Alumni Spotlight: Amy Carothers

After working in publishing, theatre and public relations for thirteen years, I left New York City to teach students in Chiang Rai, Thailand. From there, I taught adults in Budapest and I'm currently teaching kids and teen in Shanghai.

Why did you pick this program?

I traveled with EF Tours while I was in high school. I fell in love with Spain and traveling and it kick-started my travel bug. It was my dream to one day to work for EF and give back to the program.

What do you tell your friends who are thinking about going abroad?

Don't expect it to be easy and just like your home country but if you're open to a challenge, it will be life-changing. You'll meet interesting people, visit beautiful places that you've only read about and have the opportunity to learn languages.

What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?

Make sure you like children and are ready to think outside-of-the-box. You have a lesson plan but although I make sure to hit all the targets, each class is different and you need to find ways to reach your students.

What's your favorite story to tell about your time abroad?

Honestly it's not one thing but a collection of memories. Signs that weren't translated correctly and are humorous in English, exploring new cities/countries, accidentally stumbling into places I wasn't meant to enter but was allowed in anyways, finding my own secret and tranquil spots amongst the bustling city, taking chances and trusting people when most would have walked away and having the opportunity to see the world.

What is the most challenging thing about living abroad?

Things that you take for granted in your own country are not readily available. Case-in-point, shoe sizes go up to size 8.5 in China so if you have big feet, make sure to bring your own or get ready to order online. Not being able to run to the faucet when you're thirsty, making sure always having to a full supply of water on hand and when you're sick, having to drag yourself out of bed because you ran out of water. In Thailand, riding my motorbike through torrential rains to get to work and during times where it was dangerous. Everyone will have their own frustrations with the language, lack of familiar comforts and just being a stranger in a strange land. If you're willing to give yourself over to the experience, shake off the frustrations and enjoy the ride, you'll love living abroad.