladies, but even those positions require speaking Russian, Estonian, and English! So, after lots of dead ends and prayers, I had several strange things happen within a very short time frame:

Wednesday, September 7: I had emailed a language school (let’s call them Language School A), seeing if they were interested in hiring me. They responded in Russian, saying that they teach generally in Russian, could I handle it? I responded saying that I didn’t know Russian, but that I am a competent teacher who has taught students who didn’t know any English, and I was confident that I could help their school, and my language limitations wouldn’t be an issue. (This email I sent was in desperation, obviously, and is much more confident than usual. Being unemployed makes you do crazy things).

Thursday, September 8: Got a phone call to do an interview from another language school (let’s call them Language School B) where I had applied online. He wanted to meet that day, so I went in. From my point of view, I was not quite qualified for the position—it was a position who was searching for a teacher of adults, and I’ve never taught students older than 14. But, he still wanted to give me a chance to prove myself, so I set up a time to come in on Monday to do a lesson with a group, while observed by the school, to see how I am as a teacher. After leaving the interview, I got a call from the Language School A, saying that they’d like me to do a mock lesson for very beginners on Monday so that they can see my teaching style.

Friday, Saturday, Sunday: Freaking out about the fact that I was doing to test lessons on Monday—scary!

Monday: Went in to Language School A and did my presentation. It went really well! I was impressed with myself, and they liked it, too. They didn’t have any specific classes to put me in to right away, but they were still interested in trying to make something work. Went to Language School B and had 45 minutes to prepare a lesson. Taught a 45 minute lesson to adults. I enjoyed myself, and the evaluator thought that I did a nice job. Said that they would call me to let me know if they had any classes for me.

Tuesday: Went to the elementary school where I’ve been teaching 4 hours a week (but it was terrible pay, and took a super long time to get there and back, because it wasn’t actually in Tallinn, and it was expensive to get there by bus). On the way there, that morning, I got a call from Language School B, saying that they could take me on for a 2 hour class that was held once a week. I accepted, but was bummed that it was such few hours. Nevertheless, I figured it was a foot in the door, and if they were impressed, it could possibly grow into more hours.

Wednesday: Went in to Language School A to film a little “about me” video that they could put on their site. Got a phone call from Language School C (you read it right, a third language school!) who wanted to interview me that day. Went in to Language School C to interview. Liked the school, told them I was interested in the full-time position. Knew we had to work out some technicalities to start working, so I wouldn’t be able to start for about 10 days or so. The pay offered was ok, but not awesome.

Thursday (today): Went to Language School C to work out visa process. Told them that I needed to call Language School A and B to tell them that I wouldn’t be working for them. Went home, emailed Language School A (sad day) to tell them. Was literally seconds away from calling Language School B to tell them, but then Language School B called, I told them that I had found another full-time position, so I couldn’t work that 2 hours for them, but then he said that they had a full-time position they’d like to offer me. Decided that I would go in to Language School B to chat with them about the position. Went in to Language School B, decided that it would be best for me to take this position for several reasons: better pay, potential to get certified as a Business English Teacher in January, and by teaching mainly adults, it is a great way for me teach adults in the future. Chatting with Language School B went really well, and I feel great about the position! I signed a contract, and I start Monday! Woot!

So, after a lot of faith-filled prayers, stress, and tears, I am finally employed full-time! Pete and I are so happy that we’ve decided to stay. And we surely can’t get over how when it rains, it pours, here in Tallinn!




Filed under Places, Teaching

7 responses to “Rain in Tallinn… Regarding Foreign Country Job Searches

  1. xivonne

    Well, call me crazy, I actually read your whole story. I’m SO happy you found a job! I’m super jealous that you’re in Tallin, and I can only imagine how cute your pillows are. But you know another benefit of teaching adults? Networking! If you don’t want to teach English the whole time you’re in Estonia, they might be able to hook you up with some other opportunities. It sounds like fun! I hope you enjoy it.

  2. WOW! You are so brave. How exciting and what a wonderful ending. ha ha. Good luck at your new job!

  3. p.s. I have never (ever) had an interview. Its true. I have interviewed people (at Barrus ha ha) but never actually been interviewed by anyone….perhaps it is time to fly from the nest? Just kidding. I just love my job too much.

  4. Jaime

    I seriously don’t know how you guys have managed to handle some of the stressful situations you have had. I am not a person that likes change and you have lives that are CONSTANTLY changing, i’d go nuts! So,so,glad that you found a job– although if you came home we could hangout.. but still glad that you got such a great job and that you can stay! Hope you love it, i’ll watch and see!

    • Oh man, you wouldn’t believe how many breakdowns I’ve had since we’ve left! I don’t really have the personality to change things and get myself in to risky situations like this all the time, but somehow, I’ve survived. And I just pretend like we hang out by reading your hilarious blog 🙂

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