Michael is born in the Netherlands and is currently teaching part-time in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. He has lived in Australia, New Zealand, and briefly in the U.S. before moving to Vietnam in pursuit of a teaching career. He works for EslTeacherAsia on the side and helps in providing support to students and alumni.
What is your favorite travel memory?
Too many to choose from! Diving with whale-sharks near Exmouth, Australia is definitely up there. It's an amazing feeling to swim next to a friendly giant the size of a small bus in open water. Also, the memories I made when surfing giant waves in the freezing waters in the Catlins, New Zealand in the middle of winter will stay with me forever as well.
However, I know that the best memories I have are from the people I've met along the way. It's the people that make the place.
How have you changed/grown since working for your current company?
Travelling and teaching are both passions of mine, and being able to help others do the same gives me a sense of fulfillment every day.
Working for EslTeacherAsia has allowed me to keep travelling and experience new cultures, and I feel like my worldview changes a little bit for the better.
However, the one thing that frustrates me the most is the pollution I keep seeing even in the farthest corners of the world. It's one of the most important things I try to educate students about whenever I get the chance.
I get to meet most people who sign up for the program in person, and I love hearing all the stories. We get people with different motivations from all over the world and with a similar goal. I really feel my understanding of different cultures changed for the better since I've started working for EslTeacherAsia.
What is the best story you've heard from a return student?
I hear many excellent stories. From alumni starting professional teaching careers to finding what really matters to them in life and pursuing something else entirely after teaching for a year.
My favorite story is that of Jacob, who after finishing the course and getting the job he wanted, asked for help in finding an apartment. We got along so well while he was still doing the TESOL course that we moved in together with some other friends in a shared house. He met the love of his life, and they traveled the world together before deciding to go back and build a family in their home country. They're still teaching there.
If you could go on any program that your company offers, which one would you choose and why?
We offer the same program in three locations: Ho Chi Minh City (Vietnam), Hanoi (Vietnam), and Phnom Penh (Cambodia).
I am personally in love with the culture in Vietnam and have built quite a life for myself, so I don't see myself leaving anytime soon. I do take trips to Cambodia all the time as it's just around the corner. I think that teaching English as a second language in Cambodia is up and coming, and now is the perfect time to get in for someone looking to start an ESL career.
In the end, the location of the course doesn't matter because we're happy to guarantee job placement in Cambodia even if you did the course in Vietnam and vice versa.
What makes your company unique? When were you especially proud of your team?
I believe it's our motivation and expertise that really make the difference. Some of us are still teaching currently so we're completely up to date as far as qualifications and teaching in Asia. Because we're on location, we can maintain an excellent relationship with many schools and know exactly what they're looking for in aspiring teachers.
Mostly, it's the reason we're doing this. We've been there and done that, and we want to share this amazing experience.
What do you believe to be the biggest factor in being a successful company?
I believe it's the core values that make the difference. Why are we doing this? Who are we trying to help? How can we make a difference? These are questions every company should answer before making any decision. If you do the right thing, the word will spread.