Alumni Spotlight: Camille Heiden

Camille moved from Denver to China in 2017 and has been teaching, exploring, and learning something new every day since.

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Why did you choose this program?

I chose International TEFL Academy after a lot of online research about TEFL certifications. ITA seemed to have the most information out there about teaching in each country and the most job search guidance. I wasn't sure where I wanted to teach yet, so I knew it would be helpful to speak to alumni teaching in each country and narrow down where I wanted to go. ITA also had an online course option, which was important to me as I was finishing up my college degree still.

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

ITA has someone to help you with almost everything. In the beginning, you speak to an admissions advisor that helps you decide which course will be the best for you- there are online and on-site courses. They also offer guidance as to which country is a good option for you to teach in, based on your individual goals. After taking the online course, there is job search guidance. ITA offers advice on how and where to apply to different schools/companies, and they put you in contact with alumni from that country via Facebook groups. You have to organize your own interviews and make the decisions on where to apply, but there is a lot of help in doing so.

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

My advice to anyone thinking about going overseas is to take the leap and do it! The work you'll put into becoming TEFL certified and finding a job seems overwhelming at first, but it is completely manageable and worth it. There are so many people who have been in your shoes and understand your fears, and these same people will become invaluable resources to you when you begin your overseas journey!

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

An average week in the online ITA course consists of reading, discussion, a quiz, and a small project or assignment. An online course is a great option for someone who is busy working or going to school because you can choose when you want to work on your assignments. The course load is informative and complete, but not too demanding that you won't have the time for it.

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

I didn't know a lot about China and I had only traveled abroad once prior to moving abroad, so my biggest fear was the fear of the unknown. I didn't know the language or the culture, and I was really nervous about being able to find my place here and enjoy my time. I was able to overcome this by speaking to alumni who lived in China and asking them all of my questions.

This eased my mind greatly before I moved because I knew more what to expect when I landed in China. After living here I realize that even though a lot here is different, there are still so many similarities to home. It has shown me that I worried about a lot of things for nothing and that people are very quick to offer help!

What is it like teaching abroad?

I did not go to school for teaching, so I was a little nervous to teach for the first time in another country. It's crazy how quickly I went from having no clue how to teach, to taking a TEFL course, to being given my own classroom and students. I think teaching abroad is a great way to learn about the culture and connect with new people. I learn something new from the kids I teach every day and wouldn't trade this experience for anything!