TLG was created in order to promote English language education and cultural exchange in Georgia. In accordance with that mission, and with the priorities of Georgia’s new administration, TLG has undertaken several reforms that we’re quite proud of and that we would like to share with you, the loyal TLG blog readers.
1. More money for host families! TLG will pay for volunteers to give their host families some extra money each month (look here for details). This money helps pay for the expense of hosting us – for the heat, electricity, internet, and of course the khatchapuri! We don’t think that hosting a TLGV should be a hardship for a Georgian family, and the extra money helps bring new host families into the program and keep existing relationships going smoothly.
2. Localized support! TLG will be sending out monitoring and support teams to visit volunteers at their schools, host families, and local communities. These teams will assess the situation and provide any needed help and support for TLG volunteers and their coteachers, students, school administrations, and host families. We hope this will improve the co-teaching relationship, increase TLG volunteers’ access to school resources, and enhance overall communication for all parties.
3. New phone and insurance plans! The TLG corporate carrier is now Magti, which for us means lower phone bills! By the way, here’s a pro tip: copy your contacts from your SIM card onto your phone by going to Menu -> Contacts -> Copy -> From SIM Card to Phone. Then when you put your new SIM in you’ll still have all your saved numbers. Our medical insurance plans have also been expanded to include some previously uncovered expenses, such as certain chronic conditions. Hooray for the cost of living going down!
4. New Social Media! We have a new social media coordinator who has grand plans, including an interactive travel guide to Georgia created by TLGVs for TLGVs. We’re also currently recruiting some new bloggers, who we hope to introduce to you any day now, so stay tuned!
5. Recruiting for the new year! This isn’t strictly new, but we thought we’d let you know that TLG will continue for the next school year. Current volunteers will be able to apply for a one- or two-semester contract extension, and renewal decisions will be made based on recommendations from schools, families, and TLG staff. New volunteers will be asked to sign on for two semesters – they will arrive in advance of the Fall 2013 semester and stay until June 2014.
Many of these reforms have already taken effect, so if you’re a volunteer, tell us what you think! TLG is always working to make every semester better than the last, and we’re always happy to hear feedback!