Alumni Spotlight: Keenan Dolezal

Keenan graduated in 2015 from a US university in English teaching and has traveled/lived abroad for six months prior this course. He also aims to live outside the US through teaching English.

Why did you choose this program?

I chose the program for a few reasons:

  • A number of reviews available to read was important since you get an honest feel for the course when it is from previous students. Their reviews are not "trying to sell" the program, and instead, are giving insight on it.
  • The amount of teaching practice you have with actual classes was nice to see. In total, there were six times to practice which I feel was a little more than other programs.
  • I wanted to visit Japan, and this course helped with achieving that as well.

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

The provider assisted with the work in the course and test preparation. Teaching assistance (for the six teaching "events") was also given, along with help with your resume, cover letter, and acting as references for jobs.

You are left to having a lot of "say" in the six lessons you teach. They will help guide you, but they do let you have quite a bit of freedom in the lesson. This is good, since you're likely to make a mistake thus giving you something to learn from.

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

There can be stages in the course with a decent amount of work, so stay on top of the homework (especially the ones dealing with teaching your own lessons).

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

An average day starts at 8 am at the school's location. Usually, there is a "lecture" where you are busy learning teaching methods/grammar/etc. Lunch is around 12 - 1 pm and then there is class 1 - 3 pm. If English is not your first language or you are not familiar with many English "terms" you may be studying/working around an hour each night (depending on the current topic).

An average week is five days of the 8 am - 12 pm and 1 - 3 pm classes, usually with one to two teaching "events" scattered in. Most of these are Mondays and Thursdays.

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

My biggest fear was missing a connecting flight, since one of the connections was cutting it a little close.

Overall, I've traveled quite a bit already, so learning things like location/public transportation come with a little practice. As long as you do some planning/research on the location first, you will be fine.

Would it be better/easier to take this course in your home country?

Obviously, if you live in the US, it can be cheaper to stay inside the country and complete the course. The issue is, you build networking when studying outside the country and like me in Japan, you will learn specific things to help your (Japanese) students that you may not receive at another location. If your plans are to teach in Japan, I would highly suggest taking the course in the country.