Alumni Spotlight: Ellie Borrell

I am a 29 year old English Teacher from England. I have taught English in Vietnam for almost 18 months.

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Why did you choose this program?

When researching different companies to complete my TESOL with, TravelBud always seemed to come out on top. The program offered comes with unconditional support and ongoing guidance for experienced teachers. One of the main reasons I chose TravelBud is the fact that all of their employees have at some point taught English as a second language. And for this reason, I felt that any of the support and advice provided would be genuine.

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

TravelBud provided ongoing assistance with all of the elements that come with moving abroad. I had one on one contact with the team throughout this daunting process, and not one of my questions went unanswered. I received support with visas, legalizing documents, flight itineraries, accommodation, my course and finally my job placement.

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

My advice to anyone considering making the brave move to another country would be to embrace it. If you're hoping to gain life-changing experience and opportunity to thrive in another culture, then this program is for you.

Taking the leap into the unknown with a bunch of people who are hoping to do the same thing is reassuring, to say the least. Not to mention, they honestly will become lifelong friends.

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

The first week of the 4-week program will involve a full orientation in your chosen country. You will be given the opportunity to meet locals, speak to people in the same position as you and fully immerse yourself in a new and exciting culture. The following three weeks will be spent studying, teaching and getting to know your fellow course mates. And to top it all off, a little celebration at the end.

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 leaving my life in England behind. At the age of 28, I had well and truly settled into 'normal' life. House, job, friends, etc.

However, the loss of my wonderful mother in 2017 meant this life was turned upside down. I was full of regret for not traveling and seeing the world in my early twenties.

So rather than continue along with my very comfortable life back home, I decided to get out of my comfort zone and embrace something new.

Did you manage to settle down in Vietnam?

Before boarding a plane to Vietnam to start my new life, I had literally never stepped foot in SE Asia. Many thought I was mental, and indeed I think I sort of was.

I thought to myself, how do people live in this country? What will I do there? How will I be accepted? Will I be able to make friends?

The short answer is, all of my doubts and worries were meaningless in the end. I have been welcomed into this country with open arms. The Vietnamese have been nothing short of incredible. I have met life long friends from all over the world. And I have never been more comfortable with myself and my life.