Alumni Spotlight: Trent Fowler

What originally inspired you to teach abroad with Reach to Teach?

Trent: Picking an overseas placement agency is a little like picking a college to attend -- research and careful thought are a must, but eventually you have to make a decision with the information you have at hand. With that having been said, I have not at all regretted my decision to go with Reach to Teach. In the weeks and months leading up to my decision to teach abroad, I checked out a number of different programs and placement agencies. Reach to Teach had nothing but glowing testimonials, and my attempts to find anything negative about them turned up nothing. After taking the plunge, John Kellenberger and the rest of Reach to Teach worked tirelessly to find me a good placement in South Korea. They helped me file my documents, told me about shortcuts and workarounds, I literally could not have known about on my own, and in general are a big part of the reason I made it here at all. I cannot thank (or recommend) them highly enough.

Describe your day to day activities as a teacher.

Trent: I work at a Hagwan, which is a kind of after-school academy in South Korea. There are math, music, art, and science Hagwans; obviously the one I teach at is for English. I go to work at approximately 2 p.m. and until about 10 p.m. The hours worried me at first (I'm a morning person), but I've settled into a routine and I've found that my life is not negatively impacted in any significant way. I get enough sleep and have enough time for my hobbies and traveling. Depending on the day I teach 4-6 hours, with the rest of the time spent grading papers, inputting scores, and taking my classes over with my superiors. Not counting the time spent drinking and socializing with coworkers (during which the conversation inevitably turns to work), I probably put in about 9 hours a day. I get weekends off.

How has this experience impacted your future?

Trent: It's hard to say yet. Of course I will never be the same person I was before I moved over here; I've absorbed a lot of culture and language, and learned so many things. I haven't decided yet whether I'll stay, though I will say I'm giving the idea serious thought. The pay is good, the work is difficult but rewarding, and it's all-around as good a job as I could expect to find state-side.