how to move to the czech republic to teach english


i get a loooot of questions about how best to start teaching english in the czech republic and steps you need to take to be able to do this and be successful at it. so, i’d figured i’d help y’all out with this big honkin’ post! if this is not your thing, welp, then i’ll see you back here in a few days!

first off…


if you get your TEFL (teaching english as a foreign language) certificate in prague, it’s going to help you big time with not only the connections to schools you’re going to need later, but also just helpful day-to-day things (like which bins to put your recycling into, how to function at the the post office). in addition, you will immediately have practice teaching english to czechs (your target students) so it’s a big leg-up. check out my post about taking the TEFL for more information on why it’s so important to have. (i can highly recommend TEFL worldwide prague, but i hear the language house is good too)

in prague, you’re going to need a TEFL certificate to teach english. period. everyone else job hunting there and having success with it will have one; nobody’s going to take you seriously without it.  if you want to teach ESL in a czech city other than prague (especially smaller cities), you may not necessarily need a TEFL certificate or a bachelor’s degree, however either are appreciated. bottom line is, you will need some kind of teaching experience so you will know what you are doing. even if you have teaching experience but not with teaching english as a foreign language, a TEFL certificate will really help prepare you for anything.


if you already possess a TEFL certificate from outside of the czech republic (needs to be from an accredited institution with at least 8-10 hours of in-person teaching practice) and you feel ready to teach, your next step is starting to apply for a job position in the city of your choice. as i do know a couple things about language schools in prague, i’m not about to go throw any particular school under the bus or praise others here on the blog. the best thing i can tell you is to use the czech republic’s premier search engine, seznam, to find language schools this way, and then proceed to contact the headmaster with your cover letter and CV.  

search “jazykova skola {city name here}.” (obviously using the czech name, praha not prague, plzen not pilsen)


– already be in your target city. while skype interviews are not unheard of, you will have better luck scheduling an in-person interview, so being in the city of your choice already is preferred. let’s just say, there are a lot of other applicants for similar jobs who are already there in person.

have a czech phone number. nobody is going to hire you unless you have this, easy to obtain a pay-as-you-go sim card from vodafone or o2. not having a czech phone number on your CV basically says you’re not serious about living in the czech republic, and schools are looking for red flags like this. (if you want to use your new sim card with your existing phone and it is locked, you can use an online service like this one to unlock it – can highly recommend them)

–be ready to prepare a sample lesson plan. depending on the school, this will either occur on the spot or if they’re nice, they will give you time to prepare it and give a presentation. you might actually have to teach the whole thing, or you might just be reviewing the plan with the interviewer, pointing out exactly what you’re going to do and say here, what activities you are doing, how you might explain this or that grammar, etc. be ready for this possibility, this is common.

–some bigger language schools in prague require a grammar test. although i don’t necessarily think you already should have to know your first conditional from your third and your past perfect simple from continuous, this would be a large bonus. (smaller schools usually do not require this, but at least brush up on the basic terminology)



having a place of residence is pretty important when looking for a job and to start your life in the czech republic. not only is this absolutely the first thing you are going to have to prove to apply to any kind of visa (student or work visa), so you have to do it anyway, why not get started before you apply to jobs so you can include your new address on your CV?

the first option, and perhaps the most stress-free option, to find a flat or room for rent is through a real estate agency which will help you all through the way, but usually requires a fee equal or close to a first month’s rent payment. avoid craigslist! the most inexpensive option is to search through flat rental by owner website – the best one i’ve found is this one.  joining facebook groups (like prague flatshare) is also a very helpful way to find a room or a flat. try not to worry about it too much if you are taking the TEFL in prague as your school will really help you out when it comes to finding a room – it was no problem for me to find a room advertised by a fellow graduate. 

just remember: there are a lot of scams out there, so remember – never send money to any individual without seeing the flat in person first!


this is a pretty big concern, especially if you are coming from outside the schengen zone and only have the three month tourist visa like i did! bottom line: get your visa process started as soon as you enter the schengen zone to the czech republic either to take your TEFL course or to find a flat. the visa process takes a longlonglong time, probably longer than the three months you have, so you’re going to want to get started immediately. 

the best thing to do for foreigners who don’t speak czech is to go through a visa handling service which will save you the headache of bureaucracy in a language you don’t know. (i can highly recommend easyvisa in prague) for starters, you’re going to need a copy of your rental contract, an apostilled copy of your university diploma (if you have one), and in my case, a letter from your bank detailing that you have at least $6,000 in your account (for a freelance visa) and a copy of a recent bank statement, for starters… that should keep you busy for awhile! hey, nobody ever said this was going to be easy!

some language schools care a lot about whether or not you are already legal (most will not help you!), and the other half of them just consider it completely up to you to get your own visa situation handled. this is where EU nationals have the upper-hand as getting a work visa for them is so much easier than it is for a north american. please note: i personally only have the experience of applying for a freelance work visa as an american.


job hunting is no walk in the park, at least, it wasn’t for me, initially… it took me a month and a half from the end of my teaching course to the first day at my new job. i would take enough savings with me to keep you afloat for at least four months, more if you can manage.

…but what does that mean exactly? the typical price for a room for rent in a central district of prague usually goes for about 7,500-8,500kc per month (other czech cities are cheaper). you might be looking at providing a damage deposit as well as first and last month’s rent, and if you go through a realty company, figure an additional month’s rent cost as their finding fee. transit in prague costs about 700kc for a monthly pass, and if you don’t eat out at all, your weekly groceries (for one person) might be around 500kc if you shop at the discount grocery chains. (my own experience). 

after you move into your new flat, you will be registering with the foreign police, immigration, and the financial office to register for your social security payments. figure 1,972kc per month (as of 2016) in addition to your other fixed costs coming out of your account every month.

keep in mind that you’ll also have a visa run to a neighboring country (if you are applying for your visa from within the czech republic and not your home country), so figure costs of a return bus ticket to bratislava, berlin, or vienna, a night’s hostel stay, and extras… times two.



the first six months living in the czech republic as a new teacher will not be easy. it will be months before you are making enough from your new job (especially if you’re a freelancer and not salaried) to be able to really afford things; food, rent, other expenses, unless you have a bit of savings to fall back on… not to mention everything immigration-related. don’t get discouraged! be open to opportunities and say yes to everything! you never know where you might find a new student. i once met someone in a LIDL supermarket in prague (a place where you’d find a lot of locals) that overheard me speaking english and had a great conversation. many people right now are interested in  learning english. if you open yourself up enough, the opportunities will come and you may not only merely get by, you might notice that you’re starting to thrive, moreso than you were back in your home country (weird but true!).

just stick with it and give it a chance – you will learn a lot along the way. i hope these tips help get you started– hodně štěstí!

ps, you might like things to know before moving to the czech republic.

if you are inquiring about student visas, that is definitely not my area of expertise, but you will need an acceptance letter from your school, an apostilled version of your diploma (likely), and a copy of your rental contract from your residence in czech republic to say the least.