11 August 2010

Why Prague? Why Teaching? Why Now?

My short history of why I chose to move to Prague.

I'd like to tell my whole story of why I chose to do this, why Prague, why teaching when I've never done it before.

My story begins in the spring of 2008 when I was with YWAM Orlando and fully realized that I have a huge heart for Europe, the people, the church or lack thereof, the languages, the youth, the history and art, the public transportation, and hostel life.

My first week in YWAM (Youth With A Mission's Discipleship Training School) they asked us if money wasn't an issue, what would we be doing for the Kingdom of God. Immediately my answer was, "I'd be in Europe helping to reform the church to make it alive and relevant to a continent that felt believing in God was for the uneducated." My answer surprised me, but it felt so right and so much a part of me and who I felt God was shaping me to be throughout me life.

Now I will jump to the fall of 2008. I was studying abroad in Italy for the semester and my roommates and I traveled to Prague for a long weekend in November with Bus2Alps. We experienced the first snow of the season while we were there. My first snowfall ever! One day while we were crossing the Charles Bridge Tara told me she could see me over here teaching after we had a conversation about how beautiful the city was and how much we loved Europe and weren't ready to leave it in a month. I, of course, laughed it off not thinking that would ever really happen. If I came back I would want to be in Italy again, or perhaps France, a country I have always held close to my heart.

So I went back home to Florida. Graduated from college. And realized I had no idea what I wanted to do. For the first time in my life I was not a student. I had grown up with many dreams and goals and yet I was finding out that a lot of them had to do with college and traveling--not actually finding a job upon receiving my diploma. All of the potential careers I had looked into were too "grown-up" for me (for the time being, at least). After my two internships at museums I realized that I did enjoy that line of work and yet I felt like I had to have a mortgage and a husband and be roughly 30 and have a line of degrees behind me.

No thanks.

At least not yet.

So I asked myself, "What can I do while traveling and yet make a living and survive like the adult I should be?" The answer was obvious: TEFL (Teach English as a Foreign Language). Don't get me wrong, I'm terrified by the idea of teaching in a classroom. Yet, the best experiences I've had in life thus far have been from things I was scared of and hesitant about, or at the least, anxious about. After some thinking and researching I decided to apply for a TEFL training school. Now, the choice lay for a long time between Florence and Prague. Which program? Which city? I leaned between the two. Then one day it was is if Prague chose me. It felt right. Plus, I had all of these "coincidences" happening...

I was watching the TEFL Worldwide Prague program video online and the piano piece from Amelie played in the background. This song I hold dear to my heart; it has so many memories attached and feelings about Europe and longings. No one knows how special this short little melody is to me, except God. While watching the video I didn't know if I should cry or laugh! Or celebrate!

Another "coincidence" occured when I found out that the poet, Chistopher Buckley, who liked my work in The Flagler Review and has been a kind of mentor to me was a teacher at the Prague Summer Program this past summer. Throughout our emails it never came up, then one day I found out that he was going to be in Prague teaching Creative Writing! Perhaps next summer I can apply and improve my writing skills while living over there.

Besides these couple "coincidences" I have also found that there is a thriving English community in Prague, complete with churches, a newspaper, bookstores, libraries, women's groups, poetry readings, a YWAM base, and university-age small groups.

At times I have wondered if I am making the right choice. It can be scary. I am spending my life's savings on this step of faith. I don't have a signed contract with a school yet. And after one month I will be in search of a place to live. Yet, in my heart I know that God has my back. He's already in Prague and he's with me throughout the preparations and he will follow me over there. Or maybe it's me who is following him over there.

All I've got is my faith, my trust, and my hope in things unseen as of now. But, you know, that's enough to live on.



  1. I just stumbled upon your blog... Looks like teaching in Prague is a great experience for you.. My friends and I work in Korea as English Teachers and we are planning on moving and teaching in Korea this summer (from what we have read, September is the new school year). If your wouldn't mind, I would love to ask you some questions about prague! My e-mail address is abbygmichelsen@yahoo.com... Thank you for your help!

  2. First of all Hannah, I am so glad that you have a blog, so I can read in detail about this AWESOME adventure you are so blessed to be on. Secondly, I am extremely proud of your faith and trust in God, and even though you may be nervous and stumbling around in the dark at times, and you should always remember that with out him you can do nothing... I also hope that you put some faith and trust in yourself as well. You have very good judgement, and are already more grown up than you realize. You have always been a well put together person. And, almost a year after this post, things have worked out wonderfully! So remember that in the future, when you take your next big plunge :)


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