Fear gripped my chest as I entered the plane. The feeling surprised me as I clutched my carry-on a little tighter. I was heading to Berlin, and after six years of wandering around the world, I was finally ‘settling down’ for grad school. The thought of staying in one place for two whole years made me feel nervous as questions flew through my mind:
Would I like Berlin?
What if I hated it?
Would I be able to afford to live in the city?
And, probably the most worrisome question of all,
“How would I be able to find a job when I didn’t even speak German?”
I had at best three months worth of savings to get me by, but I would need to find a job to survive in Berlin.
I tried my best to push these thoughts from my mind as the plane’s wheels left the pavement. There were so many exciting things to look forward to, and, I told myself, I could worry about work later!
Life in a capital city turned out to be more exciting than I’d hoped. I made friends at school and had an apartment that looked over some beautiful terraced apartments. Compared to the hostels I had grown accustomed to the past few years, the place felt like a palace.
Unfortunately, the joy I felt was continuously interrupted by the constant knowledge that my savings were quickly depleting. A month and a half in, reality hit me:
I needed to find a job
But I didn’t speak German. I wouldn’t have my work permit for another month, and I didn’t even have a bike for one of those food delivery jobs. As the days went on, I explored dozens of options, until one day, a friend suggested,
“Why don’t you teach English?”
Again, I wondered if this was possible. I didn’t have the money for a teaching certificate, and frankly, I didn’t have the time either. I’d be out of money by the end of the year if I didn’t find something fast.
Discovering the magic of Cambly
I wasn’t sure about the platform at first. I mean, I’d be speaking to adults, and I wasn’t sure if I had the skills to be a good teacher. I began to question myself again, just as I had questioned my choices back when I first moved to Berlin.
What if I made mistakes?
What if my level of knowledge wasn’t sufficient?
But I was getting desperate, so I took the risk and applied.
It wasn’t long before I heard back from Cambly. After having received polite rejections from some other jobs, I was nervous. Hesitantly clicking “open email”, relief spread through my being as I read on.
They were interested in hiring me!
Then I wondered, is Cambly legit?
Quickly, I found that Cambly is entirely legit, and the best part was that I could work from anywhere, at any time of day! All I needed, they said, was a quiet space, a laptop, and a stable internet connection.
I could make my own schedule, which fit perfectly with going to graduate school, and would be able to continue teaching wherever life would take me!
I quickly set up my Cambly profile and was ready to begin teaching.
Opening my hours & making the first Cambly call
I sat behind my computer looking at the Priority Hours page, mouse idling above the time slots. Again, questions came to my mind.
What if the person doesn’t like me?
What if I don’t understand their English?
What if it’s awkward?
But again, I knew I needed to try. So, I hesitantly clicked on a priority hour—just one for starters. I would see how it went.
My first call was from a man from Saudi. My initial questions, “How are you?” and “Where are you from?” were met with a nearly abrupt halt.
“Okay, look,” he said, not unkindly, “I’ve been on Cambly a long time. I hear the same questions over and over again.”
I felt my spirit deflate. My first conversation wasn’t going as planned, but I kept listening anyway.
“You’re new, right?” He continued.
I nodded, “This is my first chat, actually.”
“Okay,” he said, “well, here’s some advice if you want to be a really good tutor. Don’t ask the same old questions. Ask unique questions, things that are out of the ordinary. Be yourself and really get to know the people you’re talking to. That will keep them coming back to you.”
Our conversation ended after the allotted time, and I waited a few minutes before the next student called, deciding I would take his advice. The second conversation was, surprisingly, easy. We shared some laughs, and the time flew by. By the end of the first priority hour, I was feeling confident enough to try another one.
And that was the beginning of one of the best decisions of my life.
It’s not an exaggeration to say that Cambly has been a lifesaver this past year. Despite moving to a new country, being unable to speak German, and a little thing called Covid-19, I’ve been able to afford to live in the city, pay for graduate school, and I have brought my lessons with me on vacations to Amsterdam and the United States!
Not only is the flexibility perfect for my versatile lifestyle, but the people I’ve met through Cambly have enriched my life in innumerable ways. I’ve met lawyers, teachers, artists, musicians, engineers, students, those in their sixties and young children of four from all walks of life.
There is a woman from Korea who is an artist. We talk about our lives, challenges, and our dreams.🇰🇷
I speak with a man from Brazil. He’s taught me about programming, cyber security, and end-to-end encryption. 🇧🇷
I know a man from Ukraine, and we laugh endlessly, our thirty-minute sessions flying by.🇺🇦
A little boy from Turkey finally discovered that ‘English A’ is different from ‘Turkish E’ (Tic-Tac-Toe for the win!)🇹🇷
I would never have met these individuals were it not for Cambly.
Cambly is one of the most rewarding and fun jobs I’ve ever had, and I’m so glad to know that no matter what happens in my life, no matter where I go, or what I decide to do, I will always have Cambly!
If you’re interested in learning how Cambly can work for your lifestyle, leave a comment below or click on the button to apply today!
About the Writer
Anna is currently living in Berlin, financing her graduate studies by teaching on Cambly! She is studying international social work and loves talking with people about their past experiences, passions and dreams. She also enjoys teaching students new phrases. She can usually be found in a park, studying, lying in the sun or practising tightrope.