Stories From Teaching English Abroad

We asked our Facebook followers to share their teaching English abroad experiences and photos. Read some of their inspiring stories below. 

A Monk and a Cell Phone

- K. Kincaid

"Watch out! These ladies look nice and sweet, but when you pass one on the street they might just knock you down.  It's a part of their culture. In fact, most people in Korea bump into other each at least a few times a day. It's not considered rude or abnormal. With crowded streets and subways people have discovered they don't have time to be polite. The unexpected is always expected. Such as seeing a monk with a better cell phone than mine, eating kimchi, and talking with people from other countries. I wake up thinking about where I want to travel and what I want to do next. I think about a child crying, because she’ll miss me, and the DMZ trip where I broke the rules, but still survived.  I suggest to everyone leave your current life for a moment and experience the unexpected in a different country!"  

Inspire By Example

- N. Scherf

"After college, I felt my spirit searching for a greater sense of purpose. I was lost in a sea of post-graduate doubt and debt. One day, rummaging through a box of my childhood belongings, I found an old wristband. It was engraved: 'INSPIRE BY EXAMPLE.'  That was my light bulb moment. I realized, 'I should teach ESL.' I’d always wanted to travel and make a difference. Months later, I was teaching English to elementary students in Seoul. It was extraordinary to watch my students’ English abilities develop before my eyes. I even achieved personal goals I never thought were actually attainable. I ran a marathon, white water rafted, climbed mountains, zip-lined, and went bungee jumping. I traveled all over Asia, and saw the beauty of the world firsthand. Today, my goal to live with intention and see the world is more alive than ever."

Never-Ending Journey

- K. Cother

"One month after finishing Oxford Seminars, I received a job offer in Japan. I was teaching near Tokyo during the March 11 earthquake. It was a very sad and scary time for the country and me. I made the decision to stay in Japan and continue teaching English. Watching this country pull together during such a tragic time moved me and motivated me to be a better person and teacher. The Japanese people have been so kind, welcoming and grateful for me coming over and teaching them, and even more grateful for me staying during their time of need. I have made the most amazing friends, met the love of my life, and journeyed to places beyond my wildest dreams. Teaching abroad has not only given me the confidence to go out on my own and learn new things about other countries, but also to learn new things about myself."

Big Hearts in Little Tactic, Guatemala

- H. Carpenter

"I have a heart for missions so I volunteered for a non-profit organization in Tactic, Guatemala where they have a child sponsorship program. I had friends and family who supported my 8 month adventure so I thought it would be special to have a class make cards for them. I gave each child a piece of paper, stickers, and pencil. If you know anything about small villages in Guatemala, you know they live off very little. At the end of the class the students came to give back the pencils. I said 'No, es para ti!'  (It's for you!). Their faces lit up and one by one they came to say 'Gracias!' and many gave me a hug. (You'd think I'd given them a new iPod!). Yes, I could have went somewhere and been paid, but you can’t put a price on an experience that changes your life forever."

Pancakes in The Bathroom

- J. O’Neil

“'Where are you going? We're in the middle of English lessons.' 'Jenny, necesito hacer....' I abruptly stop him, 'Only English with me, you know the rules.' His face scrunches as he sits, arms tightly folded. A little boy's nanny and English tutor in Southern Spain needs a lot of patience. Fortunately, intense staring contests are my specialty and he breaks only after five minutes. 'Fine,' he says defiantly. 'What do you call...when we CREATE pancakes in the kitchen?' he timidly asks. I smile showing appreciation for his hard work. 'We MAKE pancakes.' Suddenly, he runs towards the restroom and screams, 'I need to MAKE a POO!!!' I later learned that in Spanish the verb 'to MAKE' is used for both pancakes and the bathroom."

Najac The Great

- E. Jolee

"I agreed months in advance to teach English in Lebrun, Haiti. I was not looking forward to the experience because  I was going through a difficult time in my own life. Within my 1st couple of days of teaching, I met the sweetest boy named Najac. He struggled to learn English and I could tell by our conversations he was struggling in his own life as well. A few weeks later, Najac opened up to me and told me he had witnessed his parent’s murder and then he had to take care of his younger siblings after their death. Najac was only 9. His life story really hit home with me and made my problems seem so insignificant compared to his. I dedicated myself to Najac and within weeks, he was speaking English fluently. His amazing story and dedication for survival always makes me feel proud of what I do."

These stories and photos were submitted through our Facebook "Share Your Teaching English Abroad Experience and Win" sweepstakes. To be informed about future sweepstakes and to learn more information about teaching English abroad, go to the Oxford Seminars page on Facebook and 'Like' us. For more stories about teaching English abroad, visit our Graduates' Stories page.

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