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An Honest Review Of Angloville

Angloville popped up on our radar while we were researching teaching jobs in Europe. It offers a way to travel and teach as volunteers abroad and it’s FREE!

Since Henry was working over the summer, I (Jen) sign up as a volunteer after completing my official TEFL certificate. I choose to go to the Czech Republic as a native English speaker to give the Angloville experience a try. Maybe I’d meet some new people and new friends?!

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Need to check out Angloville’s street cred first? Pin me for later!

To clarify as a side note: I only did a week with Angloville after a family death. I felt supported throughout the program and they let me away earlier than planned under the circumstances but I did not receive my deposit back under their rules.

About Angloville

The premise of Angloville is simple. It’s an English immersion program that offers people experience in teaching and learning conversational English in beautiful countryside locations.

Sounds like the stuff of dreams right?

Let’s dispel some myths about Angloville. We can look at what it’s actually like to work on one of their courses.

All teachers are volunteers who get their accommodation and food covered for the week. They don’t have to be “real-life teachers” but that would give you a more intrinsic motivation for doing a language program.

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Free time = Playtime!

Who, what, where?

The participants are paying customers who are often children, families and business professionals. Or they are just somebody who wants to brush up on their English skills with native speakers.

There is a deposit, which we will cover further on in the review. Angloville is a credible business model that does what it says on the tin. However, don’t expect this to be a holiday or sightseeing trip. It’s long days and mentally demanding.

What they do offer is a city tour from each start location (in this case Prague). There is a teacher meet and greet lunch but this extra day in the city you have to cover.

Is Angloville safe?

In short, yes. It’s not some massive scam and Angloville does take precautions to ensure your safety.

The accommodation on their language volunteer programmes are lovely hotels. I would even recommend the hotel I stayed at to people looking for an escape from the city.

You pair up with another English teacher (or ‘mentor’ as it says on the lanyard). You share a room with that person for the duration of the program. Men are with men and women with women.

If you come with a friend or partner you are usually placed together. They asked me in my initial interview if I wanted to bring Henry. However, unfortunately, it couldn’t happen this time!

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I scored pretty amazing accommodation for the week!

Programme rules

There are strict rules when it comes to how you interact with the students. On junior programmes, there is no drinking allowed even in social time. You can’t go into each other’s rooms and permission is a requirement before you leave the hotel.

You are also responsible for keeping an eye out for those children or teenagers and ensuring their well-being.

On adult programmes, you can enjoy drinks together and even go to the pub if there’s one nearby. It does offer a bit more freedom. However, the same rules apply in terms of visits to each other’s rooms and of course, you look out for one another.

What skills do I need to be a volunteer at Angloville?

Almost anyone can do this, but you are more likely to want to volunteer if you are thinking about teaching as a career. Whether that’s teaching English as a foreign language or regular teaching, or if you are already a teacher.

You need to be over 18 to teach on the junior programs and over 25 to teach on the adult programmes.

There are practical and common sense necessities like a clean police record. You need to have at least completed high school and have good communication skills.

Volunteers need to have motivation, be enthusiastic and be looking for cultural exchange. You should have the want to meet new people.

The biggest necessity is you that you HAVE to be a native English speaker. You need to hold a passport for either Canada, USA, South Africa, New Zealand, Ireland, United Kingdom or Australia.

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Two native speakers in Prague after the week at Angloville was over

On my adult program, it was clear that the participants pay a lot of money to have a week with native English speaking teachers. They might not understand their teachers are volunteers. Some of our group were surprised to hear that we didn’t get paid! (I will though note that this is clearly stipulated on their website).

You can do this without teaching experience. The whole model relies on conversational English. However, the students have materials that you cover in your one-to-one lessons.

There may be fewer teachers than they need for the program. Therefore, they will draft people in quickly at the last minute too. To my best knowledge, these last-minute teachers still have to submit all of the documents.

What language skills do I need as a volunteer?

You have to be a native speaker of English to qualify as a volunteer and that’s pretty much it. Whether you are based in Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary or Romania. The whole point of the program is that everyone has to speak English for the duration of their time there.

I live in Slovakia so can understand some Czech. However, apart from going to the pub and ordering drinks in our free time, I didn’t use it with the participants.

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In my home territory of Bratislava

What are you teaching?

The idea is that you reprogram the way people think and it’s fully immersive. This gives them time to readjust and get in the flow of speaking a foreign language more fluently.

