In this post, I’d like to introduce you to Jessica Hill who runs a website over at http://missadventuretravel.com/.
Jessica’s blog: MissAdventure Travel
Jessica is a particularly busy young 30-year-old lady, given that other than teaching English in Thailand and China, she’s also the founding partner of Teach English: ESL, an online-based company that helps folks to fund their travel experiences in Thailand, South Korea, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, and/ or Colombia (the list of countries catered to continues to expand), by way of teaching English, volunteering, and/ or internship placement.
The Teach English: ESL website
Furthermore, she’s working on her travel memoirs, and as she says, this is tentatively named “Teacher Beautiful.”
She’s won a scholarship through her writing, and she also won a writing contest established by the Tourism Authority of Thailand. She also holds a B.A. in journalism, and an M.A. in creative nonfiction.
I could go on and on about Jessica, but I’m sure this is enough to have already forced your head into a spin, as it has my own!
Thus, without further ado, here’s what Jessica had to say when I asked her about her past, present, and future lifestyle plans:
- What made you want to teach English as a foreign or secondary language originally?
While it’s not very admirable, I initially just wanted a way to be able to afford to travel and to write, since I’m passionate about both. When I realized I could make enough money to live decently in Thailand, and that I had a short-term initial contract, I was sold! Turns out, that trip changed the trajectory of my life path…
Jessica in Thailand
- What steps did you take to make that become a reality? Examples: Experience gained; your degree if you have one; did you also undertake a TEFL/TESOL/ some other form of language training certificate? Did you make any other preparations for life abroad?
Since I had absolutely zero teaching experience and was only a year out of college, I took an online TEFL certification course, and then found an agency that was able to find me a job in Thailand. Now, I actually help people find the best program for them via my own TEFL agency, Teach English: ESL.
- How did you feel when you first arrived at your new place of abode and work? Were you confident in your abilities or particularly hesitant (like I was)?
I was terrified. Thailand was both extremely different from what I had expected, and exactly the same, though neither was what I was used to. Plus, I’d never stepped foot in front of a classroom before. I had no idea what to do with 30 pairs of eyes staring at me! Eventually I figured it out, and even went on to teach English in China, and then the States at Colorado State University.
Jessica with some of her Thai students
- Please feel free to relate to the readers any outstanding experiences during the time you were teaching. For example, any major successes; any real embarrassing moments? And, how long were you/ have you been there?
I was in Thailand for a year total, and in China for only four months. Both were filled with ups and downs and embarrassing moments and moments of gratitude. One that stands out was with my favorite class in Thailand (I know, teachers aren’t supposed to have favorites)…when one of my students asked me how to spell “monkey toe.” It seemed a very weird thing for him to want to write, but I put it on the chalk board and launched into a discussion of whether or not monkeys actually have toes….before he and his friends were doubled over with laughter and waving their hands saying, “no, teacher, no! How do you spell mo-squi-to.” OH, mosquito 🙂
- If you wouldn’t mind sharing, approximately how much were you earning? No need to be exact, it’s just to give the readers some insight into what can be expected as a foreign teacher of English in individual countries.
Absolutely, this is a big factor to consider when thinking about where to teach English abroad. In Thailand, new teachers earn about $1,000 USD/month. In China I made $1,200 with a free apartment, flight reimbursement and other benefits.
[Note from Joseph: Do remember that wages for teaching English abroad are relatively reflective on the cost of living. Thus, the equivalent of $1,000, which is the amount Jessica was earning in Thailand, is generally regarded as a decent income, and compares well to the likes of the Western World or Australia, for example.]
- If you have moved on from that job, what did you then do?
I moved back to the States to get a M.A. at Colorado State University, where I taught freshmen composition. It was right before then that I started Teach English: ESL, and I’ve been helping others teach abroad since. I also continue to write and blog!
- In what way do you feel the whole experience has helped you in life in general?
It completely changed the path I was on. Initially I thought I’d hate teaching, but I ended up loving it. I went back to school for a degree in English, with the goal of continuing to teach. However, my TEFL agency, which was a direct result of my own teach abroad experience, took off and I decided to run with it. It allows me to live the lifestyle I want to lead, and to work from wherever I want to be, so I never have to stop traveling!
Jessica teaching Thai children
Thank you so much, Jessica, for sharing your experiences with us. Truly, you are an inspiration!
That said, allow me to indulge by sharing the links to Jessica’s websites once more:
Jessica’s Blog: http://missadventuretravel.com/
Jessica’s agency for helping others to fulfill their dreams and teach in Asia: http://teachenglishesl.com/