The Crestiad

Cedar Crest College newspaper since 1923

Teaching English Abroad

By Gabrielle Johnson, Staff Writer

As college graduates struggle to find jobs, even outside of their chosen fields, some have begun to look elsewhere for the employment opportunities they need to pay off their evil loans.

Moving to a foreign country, where you know none of the language and none of the people, may seem like a drastic decision to make right out of college. But, it is an option many people are finding to be a better alternative than living with their parents while they try to find work.

Countries all over the world, from South Korea to Chile to Spain, are looking for young, recent graduates to teach English to both children in schools and adults wanting to learn a second language. Many of these jobs offer benefits like free accommodations, free round trip flight, and medical insurance, which are appealing to recent graduates who may not be able to afford those things otherwise.

One Cedar Crest graduate, Rachel Morgandale, has chosen to live a year in South Korea, teaching English at an elementary school in Seoul.

Morgandale, who graduated in 2013, had teaching abroad in mind once she noticed the likelihood of finding a job in her area was slim. She attended the Bahrom International Program, which was important in her choice to teaching in South Korea.

“I applied for some jobs domestically to see what was out there,” said Morgandale in a Skype interview, “but there wasn’t much available to me beyond unpaid or barely paid internships.”

Originally wanting to go into publishing, Morgandale wasn’t the only graduate who quickly discovered that she would have to settle for less or find an alternative. At the beginning of 2013, half of recent college graduates were reported as working jobs that didn’t require a degree, with almost 40 percent had jobs that didn’t even require a high school diploma.

Morgandale, not wanting to be part of the 50 percent, reached out to several schools in Korea and quickly found herself with three different options. Making a decision to accept one of the contracts, she left for Korea on a Friday and was planning lessons by Monday.  The contract, like most, is for a year-long teaching stint. Contracts are short, which is good if a teacher decides teaching isn’t right for them, but usually renewable, if they want to teach for longer.

It’s not all positive, of course. Morgandale says, while she has enjoyed her time in Korea thus far, that the teaching job has made her “reevaluate [her] talent with children.”

The language barrier may seem intimidating at first, but Morgandale claims it gets better quickly.

“I’m picking up some things from my students and the other teachers,” Morgandale said. “They taught me how to order a beer the other night, you know, useful things. There’s a class starting nearby that I might check out.”

Deciding to teach abroad may seem intimidating, but it also may be a welcome choice to students who aren’t sure what career they wish to pursue, or are finding their choices to be more limited than they wish.

“I think it’s very easy to play it safe and try to do all the things you’re supposed to do without considering what you want to do.” Morgandale said, bringing the interview to a close, “but this gives me time to consider what I want to do.”


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This entry was posted on September 27, 2013 by in 2013, News and tagged .
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