When I was in high school, I had a dream to live and work in another country. Through my middle and high school years, I had gone on several short-term missions trips with my church, and I was enamored with the Hispanic culture. With this goal in mind, I chose Spanish as my undergraduate major (with a minor in French), and decided to pursue graduate studies in teaching English as a second language. With my language focus, I fully expected to go to northern Africa, perhaps Morocco, to teach English.
However, upon graduation, I moved back to my hometown of St. Louis. This was not what I’d expected!
In St. Louis, I pursued opportunities to teach languages, especially English to international students. When I finally started teaching for Maryville University’s Intensive English Program, I became exposed to more international teaching opportunities. First, I applied to the JET program, sponsored by the Japanese government, but the timing wasn’t right. Later, I applied to teach in S. Korea, and the rest, as they say, is history.
I had many opportunities to give up pursuing my goal of living and working in another country, but I never wavered in my determination. However, though my years in S. Korea were a wonderful period of personal and professional development, pursuit of my dream did not lead me where I expected. I have learned that a dream fulfilled will most likely not closely resemble the dream as it was first conceived.
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