Angloville states that it follows the CEFR levelling system. Moreover, that their students are A1 through C2 (if you teach English this might make sense). Though it was a surprise to me that there were students with a lower level of English in attendance. Conversational lessons are usually more useful to people with a higher level of English to hone those skills.

In this regard, I found my actual teaching experience came in useful. I did wonder how non-teachers deal with explaining certain things. This may hinder the participants progress.

What is the application process?

The initial application process was speedy and not too stressful for me. I filled in an application. That night I got a phone call from my recruiter for a phone interview. She liked what she heard and signed me up.

The recruiter I got managed to find weeks where I could do them all in a row. It meant I was to be based the same city. She was also quick in sending all the information along.

There are documents to send within a space of three weeks from acceptance. This includes a police disclosure, passport, reference and confirmation of travel to the start city.

This time frame does seem a little short especially if you have to apply for a police disclosure. Therefore, it’s something I recommend sorting before you apply.

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My big face on the coach coming from the venue

You also need to pay for your transport to the start city where they pick you up. This needs to be evidenced within three weeks which was an extra cost I wasn’t expecting. My program was still months away!

The best advice is to not only have deposit money ready but also have enough to buy a train/plane/bus ticket. Also, have a reference and police disclosure on hand.

Once this is all confirmed you either do the online TEFL course if you choose this option. Or wait for your arrival package email the week before your program.

How much does Angloville cost?

Like anything that says it’s free there is of course hidden costs. Nothing is ever truly free or it wouldn’t be a viable business model!

The deposit is something they tell you about straight away. Therefore, you should be aware that this is the very first thing to pay after your interview. You get two/three days to pay it and to confirm your spot.

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How much do you need?

The cost is €69 and you get back €59 after completing the programmes. You do pay €10 for administrative costs.

If you opt to do the TEFL course you pay the same amount. However, you also pay €15 in administrative costs which is claimable after completing three weeks and an online course.

Please factor in your travel!!!

This can be a way to budget travel across Europe. However, coming out to do a program will cost you money and remember it’s not a free holiday.

Accommodation is another cost to account for. To do the free city tour and lunch the previous day you will need at least a one night stay in your start city. In addition, you may need accommodation afterwards if you plan to stick around.

All together for one week, I spent €69 on a deposit, €38 on transport, €50 on accommodation (before and after). I spent a little bit on myself at the venue. Then two days in Prague on sightseeing, food and ice cream (obvs).

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The train to Prague was inexpensive!

Before arriving here I saved about €350 after paying the deposit. This was to cover the three weeks including accommodation.

My advice is to take into consideration doing multiple weeks in different countries. You have to cover all of those travel costs so make sure it isn’t too expensive.

Also, take cash to the venue too. There may not be any cash machines in the middle of nowhere or in small villages! (This seems obvious but I forgot to take cash with me…)

Does Angloville offer teacher training?

With Angloville you can do a 120-hour Premier TEFL course. This can be done before you go if you have the time or after but you can’t claim back your deposit until it is done.

The online course has a great structure. It’s not a CELTA but it is a recognisable qualification. Combining it with three weeks’ worth of teaching actually makes this a fantastic way for a native speaker to gain a TEFL.

You do mini-exams after each module and one big exam at the end. There is also Angloville’s own training programme to do on the lead up to your time with them.

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Teacher/Participant certificate at the end of the program!

The certificate you can print out online as a PDF. In addition, with each program, you teach on you get a participant’s certificate too.

Please be aware that in order to get the teaching qualification and all of those lovely references you have to do three weeks with Angloville.

In my special circumstance, after a family death, they understood my situation. The coordinator on my program did everything to ensure I was taken care of and I was allowed away early. Remember it’s only voluntary and if you’re not in a good place mentally let someone know.

What does a week with Angloville look like?

Arriving a day early will ensure you can do the city tour. However, don’t do what I did and buy a train ticket and arrive too late to do the tour! It will most likely start in the morning and then there’s lunch with your fellow teachers.

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Prague city centre after arriving back in the city

Angloville schedule

The Angloville schedule can be quite gruelling if you’re not mentally prepared.  On arrival day the routine is normally getting picked up by coach, driving to the venue, icebreakers and your first one to one’s.

Throughout the week you start your day with breakfast, spend about 10 hours on the go in full teacher mode and go to sleep!

