Alumni Spotlight: Karyn Kolkka

Karyn obtained a diploma in Early Childhood Education, as well as a Bachelor of Arts in Social Science in Ontario. She is currently working on obtaining her Bachelor of Professional Arts in Human Services through online studies. After working in various industries after completing school, Karyn has decided to go overseas to pursue her dream of teaching English. Karyn loves to travel, gain new experiences, and learn about new cultures/people.

Karyn, University of Toronto TEFL Online Student

Why did you choose this program?

I chose the TEFL certificate through U of T because after much research it was one of the best programs offered. It is a trusted institution, with great reviews, and I liked the aspect of it being all online.

While working three jobs at the time, it allowed me to go at my own pace and work around my schedule in order to complete the program.

The TEFL certificate not only takes you through the main content of the course but they allow you to choose two specialty programs. For example, one of the specialty programs I chose was "teaching English to adult learners". This allowed me to learn more about the difference of adult learners in comparison to children.

It also prepared me for my journey overseas from teaching me to build an appropriate lesson plan, to the different aspects of a classroom, to dealing with culture shock. The program makes sure all potential teachers are thinking of and prepared for the journey ahead.

What did your program provider assist you with, and what did you have to organize on your own?

The TEFL program always offers assistance if needed. They are also very prompt if I ever had a question, I would receive a response the day of or immediately the next day. Part of the content is completing journals which are marked by individuals at the U of T. They read my journals in a timely manner and provided constructive feedback.

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

I have highly recommended this program to many of my friends who are thinking about going overseas. The TEFL certificate through U of T encompasses everything a teacher needs to know in order to be prepared for their journey.

The lessons not only focus on content but they allow you to reflect on what you have learned, prepare you for teaching in a classroom setting and ask you questions that require you to look into the prospective country you wish to teach in. They also provide you with print-outs so you can keep your notes for future reference.

What does an average day/week look like as a participant of this program?

The program is 100% online so you are able to work at your own pace and on your own schedule.

Going into your experience abroad, what was your biggest fear, and how did you overcome it and/or how did your views on the issue change?

One of my biggest fears going abroad is culture shock. There is a fear of going into the unknown, no matter how prepared you think you are. One unit I completed in the TEFL certificate program was solely based on culture shock. They provided me with tips to deal with culture shock which is very useful.

I have also done a lot of research on the culture norms of the country I am going too, asked friends who have previously been there, and have a strong support base.