Staff Spotlight: Jessie Smith

Admissions Advisor
Jessie is an International TEFL Academy graduate and is currently an Admissions Advisor. She took the ITA Online certification course and taught English in South Korea & Vietnam.

teaching ESL in Asia

What is your favorite travel memory?

Here at International TEFL Academy we take a staff trip every year. We did this for the first time in January 2015 and we went to Nicaragua. We chose Nicaragua because we have a franchise school in Leon, Nicaragua.

This was an ideal way for our staff to get to know our school, the staff, and the country of Nicaragua. This staff trip was one of my absolute favorites because it was really special to travel with like-minded people. Yes, we are co-workers, but above all we are all travelers and share the same passion for seeing the world.

It was a really unique experience being able to be with a group who were all on the same page. We wanted to see everything, try everything, and obviously eat everything. We are all pretty fearless and curious travelers so it's always really refreshing to be with a group that's on the same page.

We stayed in some hilarious accommodations. We went sledding down a volcano. We were out salsa dancing until the wee hours of the morning. It was a trip I'll never forget.

How have you changed/grown since working for your current company?

International TEFL Academy is an extremely inspiring place to work. Not a day goes by that I don't take a second and think about how grateful I am to be a part of a team that is so driven. Helping others go see the world is our true and sincere passion.

When you can make your hobby your career, you're in a pretty great situation. I think a lot of us who work here feel that way.

We have lived this, we love this, and we are very motivated to help others realize this dream of travel, too.

What is the best story you've heard from a return student?

Not sure I have one specific favorite. I keep in touch with a ton of the students I work with. I am friends with a lot of them on social media, especially Instagram. I love seeing all the travel photos, and most of all, I love reading the captions and seeing how this experience truly has been life changing.

I always read my students blogs and see how things are going. If it sounds like they are homesick or having a tough time transitioning I will always shoot them an email. I love then talking with them again once a few months have passed and they are settled more and set into a routine.

It's amazing how this experience really does transform people. It brings out a confidence and independence in people, young and old, that I think most people didn't know they had deep down.

If you could go on any program that your company offers, which one would you choose and why?

I already did! I took the online certification course here and I would do it over again. This was the best option for me because I was on a budget and had a full-time job. This made traveling abroad realistic for me.

I was a 22-year-old college grad with no savings and student debt. I needed to find a realistic, affordable way to be able to live out my dream and the online course helped me do that. I was able to work, save, and also get TEFL certified at the same time.

An online class doesn't seem as glamorous as going abroad somewhere, but at the end of the day, when I was on the plane to Asia living out my dream I didn't care.

What makes your company unique? When were you especially proud of your team?

We are obsessed with our jobs. We are a family. We love what we do, we love to come to work every single day. We all take great pride in what we do and our reputation as a company.

We push each other to be better. We all respect one another. Yeah, maybe we butt heads occasionally but it's always because we are very passionate and want to see things done the best way possible.

We travel together, we work together, a lot of us are really good friends outside of work. We really are a loud, annoying, loving, reasonably funny family.

What do you believe to be the biggest factor in being a successful company?

Pride. We take a tremendous amount of pride in what we do. We want students to love their experience abroad as much as we did. We want to help people go see the world.

We will always be honest with you and make sure that we are giving you the good, the bad, the ugly, and everything in between.