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Teaching Abroad: How My Dream Came True

From Seattle to Beijing, China: A Teacher’s Story

My story, like so many others, started more years ago than I would like to admit. It begins on the front porch of my parent’s house on the Southside of Chicago. Even though it was so long ago now, it seems like yesterday when I was on that porch pretending I was a teacher with my Sesame Street Playhouse.

Now I am a thousand miles away from that porch living in Beijing, China. I am still teaching, but now I am going on many adventures and learning it is never too late to start over.

Immediately after college, I moved to Seattle, Washington not knowing anyone but my then husband and his family. I worked at a daycare until I found a program where I could work and go to school at the same time to get my teaching certification. Finally, I had reached my dream of being a teacher. I was happy, and yet I found myself wanting more.

As luck would have it, in 2007 I met a retired teacher who traveled around the world teaching. She shared with me the joy she had teaching abroad and seeing the world. She told me to hold tight to my dream and it would happen.

Teaching abroad

Fast-forward to 2016 when I found myself ready to take the leap. The same teacher who told me about her travels and teaching abroad supported me in reaching my own dream of teaching abroad. She was there for me every step of the way, guiding me, and only asked that I promise to pay it forward one day in return.

I am thankful for her every day, and look forward to the day I can pay it forward.

This is my third-year teaching in Beijing. During these past three years, I have been able to travel to Thailand, Indonesia, Cambodia, Malaysia, Philippines, Hong Kong, Shanghai, and Tianjin. This would never have been possible working as a teacher in the US. Every day, both at work and when traveling, is a new experience. 

There are many things I have learned from my travels. The following are just a few:

  1. People who have so little, give so much.
  2. A smile can go a long way.
  3. Be open to new people, food, and customs.
  4. It is ok to travel with yourself—not by yourself.

Traveling with all this in mind has made my adventures so memorable. I hope you enjoyed my first of many stories.


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