My schedule was as follows:

9 – 10 AM – Breakfast

10 – 10:50 AM – Mentor Meeting

11 – 11:50 AM – One on One

12 – 12:50 PM – One on One or Practical/Role-Play

13:00 – 13:50 PM – Group Activity

14:00 – 15:00 PM – Lunch

15:00 – 16:30 PM – Free Time

16:30 – 17:20 PM – Practical Lesson

17:30 – 18:20 PM – One on One

18:30 – 19:20 PM – One on One (or Two on Two)

19:30 – 20:30 PM – Dinner

20:30 – 21:30 PM – Entertainment Hour

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What do you actually have to do as a teacher?

Mentor Meeting – You get one or two students to mentor throughout the week and you monitor their progress. You help them with anything they’re finding difficult. On adult programmes, the participants have to do a presentation on the second last day so this is the time to work on that.

One to One’s – These are sessions with one teacher and one participant. They normally have conversation topics but there’s no harm in using your own ideas too.

Two on Two’s – Exactly the same premise but you team up with another teacher and participant.

Practical Lessons – There be several of these and on adult programmes expect telephone conversation classes and things like negotiations or role-playing. There will be material available for these lessons.

Group Activities – Everyone gets together and you do something fun! It could be games, watching comedy sketches, role-playing. Anything as long as it’s teams of people working together.

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I don’t have shots of actual teaching but you get the gist!

Extras

Mealtimes – Think of mealtimes as another chance to mingle and speak to students in English. Make sure they don’t slip into their own language. You get three meals a day.

Entertainment Hour – The volunteers lead these sessions with activities you prepare at home or in your own time. For example, we had a quiz night, comedy night and other games! If you have a unique skill, share it. We also had morning yoga sessions before breakfast!

Tip: By the Wednesday everyone will be flagging a little as they are long days to be fully switched on and speaking in a foreign language. Therefore, take naps when you can to stay extra motivated.

The final night and leaving day

I can only speak for what happens on the adult programmes, it will differ from program to program.

The final afternoon is for participants to do their presentations, then its dinner and free time to socialise.

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It’s time to go!

On the final day, you do a final last one to one session, give feedback and there’s a certificate ceremony.

In junior programmes, it will be similar but instead of presentations, the kids do a talent show on the second last day.

We left at 3 pm back to Prague on the final day. A great move as everyone is a little exhausted by the end!

Do they deal well with personal issues or bullying?

In life not everyone will get on with everyone. I heard from other teachers they had roommates they didn’t get on with. In these instances, people swapped rooms and it was dealt with discreetly. Fortunately, everyone was fantastic and I truly never felt uncomfortable.

What I did find was that the coordinator is there to be your champion. They will do what they can to manage uncomfortable situations or sensitive issues that might arise.

Inside the hotel- the interiors were incredible!

Issues or problems

If there is an issue. For example, a very distressing thing happened to me but they worked fast to ensure my well-being. Perhaps it’s the luck of who you have as a coordinator but I have nothing but praise for mine.

For participants (students) they have a coordinator who speaks their own language. Therefore, the local coordinator deals with their issues. However, nothing terrible really happened in my week there.

Is it possible to do the program with dietary needs or requirements?

Lots of my co-teachers did have various dietary requirements. This was catered for but sometimes they didn’t have the best alternative food options. Again this will differ from place to place, but you can volunteer if your vegetarian or vegan or coeliac etc.

The dining room

Volunteering with disabilities

On the course I did there were volunteers with walking aids and mobility issues. If you tell them during the application process they will take it into account and cater for your needs.

I do believe some venues are not great for wheelchairs. That doesn’t mean you can’t volunteer in another hotel, but it does of course limit your choice.

Pros and Cons

Deposit not given back

This is something quite personal. I was told if I made the decision to leave I could get the deposit back but have since been told that is not what is happening. I went on the program bearing this bad news from home but didn’t tell my coordinator until later in the week when I got another call from home to say there had been another death.

When you push something down it comes back to bite you and I also suffer from anxiety which I wrote candidly about in a previous article. I woke up the day after my program in a city I didn’t know and I couldn’t move after a severe panic attack and knew I’d pushed myself too far.

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Hen was a great support to me as always!

Thanks to my fabulous coordinator

My coordinator was brilliant and fully understanding. Unfortunately, the company have a strict rule about deposits. I knew that would probably happen and I had to either accept that or push myself. What I needed was a safe space and home.

If there’s one thing I can’t stand it’s quitting or giving up but sometimes I need to learn to look after myself and the long hours and enthusiasm you need on junior programmes were going to be too much for me in my state.

