Have no luck? Don´t give up! Back in December of 2011, I graduated from the University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point. With a Bachelors in Elementary Education, I began my job search. Anyone graduating mid-year with an Education degree would empathize with that finding a full-time teaching job for the second semester was grueling.
I applied to over a hundred jobs throughout the Midwest and state of Wisconsin, and had no luck. I opened my interest zone across the United States applying to AmeriCorps and Teach for America. Still, no luck.
Then I pursued a thought that had always existed in the back of my mind – international teaching. I researched various options on how to explore this intriguing opportunity. I applied and interviewed with Peace Corps and international schools in Germany and Spain. No luck. No luck. No luck!
Although it seemed that every door was slamming in my face as a new graduate, I knew that some miracle would have to fall from the sky and land on my lap. It just so happened that one of my closest friends from college called me up one day and said, ¨Have your heard of Dave’s ESL Café?¨
Only three days after submitting my resume and cover letter to the website, my door was finally opening! It was through this website that I received my first teaching job as Kristen Teacher, a Kindergarten English Teacher in Seoul, South Korea. Little did I know that this job would be the beginning of my international teaching life!
After an unforgettable and adventurous year of teaching English at a ¨Hagwon¨ (private English school) and traveling in South Korea, I found myself getting sucked into the thrill and excitement of international living. There was an inkling in my stomach telling me that it was not yet time to go home to Wisconsin. I had the urge to explore another part of the world. Next stop, Germany!
I moved to the beautiful cobblestone village of Wemding to be with another close friend and her German family. I lived there for about two months without a job, but on the hunt. I soon received an email from a small two-classroom preschool in Munich, Brightsparks International English Preschool. I jumped on this opportunity and got the job!
After two years of living and teaching in Munich, as well as learning the skills of speaking Bavarian slang, drinking beer, and ordering butter pretzels, the itch came back… it was time to move onto another school and another country.
Since I had a Spanish language background from two years of high school classes, I looked into the option of teaching in South America. I researched several international schools which I found through AASSA, Association for American Schools in South America.
While shuffling through 48 international schools within the continent, I selected my top ten to email the headmasters and principals who were hiring elementary or early childhood teachers. Nine of these schools either sent a negative response or nothing at all. One, however, was positive… a large international school in Santiago, Chile.
This particular teaching opportunity represented a massive jump from my previous small private schools. This school was a large-scale, top tier, and world-renowned international school. It had a population of 1,800 students Pre-Kindergarten through 12th Grade and over 200 teaching staff. The promotional video on their school website looked amazing! It presented stunning academic buildings on a beautiful campus overlooking the Andes Mountains and students of all ages participating in aquatics, theater, outdoor learning, and even robotics!
After conducting a Skype interview with the Early Years School principal, I said to myself a saying that has resonated with me throughout my whole life… ¨Everything happens for a reason!¨ I happily accepted the position for teaching K1 (4-5-year old Kindergarten).
I am currently entering my fourth year of living and teaching in Chile. A LOT has happened in these past three years, such as meeting Scott, my fellow colleague and soon-to-be husband, meeting incredible friends both Chilean and expats, exploring the beauty of Chile, and traveling to nine other Latin American countries.
I excitedly look forward to the many adventures that this international teacher´s life has in store for Scott and me!