1: The Preparation

Authored by:
Kelsa S.

I've wanted to teach abroad for a couple of years now. I have never been so sure about anything in my life. This is surprising because I am extremely indecisive. My indecisiveness begins from which meal I want to order, to where I want to go, to whom I want to hang out with... even to which socks I want to wear. I need at least 30 minutes to contemplate, calculate and scrutinize whether it is the right decision for me and the crazy thing is, after hours of contemplation, I'll just ask someone else for their opinion and follow it instead. It's as if I have a complete lack of trust in myself.

The reason why I was so sure about teaching abroad was because it best reflected my goals. Like everything else, I wasn't sure of what I wanted to major in at school, or what I wanted to do career-wise, but I knew what I liked. I liked psychology, I liked to write, I liked to give advice to others. So after a year of being an undecided major, I finally switched to a major in Psychology and a minor in Creative Writing. I then thought how amazing it would be to become a school guidance counsellor, especially to middle school students as they were transitioning into high school and tackling all the difficulties of upcoming adolecence. Unfortunately for me though, guidance counselling was not an easy career to snatch when you lived in Ontario, Canada. Being a guidance counsellor also meant being a teacher for a certain amount of years. Teaching? Could I see myself as a teacher? Maybe, maybe not. I decided to give it a try. Instead of spending  x amount of dollars and years on a Bachelor of Education degree (with the risk of hating it), I settled on getting my TESOL, which was a much cheaper alternative and I only needed to dedicate a month of intensive study to earn my certificate. A couple of months later, I got a small job as an afterschool English tutor near my house, teaching middle school children. It wasn't long before I realized how much I loved making lesson plans for the kids and seeing their faces light up when I had fun and interesting activities for them. 

I wanted to travel, I wanted to do some more teaching, I wanted to learn about another culture, I wanted to learn Spanish, I wanted to gain some independence, I wanted to get out of my comfort zone... teaching abroad seemed perfect. I researched and researched, and spent months doing this. I came across many jobs, programs and opportunities but nothing seemed quite as perfect as the CIEE  Volunteer Teach Abroad Program. As a newbie, three months abroad, having a host family, accommodation, food, and the option of leaving IF I didn't like it? It was great. So, I began the application process and submitted my commitment and application fee. I worked more hours, took on side jobs and saved, saved saved. I felt excited, empowered, independent and happy that I had something new to look forward to in the upcoming months. Something I've always dreamt of doing! I began practicing Spanish, buying all the neccessities, studying the country, and submitting the paperwork for taking a leave of absence at my job. I felt like I was ready. But little did I know how I would feel the week before my flight. 

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