Alumni Spotlight: David Mullis

Following graduating from American University with a degree in international relations and economics, David went to Ameson to learn how to teach and live in a different country for a year. Always on the search for what makes him uncomfortable and mastering it, Ameson gave him the chance to test his limits and bounds with an amazing safety net of professionals behind him.

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Why did you choose this program?

Ameson made the process simple and easy to complete. Many other programs that offered teaching positions in China did not offer the same holistic approach to the teacher's life as Ameson. They provided me with the training for a TFEL certificate in Shanghai, ensured my health and safety was taken care of, and provided complimentary Chinese language lessons.

I felt that Ameson provided the most freedom and safety when in China, knowing I did not have to worry about going to a hospital alone or figuring out residency permits by myself.

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

Ameson provides you with as many resources as you want. I had issues with health and Ameson was there for me to speak to the local government, hospitals, and teachers in the area to make sure that my issues were handled quickly and as stress-free as possible.

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

Be ready to be open to experiences. I found the most fun I had was visiting small villages where fellow Ameson teachers were living. My friends and I made it a goal to go to one new restaurant a week. I personally joined a Tai Chi group and learned Tai Chi without ever speaking with my master.

The more you put yourself out of your comfort zone initially, the more comfortable you will become after.

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

Since there are rarely more than two Ameson teachers at any school the schedules can look very different. Ameson will not let a school schedule someone for more than 20 hours of work a week. Some Ameson teachers fulfilled this, while some worked less. I taught twelve classes every other week and on the off weeks, only six classes.

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 safety and being alone in a new country. Due to health issues, I requested Ameson to make sure that I was placed in a city large enough to have modern medicine available and that posed no issue over my year.

Ameson placed about nine other teachers directly within my city and more in cities only a few hours away. I felt that I always had someone to be with since there were so many Ameson teachers around, some who were in their second year of teaching in the city.

Where does Ameson place teachers?

I had little to no expectations for where I was going to live so I allowed Ameson to place me anywhere. They placed me in a small city that I had never heard of nor was it on a map. I fell in love with the city and ended up wishing I had been placed in an even smaller village!

I think Ameson was great for me as someone who loves adventure and exploring through discomfort.