Will I definitely pass the ski/snowboard instructors' exams?
No. Obviously this cannot be guaranteed, but if you can ski parallel or have the equivalent standard in snowboarding, the program we have put together means that your German will be good enough to enable you to understand the compulsory part of the exam, and you will have enough "kilometres under your feet" as Hans, our director, describes it, to ski/snowboard well and confidently, to put you in with a good chance. We've had some beginners at German pass the course, and we had someone whose German was good, but who hadn't skied for 4 years, pass the course.
What's the exam like?
It's in two parts, written and practical. It's all in German, and it lasts for one day.
If I pass, will I definitely get work for the whole season?
If you're a member of the European Union, there should be no problem working in Austria. If you are not European, you cannot be certain of getting work, although there is a chance, especially if you can speak Russian. Having learned German will be an excellent advantage. Some ski schools don't take instructors who can't speak German, and others favour their German-speaking instructors.
Can I extend my course?
We are always very pleased if a student has enjoyed the course so much he/she would like to extend. This is usually possible and you can usually retain the room you originally booked. There may be some pressure during the high seasons, but we make every possible effort to ensure that you can stay on and further your studies.
How much will I earn as a ski/snowboard instructor?
About 940 Euro per month.
Where will I live if I work as a ski/snowboard instructor?
The ski schools have houses for instructors. This is student-type accommodation with shared bathrooms and kitchens. It costs about from 70 Euro per month. Again, this cannot be guaranteed but generally the ski schools help instructors looking for accommodation.
How long is the season?
From just before Christmas to about mid to end of March. Please note: you should be available to work over Christmas.
Can I come back to the school for further German courses after the end of the season?
Certainly! You'd be very welcome. We are open all year and you can begin your course on any Monday. "Graduates" of the Gap Year program will be offered the reduced course price for long term students.
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I'm a good skier but a complete beginner at German, can I take the course?
Yes. The course is open to students of all standards. Your German ought to be good enough after 8 weeks of intensive learning. 3 hours a day, 4 days a week, concentrating on only one subject is very intense, and you should expect to make good progress.
My German's excellent, but I've never skied - can I take the course?
Yes. If you've never skied in your life ever, then it would be advisable to pay for private lessons for the first couple of weekends. You could then decide at the end of say, the 9th week whether you wanted to try for the instructors' exam or not. If you wanted to stay in Kitzbühel after the course, during the season doing other types of work, then October and November are the months to start looking. There is plenty of bar/hotel type work advertised in the local papers at this time, and DIT staff would be very happy to help you. You shouldn't expect to earn more than about 450 Euro per month.
How much progress in German should I expect to make in 8 weeks?
The "progress" question is always the hardest to answer. A lot depends on how hard you work, your aptitude for languages, your attendance record etc. At our school, we have very small classes, never more than 6 students per class, which means that you progress much faster than usual.
How much "pocket money" will I need per week?
You pay for your own lunch. In Kaprun, this will be on the mountain, and in Kitzbühel most people go to the supermarket and buy filled rolls, yoghurt, fruit etc for lunch. You also pay for Sunday dinner. Apart from this it's a matter of how much beer you drink, newspapers, souvenirs etc. In Kaprun, you may have to pay for the bus between your accommodation and the glacier in October. As this is always payable in very small amounts of cash, it was not really practical to include this in the total price for the course. The same may be true for the week's skiing/snowboarding in Kitzbühel. 100 Euro per week is probably enough.
What should I bring?
Bedding is provided in all accommodation, but bring a towel as you'll need it in Kaprun. Bring all your own ski gear as none is provided. You should reckon with all weather conditions. Bring a good coat and shoes for the evenings, swimming kit, gym kit, 2 notebooks for lessons, a dictionary and coloured pens.
How dangerous is the program?
Skiing/snowboarding anywhere could result in injury, but glacier skiing/snowboarding is not more dangerous than on ordinary pistes. It doesn't look any different and the gradients are rated in the same way.
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