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Saturday, 01 July 2006

i-to-i: Teaching all over the World - Page 2

Written by Sasha Keeler Didier
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Ever thought about living in another country and immersing yourself in an entirely new culture?  i-to-i provides meaningful volunteer travel programs and is an excellent way for eager travelers to explore the world.


The fears of making of difference and getting through to the children were still prevalent for Kaylen Fredrickson, “Before entering the schools, I was nervous that I wouldn’t have all the answers.  I had a fear that I wouldn’t be able to communicate with the children as well as I had hoped and that, as a result, their time with me wouldn’t be maximized.”  Andrew Jacob had similar fears about teaching in Beijing, and felt unqualified even after training, “I was afraid I would be a lousy teacher.  The TEFL training is somewhat helpful, but it is a really insufficient to make someone a good teacher.  But, I suspect teaching well is more of an instinct than a skill you can learn from on an internet course.  At any rate, I’m not cut out to be a teacher, but I did all right while I was there.”

For Kaylen, this ‘instinct’ seemed to come naturally for her in rural Costa Rican schools: “About five minutes into my first class, I realized I absolutely loved to be there and that the children didn’t expect me to know everything, just something more than they did!”

c.ricaWith most challenging experiences comes a rewarding sense of accomplishment. Or, as i-to-i refers to it, making a difference in the lives of the volunteers and the lives of those they help.

Through their TEFL programs in China and Costa Rica, Andrew Jacob and Kaylen Fredrickson did just that.  “Having the opportunity to be a part of the rural school community was as beneficial to me as it was to the children because I realized that there are so many people that have a curiosity and a passion for knowledge. Being known as the English teacher, I had several people, in and out of the classroom, ask for help with English.  I was also asked for my opinion on issues from politics to ecology and current events to value systems.  People often sought out the different experiences I could bring to a conversation or discussion and I really learned to appreciateschool that.  As a result, my experience enforced my pre-existing belief about life-long learning in and out of a facilitated environment and the importance of making and effort to learn about and understand people from different cultures,” remarks Kaylen.

For Andrew Jacob, working with people from different cultures impacted him on a personal level as well, “I learned a lot about China and Chinese people, but I think I also learned a lot about myself and my life in general.  I’ve been a student for 18 years in my own country, and suddenly being put into a role of a teacher and a foreigner gave me a very different perspective that went beyond just the classroom.

author c.r.In the last year, thousands of i-to-i TEFL volunteers found jobs in: Cambodia, China, France, Greece, Hong Kong, Italy, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Nepal, and Spain.  Programs are offered for as short as one week and as long as one year or more, and are available to solo travelers, couples and small groups.  If you’re inspired to make a change in the world, and you want to experience something entirely new, i-to-i is an adventurous way to challenge yourself and discover your true potential.

For more information on i-to-i volunteer programs, visit

©Sasha Keeler Didier


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Last modified on Sunday, 16 December 2012

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