Teaching English in Georgia
11 November, 2010
Teaching English in Georgia

EMILY  FOWLER

Philip Tappan has embarked on a year-long teaching gig in the Republic of Georgia. Several weeks ago, he wasn’t aware the opportunity existed. Frustrated from a fruitless job search, Philip, a recent graduate of SUNY Freedonia and Messiah College with hopes of becoming an orchestra conductor, looked to the Internet and found the teaching opportunity.
“I think it took at least 12 searches until I found this, almost serendipitously,” said Tappan, of the website, a host for cultural

exchange, that he believes will like change his life.
The program is a union between a company, Greenheart Travel, and its sponsor, the Georgian government, and offers benefits to volunteers in exchange for teaching English there.
Besides earning a stipend of 500 Georgian lari, the equivalent of about $300, per month, he said, Tappan will be provided with medical insurance at no cost. The program covers airfare, including an extra round trip ticket to come home for a holiday break during the year. Tappan will live with a host family, which will have at least one English speaker. An orientation will prepare him with training and the basics of the Georgian language. He will follow a set curriculum there, teaching about 30 hours per week.
“I’m excited to become immersed in the culture and involved in the community,” said Tappan, who has his state teaching certification and a life-long love of music.
While still in its infancy, the program is an initiative by Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili to enrich its youngest citizens and in turn, the country as a whole. Located on the Black Sea, the Republic of Georgia has seen its share of struggles, including military conflict and poverty.
But such programs and efforts by the current regime are credited with contributing to recent improved conditions for Georgians.
“I feel good about the program. I can’t help but want to be a part of it,” Tappan said. “They made the opportunity so attractive, they’re really out to make this work.”
With deep historical and religious roots, and a rich cultural center supporting the arts in the capital city, the location seems to be a perfect fit for both Tappan’s personal and professional interests. Hoping to connect with a youth orchestra there, Tappan said: “It will be nice if I can become part of the musical culture. My hope is to teach music over there, too. It is the most I have to offer.”
Today’s latest technology will make keeping in contact with friends and family back home easy, Tappan said. He intends to document his experience through a blog, correspond through e-mail, Skype and post photos and videos on Facebook, Tappan said.

Prepared by
Vladymir  Voina

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