Must be that time of year because I’ve been getting a few more emails and whatnot asking me if the pay at my teaching gig in Ukraine was worth it or not. Clearly AEC must be recruiting for English teachers to make it through the winter season, and since I blogged about my time with them before, interested parties seek me out or advice.
The hardest thing to answer, however, when it comes to teaching there would be whether or not the pay was worth it.
Hmm… well, let me backtrack.
When I arrived in Ukraine, the hvrivna was starting to suffer because of the global financial crisis. About a month in, the local currency plummeted big time, affecting everyone, especially the amount of money (in USD equivalent) the teachers were paid. This was a big problem for me, and it taught me a lesson to always inquire about what would happen with pay given currency fluctuations and how you are quoted in a contract. Long story short, there was a big meeting at the beginning of the currency dramas that left us all a little frustrated.
See, before I went, I calculated approximately how much money I expected to spend and save given the income quoted from the school. At that rate, I would have about $400 extra each month to use for travel and to make my monthly student loan payments (which are quite small) back in the USA. After the currency dramas, that extra amount of fun money pretty much disappeared.
While I had plenty of money to live my life in Ukraine, the truth is that wasn’t the only reason I took the job. I took it because it was a country where I could practice my Russian, and I also liked the idea of being in Eastern Europe for quick jaunts to neighboring areas, which I planned to do with the savings.
So, there were now to be no hops over to Belarus, no Sharm el Sheikh holidays and definitely no Polish wanders without going into debt…
For me, at the time, it was not working. It didn’t help that I had also met Pat prior to arriving, so I decided to leave and head to Australia where I could work and get decent money in return.
Still, that doesn’t mean that the pay wasn’t good. For those looking to really live in Ukraine and who are not interested in the money in particular, AEC was great. I have no idea what they are paying these days, or how the currency is converting, so I think you should look into the school and inquire as much as possible before signing up. I don’t think it’s a bad setup; maybe just not for everyone. It depends on your personal goals and needs as to whether the offer is good enough. Other than that, I can only offer my personal experiences above. Good luck, future teachers!