By Lindsay Strout

It all started two years ago.  Who would have thought I’d be living and teaching in South Korea?! Not me!  While pushing through my final year at UPEI, I met Jim Pellegrini from Global TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages).  After exploring the details and benefits, I decided to take the course to become a certified English teacher.  It turns out this was, by far, one of the best decisions of my life!  I never thought I could change so much in just five days.  During the course I learned a lot about myself and it opened new doors I never knew existed.  Talking with my fellow students and Jim really helped me to focus on what I wanted to do, and how to live for myself.  Upon completing the course, I worked as a Global TESOL recruiter.  I assisted Jim for two courses held in Charlottetown, PEI.  During these courses, I witnessed huge transformations of the students.  It was an eye-opening experience, which showed me what this course can do for people, and the opportunities available upon receiving the certificate.

It took me no time at all to get a job.  Once I arrived in Korea and met my coworkers and students, I fell in love.  Yes, I was homesick, but that didn’t last long.  Soon after my arrival, Korea felt like home.  There are so many great people from all over the world and we’re all here doing the same thing.  We all share a passion for teaching.  With this common connection, I’ve discovered my lifetime friends.

Looking back at my first year in South Korea, I’ve seen enormous improvements by all of my students.  Teaching has become my hobby, rather than just a job.  I rarely feel like I am going to work because I have so much fun with my students.  Yes, I have challenging days, but who doesn’t?  Whether it’s homesickness, physical illness, or cultural differences, what truly picks me up on days like those are my students, friends, and family.  I’ve had amazing support from my friends and family back home and I was lucky enough to have my mother come for a visit.  I was so proud to show her around my new “home”.

Since moving here, I have learned so much about the culture, the language, and the people.  I have learned mostly from my students, as they want to teach me as much as I teach them.  It’s an ongoing learning experience.  I can wholeheartedly say I learn something new every day.  I am able to speak a little bit of the language and converse with the locals, which has improved my life here.

This entire experience has made me a stronger, more outgoing, and more positive person. I would highly suggest taking the opportunity to move abroad. You will learn so much about yourself.  Like I said, I never would have imagined myself where I am today.  This past year, I have had amazing, life-changing experiences which has led me to stay another year in South Korea.

If you are at all interested in teaching and traveling to other parts of the world, please do not hesitate to contact me (stroutie10@gmail.com) or anyone from the Global TESOL team.  There is an upcoming course being offered in Charlottetown from December 18th -21st.  Don’t miss your chance!