Long days

You can see from the schedule that these are long days and they don’t make any secret of that. You need to be prepared for that because by day three it gets tiring.

There is always an hour and a half of free time after lunch so you can quickly eat and go for a nap in your room, I did at least for a few days.

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Get a nap in!

If there are a lot of mentors (teachers) you might find that you get a few lessons off in the week. However, there’s no time to really sightsee – maybe go for a long walk though.

When it comes to the entertainment hour after dinner you can skip it if you’re feeling like your days been too long already. However, it is a great time to bond with people.

Students with very little English and expectations

This might seem like an odd con when you’re talking about volunteering on a language program but let me explain.

If I am teaching a ten-year-old and the parent asked me to do just conversational classes with that student I would say no. At this point, they need to learn through structured lessons, games, songs and other techniques. Holding a conversation for an hour would not be helpful to them.

This is why the junior programmes are so much more demanding. They are geared towards English through games and activities etc which is great.

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Be prepared for different levels of English

Be prepared

You just need to be prepared for a range of levels on adult programmes. I was expecting something completely different and there were a couple of students with very little English.

It does become infinitely more difficult for you as a mentor because you are having to grade your language to different levels. When it’s someone at the pre-intermediate level it becomes harder to keep a conversational class going.

I’m not saying it’s a bad thing that people have a low level of spoken English. I’m saying you need to know how to help those people. If you’re not a teacher I actually think this is a lot of pressure on volunteers.

Meeting incredible people and making friends

Doing one week or multiple weeks will guarantee you meet lots of people from varied backgrounds and make a friend or two and even business contacts!

I think I was destined to do the week I was on because it brought so many genuinely inspiring people into my life. Now I have friends in Canada, South Africa, Germany and the Czech Republic.

One of the participants told me I brought sunshine into the room, which has got to be the sweetest thing.

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I promise I made friends…just don’t want to use their image on a public website!

I was also mentoring an incredible team. Their presentation made me laugh and fill up with joy after we spent a week working together on it. I also now count them as friends!

When I continue traveling I know there will be people I bonded with in a week here that I will see again and keep in touch with.

To know you’ve impacted people’s lives in a positive way and they leave feeling more confident is rewarding. It’s great to give up your time to help others.

Teaching experience

For anyone thinking about becoming a regular teacher or an English as a second language teacher this is a great place to start.

It gets you completely out of your comfort zone in a room full of strangers and forces you to interact with people, get to know them and learn the basic techniques of teaching.

Teaching for fun!

This isn’t you at the front of the class with a whiteboard but it is learning and you are imparting that knowledge.

Really just for building confidence in yourself, public speaking to some extent. For example, if you run an entertainment hour and conversational skills this is a fantastic way to do it.

Beautiful location

Lastly, this is a bit of a superficial bonus but you do get to go to some beautiful countryside locations. You can check the hotels in their roster on their website.

In your free time you can also pay for hotel services like a swimming pool, spa or horse riding.

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The magical Prague!

I chose to go on some woodland walks and explore the neighbouring village with some fellow teachers.

Prague was always on my list to visit so that being the start city really appealed to me too and I’m grateful I got to explore it for a couple of days!

The overall Angloville experience

There are a lot of volunteer programmes out there nowadays that I’m deeply uneasy about in terms of how much are you actually doing to help someone, but this is one I feel is very give and take.

By giving your knowledge and educating people who want to learn the language to further careers, university prospects or to open up a world of travel to them, what’s so bad about that?

Teaching is a skilled job and it’s true that this could be a lot of work for a volunteer but you are getting accommodation in nice hotels, three big meals a day and transfers to the start city. They are very clear it’s not a holiday.

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A walk in Prague city centre the day before the program

Taking it seriously is key

I treated it like any other job, gave a lot of energy to the job I was there to do and took it very seriously and got a lot out of it in terms of contacts and friends.

If you are doing this for multiple weeks you’ve either come a long way from home or you are doing a TEFL. In either case, this was something you are prepared for or indeed need in order to get enough teaching experience in support of your TEFL.

It’s a savvy business model, in fact there are other companies that use the same premise operating in Spain, Germany and Italy such as Diverbo and Speak In Italy.

Objectively, I think you get what they tell you the experience is and it’s not packaged in a way that made me think ‘oh I’m being exploited or overworked’. However, I do think some people might find it a little harder than they expected.

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Walking around at night was dreamy!

