Alumni Spotlight: Tyson Bruner


Tyson is a 26 year old college graduate from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He will begin teaching in South Korea for the February 2014 spring session in Ulsan. He has held numerous positions dealing with children in several different capacities and is really looking forward to the adventure, experiences and teaching to come with the placement.

Why did you decide use Reach to Teach to get a teaching placement in South Korea?

Wanting to teach abroad is something I wanted to do for ages, ever since high school really, so after obtaining my TEFL certification I researched and found myself overwhelmed by concerns and questions about whether or not I could do it on my own.

Using Reach to Teach as my recruiter was a decision reached after months of research on numerous websites (including and a desire to end up in the best situation possible for moving thousands of miles from home and culture of the only kind that I knew. I had decided that I wanted to teach in EPIK South Korea and anywhere I looked I saw questionable things about recruiters or the general comment on how complicated the application for EPIK could be.

Fortunately, most of the message boards that discussed recruiters at the time always seemed to have positive remarks about Reach to Teach and its main South Korea recruiter, John Kellenberger. After steeling myself for the process and reading what Reach to Teach offered as a service prior to, during, and after applying and getting to where I was going I felt far more at ease going into it than anywhere else after seeing what was offered. Reach to Teach has definitely lived up to the hype in my mind thus far.

What made working with Reach to Teach unique and special?

Working with Reach to Teach was so unique simply for the fact I had never approached a recruiter before but also because they are a small one that make you feel easily a part of something they care deeply about and have so much experience in.

For working with so many people at once they were always quick to return my emails of questions during the process (a little slower around the holidays but still always seemed to find time) and even set up a mock interview to prepare for the real thing with EPIK. Most importantly however, they gave me the support and confidence in being able to succeed in a process where I was already a bit behind in the application work. The whole thing is stressful enough without Reach to Teach being there to help you sort out everything in a professional and experienced manner, so really my gratitude toward them is incalculable.

How has this experience impacted your future? (Personally, professionally, academically, etc.)

Personally, working with Reach to Teach has given me a comfort going into what is, so far, the biggest change in my life. This isn’t just moving across the US, which is massive in its own right, it's moving and starting a career in a culture and country foreign to my norms.

Reach to Teach, I’m sure of it, has prepared me to the best of their abilities and left me confident that I can handle it from here on out. In a professional sense I believe this is just the start as I’ve always wanted to be a teacher and this is a great way to get my feet wet so to speak. None of it would have been as simple, maybe even possible without Reach to Teach to guide me. Everyone knows, even in the academic world, when you want to do something or become further accredited to do so nothing screams “Pick me!” like practical experience in the field and that’s how I feel about this. I can’t wait.

What is one piece of advice you would offer someone considering teaching abroad in South Korea?

If there was a single piece of advice I could give someone wanting to teach abroad in South Korea especially with EPIK… it would probably have to be to remain calm.

It sounds silly and simple but I feel that the toughest thing with the whole process is maintaining the mental clarity required to make sound decisions when making the move. Not just doing the interviews but with gathering things for the documents on a time constraint, reading up on material of the country you’re going to, getting items essential to living in Korea, finding people with the same mindset as you that are heading over there and so on.

All of it plays a part in a huge undertaking in your life and it is important to understand that not everything in this is going to be under your control and panicking won’t fix things or get you there in any better a state than someone who didn’t and you’ll already be the worse for the wear. South Korea is a beautiful country and their government wants to welcome you there with open arms if you’re going through the EPIK program and I can’t think of a better way to repay that kindness than showing up not just anxious but ready to go and be a part of a culture, country and children’s lives.