Why did you choose this program?
I've always been passionate about enjoying what I do and after working in my first job out of University, I felt myself getting stuck in a mundane routine.
I always used to see people posting on social media about teaching abroad, so after doing some research and seeing all the positive reviews of the program, I decided to take courage and go on an adventure.
What did your program provider (or university) assist you with, and what did you have to organize on your own?
TravelBud was incredible in their level of support and advice. From explaining the process of authenticating my documents to giving me advice on what to pack, their support was great. The whole process seemed a bit overwhelming at first but their step by step process really made everything manageable.
Their staff was friendly and always available to answer any of my questions. One of great things about TravelBud is that the staff I communicated with had all taught abroad, so they knew exactly how I was feeling and were able to provide realistic and relevant advice.
With advice from the TravelBud team, I basically had to make sure all my documents were sorted and up to date and they provided assistance with the rest.
What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?
I'd like to share a quote by C.S Lewis: "courage, dear heart". In the beginning it may seem like there are so many things to do and things may get a bit overwhelming, but remember to take courage. Every great adventure starts by stepping outside your comfort zone and embracing every opportunity with a positive attitude.
What does an average day/week look like as a participant of this program?
TravelBud provided support in my home country and I did my TESOL course with their partner in Vietnam. They had a well thought out program throughout the duration of the course. During our first week we had cooking classes, cultural excursions and street food tours among many other exciting activities to experience Vietnam.
We then began our intensive TESOL course, attending lectures every day and gaining practical experience by teaching at an English language center. The course was quite intensive, but I am glad I chose the in-class course. I think it provided a more holistic learning experience and it's always interesting meeting people from all over the world.
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 had so many fears coming in. The biggest one being, was I actually capable of teaching kids? The support I received from both TravelBud and their partner made me realise that I capable of doing anything I put my mind to and that if other people can do it, I can do it too. Saskia from TravelBud really helped with motivating me, reminding me to focus on the exciting adventures that lay ahead.
After getting good encouragement from the team and beginning my teaching career, I realized that I really enjoy teaching. I enjoy being able to share the knowledge I have, building intentional relationships and expressing myself in a way that makes the classroom a safe and fun learning environment.
What's it like living in a foreign country?
I think one of the things many people will say is that the language barrier is sometimes a challenge. I decided to learn a bit of Vietnamese before arriving in Vietnam, and I am glad I did. Granted my vocabulary is very limited, and I am still learning everyday, but it's really amazing to communicate with the locals and experience their excitement at a foreigner being able to speak their language.
It is all about your attitude towards your experience and making a conscious decision to embrace the culture and make the most of every experience.