In conclusion

Yes as with everything it’s not perfect and people will have complaints but it the overall positivity I took away from the experience itself is overwhelming.

If you are looking for a budget way to travel to Europe and meet the locals this is an excellent cultural exchange if you’re prepared to work for it.

Most importantly it was also FUN and incredibly enlightening to meet so many new and amazing people and make those connections.

If this has inspired you to look into volunteering with Angloville then take a look at their website.

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If you have completed a program with Angloville or another company let us know your experience below! Any questions on volunteering will happily be answered too!

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18 Comments

  1. I have been teaching English online to children, so this is pretty interesting to me! However, it doesn’t sound like you had much time for sightseeing as the schedule only allows about an hour of free time a day or so? If I was making the trip over to Europe I’d also like to have the chance to explore some. However, your accommodation is stunning — I’d love to spend a night at that beautiful estate!

    1. That’s really cool. I’ve been teaching English in Bratislava for a year but just looking to move to online teaching. How do you find it? Yeah the day before you start is your sightseeing day and then it’s full on. It was beautiful and I met such wonderful people though.

  2. Great tips for those thinking of volunteering and teaching abroad. I completed my TEFL online and headed to Asia first to teach English. However, after reading this I think the Czech Republic would be another great option!

    1. Funny you say that, that was my initial plan but by chance we got jobs in Bratislava! The Czech Republic is also a wonderful country and couldn’t recommend it more as a place to go teach. Thanks for reading!

  3. Great tips for those thinking of volunteering and teaching abroad. I completed my TEFL online and headed to Asia first to teach English. However, after reading this I think the Czech Republic would be another great option!

  4. Alysa says:

    This sounds like a great experience! I’ve often heard of teaching English in Asian countries but this is the first one I’ve seen in Europe. I wonder if as an American citizen I would need a special visa for volunteering. Are you able to do it for longer than a week, or is that just for the full time staff? Overall sounds like a great unusual aspect to add to your Europe trip!

    1. This is just voluntary work but there were a lot of Americans on my program! Not sure if they needed a specific visa. Anyone from overseas that I met did three weeks in three different countries, but it can be as long or short as you like. 😊

  5. Volunteering with something like Angloville seems like such a great way to travel to different places and experience new cultures. That is a good point you made about it not being a holiday though. It sounds like it is a lot of work, but could also be quite rewarding! I think this review would be very helpful for anyone considering doing it. Super informative and honest!

    1. Absolutely it’s best for meeting the locals but yes it’s a lot of work! Thank you for reading!

  6. This sounds like such an interesting experience! Did you have enough time for sightseeing and getting to know the city? The schedule of the program sounds quite busy

    1. At my own expense I paid for a night before and after to stay in Prague and sightsee etc so even though they pay for a city tour and lunch the day before you still cover your own accommodation.

  7. […] and get free food and accommodation for a week for your conversational teaching services. We have an honest review of Angloville, and it’s something that you can do all year round if your dates match […]

  8. Hi Mark, firstly thank you for reading and giving your opinion. Firstly, of course they’re not exclusive male qualities, I was simply relaying what women on my course who had also done many programs for the past few years had told me about their own personal experiences. I do know that sex goes on between people, and I do in fact recognize that the instigator can be make or female. I am of this century. Regardless, you’ve taken it completely out of context and blown it up as if that was what I think of men or the company in general. I clearly don’t. The nature of an honest review is to be honest. These are things women traveling solo would ask but what I actually say is ‘I didn’t experience anything like that and you have a mentor to look after your needs’. It’s also “interesting” that’s what you took from the review, which is largely positive. It’s not an attack on all man kind. Anyway, always good to have a debate isn’t it?! Merry Christmas Mark. Hopefully we can meet in person and we can continue this chat on a future program!

  9. I’m not sure I’d have the confidence to do this! It does sound really full on. I also wonder where their money goes if it’s all volunteers? I guess you’re getting everything else for free, and the hotel looks amazing, but still. It sounds like a good experience, just tiring!

    1. There are paid coordinators and they have to pay for accommodation and food etc, the students pay for the course. I’m really glad I did it, I met so many new and lovely people!

  10. Shalita Murdock says:

    Thank you so much for writing this. I’ve just signed up with Angloville and it really really looked too good to be true. But your article convinced me to give it a try!

    1. This makes me so happy! I hope you’ll enjoy it and hopefully now you’re prepared for what it entails! 😊

    2. That’s fantastic to hear! Thank you so much!

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