As I am nearing my last year of college I have been asked recently a few times why I want to teach English abroad in different countries.
I had been struggling to put it into words until today. I was sent this photo from my time in Sevilla, Spain where I was both a student at a university and volunteered as an English teacher at a second hand clothing store. This photo was taken during my last lesson with my class. We were celebrating a semester of hard work by playing on a nearby play structure. While playing, one of the other American volunteers snapped this photo. However, our smiles would soon be joined with tears of joy and sadness an hour later as me and the other American teachers told them how special they were and said goodbye for the last time. The reality was I was returning to my country. Though I may return to Sevilla, Spain one day, my chances of seeing my lovely students again is incredibly slim. Nonetheless, while reflecting on this experience and this photo, I realized they embodied every reason I want to teach English abroad:
– I want to learn about another language and culture while sharing my own
– I want to provide my students with opportunities that the English language tends to open up in our world today
– I want to show my students that they are loved and capable
All in all, I want to impact my students lives at least a little bit as much as they have impacted mine. Even if these students never remember the crazy redheaded American who swirled in and out of their lives in a couple of months (though honestly that is not the important part anyway), I hope that in some way, shape, or form, I have made their lives better. I know mine is having known them.
In short, those smiling faces, both the students and mine, is the reason I have devoted my life to experiencing every moment of difficulty and fulfillment that comes with teaching English abroad.