This is just an update about my life, but I thought it was exciting enough to deserve its own post. This is the story of how I came to get my first teaching job, in Indonesia!

After I graduated from the University of Cincinnati in December, I started looking at getting a teaching job in Asia. Living in England for a year had only strengthened my desire to travel, and my love of language made me eager to share my knowledge with others. I wanted to teach English overseas, and I had heard about many opportunities to do so all over the world. I knew that I really needed to just pick a location and I would almost certainly be able to find a job there.

Korea

I started looking for jobs in South Korea, which is a great place to start a career in teaching English; the country is developed and fairly westernized, and the government has programs that sponsor foreign English teachers, paying for their airfare, visa costs, insurance, and housing, all on top of a nice salary. However, as I sent in my applications in early spring and started to hear back from some of the schools and companies that I had applied to, relations with North Korea began to get tense, and I decided to look elsewhere for jobs. Better safe than sorry till things cooled down, I figured.

At this point, I was preparing for an almost month-long trip to England. I thought it would be best to enjoy my time away and put the job search on hold until I got back to Cincinnati. After all, I had noticed many schools that had immediate openings, and I figured that it wouldn’t be too difficult to find an opening when I got home.

China

However, a few days before leaving for England, I heard from one of my English professors. He knew that I wanted to teach in Asia and he happened to have the contact information for the head of the largest teaching company in China. While I had briefly considered China before, I hadn’t seriously given it thought until now. With the discovery of this opportunity, I started to think about my brief exposure to Chinese history, philosophy, and literature during a comparative studies class I had taken.  Now, I could become immersed in such a culturally rich country, all while starting my teaching career. This, I decided, was perfect.

I immediately contacted the company, and they called me the very next day to schedule a video interview, which would take place over Skype while I was in England. They were pleased with the interview and started to look for open positions in China that would meet my qualifications. I have a four-year degree but I’m still very young, which disqualified me from teaching positions in any of the major cities. The fact that I don’t have any formal teaching experience meant that positions in some of the smaller cities were also unavailable to me.

Eventually, after a few weeks of speaking with several different schools (and being told that, sorry, you have the enthusiasm that it takes to be a teacher, but all our other applicants have years of experience), my only options become isolated villages in Inner Mongolia. This, I decided, was too much of a challenge for my first year of teaching–and of living in Asia. I wasn’t sure if I could handle living in such a cold climate, days away from any other form of civilization, where I would be one of only a few foreigners. It sounded like an adventure, but realistically, I just didn’t think I was prepared for this. I considered looking for other jobs in China with another company or independent school, but I was hesitant because I really felt comfortable with the thought of working with this company.

Indonesia

That was when I discovered that this company in China also had a branch in Indonesia. The headquarters in China transferred my documents to the Indonesia headquarters, I filled out a little more paperwork, and a few weeks later, had a phone interview. For days after the interview, I waited, researching everything I could about Indonesia. I’d known a little bit about it before but after learning more about it, I became convinced that there was nowhere else that would be as perfect for me right now as Indonesia would be.

Finally, I opened my email one day to find a job offer sitting in my inbox. I had done it! I’d landed my dream job! I confirmed the offer and waited to hear more details—specifically, a start date. And now that I have a one-way plane ticket to Jakarta, I thought it was time to officially share the news. I will be flying out of the US on August 22 to begin my one-year teaching contract in Indonesia.

For now, I have just over a month to prepare for the biggest adventure of my life so far. I can’t wait to have more stories to share from my biggest adventure yet.

Love, Elizabeth