in this issue
1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7

Hill Returns to Classroom

Hendricks Named Interim Chair

2008 Undergraduate Conference Presenters

Awards Day Award Recipients

Toto Pulls the Curtain on Dr. Donohoe

Kendra Parker Blog Update

Finding a Career Took Me an Around the World Journey

Ever Considered Teaching Abroad?

McRae Selected to Attend Prestigious Seminar for Poets

In Every Issue

Job Spotlight

Cheers

Course Descriptions

Spring 2009

Finding a Career Took Me an Around-the-World Journey
By Ali Makins

I had no idea how I wanted to use my English degree when I graduated from UWG. I felt like I could do and be anything, but I also felt suffocated by the burden of the options and the importance of the decision. I didn’t yet appreciate that finding a career can be, and perhaps should be, a journey as satisfying as the destination itself. My journey took me around the world, literally, and then right back home.

I began working as a legal assistant at a law firm in Atlanta, but I knew there was more that I needed to do and see before I chose a career. Seeking inspiration, I first went to South Korea to teach English. I worked at a private school in Seoul teaching kindergarten and elementary-school students. After my contract ended, I moved to Ban Phe, Thailand to earn my TEFL certification. I then spent a few months as a volunteer near Ang Thong, in a small village about a two hour bus ride north of Bangkok. I stayed with a host family and volunteered as an English teacher at a Buddhist temple, which also served as the school. The village had one paved road and no running water, and no one in my village spoke English. I picked up Thai fairly quickly, though, and my neighbors became my best friends. This experience was the turning point for me in realizing how I wanted to live my life.

I left my village in December 2006 due to excessive flooding; the monsoon season was worse than usual, and the rivers were unable to accommodate the extra water. The officials in Bangkok barricaded the city so that the flooding wouldn't affect tourism, causing the rural areas north of the city—like my village—to flood more.

 

When I left, my home was nearly four feet underwater, and my school was submerged to the second story. Luckily my home was on eight-foot stilts, and we were able to build a bridge to dry land. I lived in my home for a month after the flood waters submerged the village, before my parents pressured me into evacuating, and not once did any group provide any assistance. The flooding caused crop prices to skyrocket, impaired our access to medicine and health care, and prevented many from working, but no one came to our aid. I knew then that I wanted to spend my life ensuring the protection of those in similar circumstances.

I moved back to Atlanta, and I am currently in law school at Georgia State University. In our country we have the amazing ability and responsibility as citizens to influence, create, and shape the laws and policies that protect us, and I know I want to be a part of that process. My journey started with my English degree, and five years later, brought me right back into the classroom. But now I know who I am and what I have to do.


Ever Considered Teaching Abroad?
By Bric Barker

For someone fresh out of college needing that critical two years of teaching experience schools seem to require before they will take an applicant seriously, teaching outside the United States is not a bad idea.

Finding a job overseas is not as difficult as you may think. There are job fairs sponsored by professional organizations such as CIS (Council of International Schools) and ISS (International School Services). To go this route, simply join one of these organizations, submit the pertinent documents (c.v., diploma copy, transcripts, letters of recommendation, and so on), and attend one of their job fairs. They then circulate your information among the international schools that are recruiting. Once you arrive at the fair, the host organization will deliver to you a list and schedule

 

of appointments of schools wishing to interview you. Then it’s simply a matter of interviewing and landing the job at the location you want.

There are definitely pros and cons to teaching abroad. The pros, in my opinion, far outweigh the cons. I am currently teaching at a private boarding school in Taiwan called Ivy Collegiate Academy. We have about 140 students, most of whom board here. The majority of the international faculty also lives here for free. Because they have to feed the students, we also eat for free if we choose. Because I live where I work, I don’t have to drive, which means no car, insurance, or gas expenses. I don’t pay for utilities, nor do I have to pay for sightseeing because the school arranges trips every weekend for the kids, and even if I am not chaperoning, our school allows for teachers off duty to tag along. Sounds too good to be true, right?

The downside, for some, is the constant interaction with the students who also live here. It’s easy to become overwhelmed when you are eating, and students are asking you about homework. We also have evening and weekend duties, so it can seem daunting at times. But for those who enjoy interacting with students, there’s always a basketball or volleyball game to join, ping-pong tables on every floor, and a huge track out back for jogging. There are teacher-led activities and clubs, so whatever your hobby is, it can be turned into an activity to share with students.

My best advice is to check out the career placement services at the university. That’s what led to my first oversea job in South Korea!