I started learning languages as a kid. At first, I learned because I had to in school. Most students know this experience: listen to the teacher, study, take a test, repeat.
It wasn’t until I went abroad later that I finally realized how much I actually loved learning new languages and understood how languages can open doors to different cultures, ways of thinking, and can even build your personal confidence and push you to grow as a person. That was a turning point for me and since then, I’ve become a life-long language learner.
So how did deciding to study languages bring me to my career as an online English language teacher with more than a decade of experience?
It started just after I graduated from high school in the USA and went on a Rotary Club exchange to Lüdenscheid, Germany. There I met another exchange student from Taiwan who became a good friend of mine that year. Aside from inspiring me to work harder on my German (her German was so much better than mine!), she taught me some phrases in Chinese and got me interested in traveling to Taiwan. She encouraged me to study Chinese at my university and gave me the idea to travel to Taiwan after I graduated.
At Smith College, I majored in French and continued German classes. Remembering my friend, I began a couple semesters of Chinese. Of course, I interrupted it all to study abroad again in Paris during my junior year.
When I returned to finish university, I continued Chinese and began to form my plan for how to travel to Taiwan. My previous exchange years abroad had taught me that it takes a lot of time to learn a language, so I thought one month in Taiwan would be too short. However, I wasn’t exactly rich enough to go there and just live again as a student.
My best option was to become an English teacher abroad and work as I studied traditional Mandarin Chinese. Little did I know that I had found “my calling”.
In 2008, I moved to Taipei, Taiwan and began a one-year contract teaching adult English conversation classes and business English at Kojen American English School. All the while, I studied Chinese at National Taiwan Normal University, the Taipei Language Institute, and from private tutors and language exchange partners. I discovered that I loved living in Taiwan and I loved teaching, so my initial plan to stay for just one year eventually stretched to two…three…almost five years!
Eventually, I decided to leave Taiwan to travel to other countries and ended up in Vitoria, Brazil, teaching at the bilingual program at Centro Educacional Leonardo da Vinci for two more years, picking up some Portuguese along the way.
Finally, I moved back Vermont in the USA and settled nearer to my family. Unfortunately, my little state of Vermont is not a very diverse place and there isn’t a very large need for English language teachers. I was determined to keep doing the job I loved, so I decided to take it online and start my website to connect my students internationally.
Five years and nearly 6,000 online classes later, I am as dedicated as ever to helping my students grow their confidence and skills in English and have fun doing it.
Now that you know my story learning and teaching, tell me yours! What inspired you to start your journey learning English?
- I got interviewed by DaringSpirits.com! Check out the interview and their website here.
- I have also been Featured on the Cafetalk website here.
Use Google Translate (*Note: Translations may be strange, because Google Translate is not perfect.)