TeachingTraveling.com: Thanks for agreeing to share your experiences with us, Alisha Robertson!
Tell us about yourself.
Alisha: I’m a native Texan who, before 2002, spent most of my time exploring the US. I graduated college in 2004 with a focus on Business and Human Resources, worked in the “60 Hour-a-Week Working World” for 4 years, and then set off to teach English in Chile in 2008. After teaching English in Chile, I went back to the states to work for two more years and to spend time with family.
I turned 30 this past year, so I decided it was time to take off again. I am currently on the first leg (South America) of my around the world volunteer trip where I am focusing on teaching, micro-financing initiatives, working with women affected my human trafficking, and volunteering with various organizations.
TT: Phenomenal! Tell us more about your travels.
A: So far, the longest and most interesting teaching and traveling experience I have had is when I moved to Chile for a year. It required that I adapt to the local culture and really become a part of the community. I worked for a private institute that taught 7 different languages. The language institute where I taught also set themselves apart by having native teachers available for all of the languages they taught at the institute. Initially, I taught a mix of children, teen, and adult classes (regular ESL and Business ESL) and then spent the last part of the year working on-site at a copper mine in the middle of the Atacama Desert.
TT: A copper mine?! Wow. How did you find your teaching-traveling opportunities?
A: There are various programs out there that offer assistance in finding an ESL position. However, my business background is in Human Resources and recruiting, so I decided that before exploring those options, I would set out on my own to find a position. I did a lot of research to decide exactly which country I wanted to teach in. Once I decided on teaching in Chile, I utilized online job boards such as Dave’s ESL cafe, ESL Jobs, ESL employment, among others. I’ve personally found Dave’s ESL Cafe to be one of the most comprehensive resources across various areas. I also looked up all of the private language institutes in Chile alongside the main contact, and started contacting them and sending out my resume. I solicited my resume, set my interviews, negotiated my contract, and secured my position prior to arriving in Chile without the assistance of an agency. The process included lots of research, a significant amount of time preparing my resume and answering institute specific questions via email, and various interviews via Skype.