“I taught English and they taught me what it really means to need it”
From Ohio to Vietnam
Growing up in a small city in Ohio, USA, I lived a comfortable, stable and secure life, full of promise. I was grateful but I started to dream of a future filled with adventure and opportunities to help others less fortunate than me. To realize this ambition, I knew a big change was necessary. So, nearly 3 years ago, I moved halfway across the world to become an English as a Second Language Teacher. I packed my bags and travelled to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam to complete a TESOL course (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages).
From the instant I stepped out of the airport, my life and my perspective were profoundly changed. During the last 3 years in Asia, I’ve navigated an entirely new environment filled with interesting languages, strange foods, and people of cultures vastly different from my own. While learning this ‘new life’ and shaping myself into a language teacher, I began to study and view language in interesting new ways. The gravity and importance of language became tangible. I discovered that I am able to empower others to ‘find their voice’ in the ever-expanding global community.
A match for my passion
Because of my passion for empowerment, tolerance, and equality of opportunity through education, I knew I’d found a great volunteering match for me with Language Beyond Borders. I began volunteering as a teacher with the organization in 2019. During the spring semester, I had the pleasure of teaching two students based in Gaza. Aiming to provide the greatest possible benefit from our weekly classes, I practiced lesson-planning and tried to better understand online learning and employment environments.
Teaching, coordinating and continuing to learn
As I spent time independently learning about the regional conflict that was their day-to-day reality, the time with the students was spent reviewing grammar, building vocabulary, practicing pronunciation, and conversation. I taught English and they taught me what it really means to need it. By the end of our semester together, we had become friends, and I am sincerely grateful to have worked with them.
During the fall semester, I was asked to act as a Class Coordinator. I was happy to be involved with a group of qualified teachers and motivated students from all over the world. It was also an opportunity to sharpen my own communication and organizational skills.
Language Beyond Borders works diligently to ensure both the process of classes and the progress of students is monitored and developed. It was an honor to work more closely with so many members of the collaborative team. I completed the semester feeling that LBB’s mission of positive social change was fulfilled, and that there is more to come.
As I meet people from every corner of the world, I am constantly reminded of the desires we share: safety, opportunities to pursue our dreams, and to be understood. Language Beyond Borders is a special organization, offering a rewarding and effective way to improve the lives of everyone involved, from anywhere in the world.