Beth and a group of students in front of the Himalayas.

Beth and a group of students in front of the Himalayas.

Teaching Traveling: Interested in a fully-funded year of travel to teach film abroad? Beth Grannis of Filmmakers Without Borders can show you the way!

Beth, tell us a bit about your background.

Beth: Hello! My name is Beth and I’m originally from San Diego, CA. I later headed up to San Francisco to attend the Academy of Art University where I studied producing for film and TV. After college, I worked in marketing for a bit before moving to New York City to break into the film industry. While working for a couple of movie moguls, I interned at the Cannes Film Festival where I met my now business partner, Corey Boling. A few years later, Corey approached me with the idea for what is now our 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, Filmmakers Without Borders. We send teaching artists and filmmakers abroad to teach filmmaking, media literacy, script writing, editing, etc. to students in undeserved communities around the globe for 1 year. I’m currently in Nepal about to wrap up my Teaching Fellowship, but have thoroughly enjoyed teaching the students here and witnessing their creative and personal growth through out the year.

Beth and her student, Bobita, filming in the field.

Beth and her student, Bobita, filming in the field.

TT: Wow! Tell us more about your time in Nepal!

B: Living in Kathmandu for a year teaching 3 classes a day has been the most fulfilling and enriching experience I’ve had professionally. Not only have I tested my limits as an educator, but also culturally and personally. I credit this growth to the students that I have had the pleasure of teaching every day. I’m constantly inspired by them and feed off of their wonder and excitement as they learn how to make their own movies. I have watched many of my students evolve from shy participants in class to driven, motivated, and creatively passionate individuals.

A group of students hover around a camera as they play back their footage.

A group of students hover around a camera as they play back their footage.

TT: How did you find this travel opportunity?

B: I have been lucky enough to experience life in Nepal as a teacher because of Filmmakers Without Borders. I highly recommend anyone with teaching experience (in any field) and also film experience to apply. FWB fully funds the Fellow for an entire year, airfare, housing, and food is all covered. FWB’s main concern is that students abroad get an opportunity to express themselves through filmmaking and storytelling.

A group of students practice their journalism and interview skills.

A group of students practice their journalism and interview skills.

TT: Amazing! Tell us one moment from your travels that was particularly powerful.

B: I am extremely moved by my students when I watch them carry on detailed and passionate conversations with each other about creative differences. It might sound counter intuitive, but when students are discussing different creative approaches that are meant to convey the same feeling or idea, I really feel like I’ve done my job as an educator. It’s while watching these moments of new found self-confidence within my students that I realize that they are bringing themselves, the essence of who they are, into our conversations.

Kopila laughs as she reviews footage from her camera.

Kopila laughs as she reviews footage from her camera.

TT: How have your travels impacted you as a person?

B: I’ve heard before that traveling is the only thing that costs money and also makes your richer. I couldn’t agree more with this sentiment.

TT: What advice do you have for teachers who are dreaming of travel, or travelers dreaming of teaching?

B: Dive in head first! There are plenty of opportunities out there to teach abroad. Even if it is only for a couple of weeks, months, etc. seize the chance to live in a different country and to give back. The beautiful thing about traveling and teaching is that chances are you will learn just as much as you teach.

TT: Thanks so much, Beth! Readers, what questions or comments do you have?

I love sharing opportunities to teach abroad that are not only standard ESL jobs. Check out these articles: Fitness Teaching Overseas, Teaching Yoga Abroad, Teaching Film in Belize and Africa, and Teaching Physical Education Abroad.

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Posted by Lillie

Lillie started TeachingTraveling.com in 2010 to share the infinite ways to combine education and world exploration. Lillie has been a Boston teacher since 2003, and chronicles her own travels at AroundTheWorldL.com.

One Comment

  1. The interview was inspiring and the pictures are so powerful! You can see how engaged the students are in working with their cameras and telling their stories. It sounds and looks like an incredibly impactful experience for the students and teacher! Thanks for sharing.

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