After coming to the realization that technical writing was not the career path I wanted to pursue, I ended up moving to South Korea in January 2007 to work as an English language teacher. I worked in Korea until April 2009 and during that time decided that working with students was something I wanted to be a regular part of my future life.
During a break from teaching, I spent seven weeks traveling in Southeast Asia (Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam). Seeing the vast disparity between my own education and the education system in South Korea in comparison with the educational facilities (or lack thereof) in Southeast Asia, my interest was sparked in the comparative aspect of education. Especially thought-provoking was the experience of seeing refugee schools in camps on the Thai-Burmese borders, where children relied on passing tourists such as myself for lessons most of the time. Those experiences led me to Lehigh’s Comparative and International Education program in the Fall of 2009. Since returning from Korea, I’ve had the opportunity for several more positions in ESL that have further engendered my passion for the field:
- From June-August 2009, I volunteered at the Center for Literacy in West Philadelphia, working with undocumented adult women from Mexico, Iraqi refugee families, and uneducated Haitians, among others.
- Through Lehigh’s Prison Project, I tutored Latino prisoners at Northampton County Prison from September 2009-May 2010. We worked on resume writing, cover letters, and basic literacy and computer skills so that the prisoners might be better prepared to find meaningful employment after their release.
- Again in Korea, I taught at a winter English Camp for elementary school students at the Hankuk University of Foreign Studies in January 2010, and then another camp at Yonsei University’s Foreign Language Institute in January 2011 (my narration is on the Angry Birds video). I returned to Yonsei for the Doosan Junior Global Academy in July-August 2011, where I taught writing to elementary age students.
- During the summer of 2010, I taught an SAT preparation for Korean high school students hoping to attend university in the US. The course focused on critical reading, essay writing, grammar, and current events to build general knowledge for use in recognizing reading topics and creating ideas for essay writing. The course was run by Kaplan Korea, a branch of Jungbo Eduline.
From September 2011 – August 2012, I was the English language teacher at Beomeo Elementary School in Yangsan, a growing city on the outskirts of Busan. During my time at Beomeo, I participated in several training programs (both live and on-line) as part of the EPIK Program.
In September 2012, I joined Pusan National University’s Practical English Department for the Fall 2012 semester. At PNU, I taught general education English courses to a variety of majors. The Practical English Department is affiliated with the University’s International Languages Institute.