So I have always known that I wanted to go to grad school. I have never questioned the desire, but I have certainly questioned the timing of grad school. When I finished my undergraduate studies, I felt like I needed some time away from school to gain some more work experience and knowledge about the world. But those two things can be hard to find right out of college in the U.S. Fortunately, I heard about Aclipse and Chungdahm through a friend and before I knew it, I was standing in front of a group of 10-year-old Korean students. Even though I am spending the year in Korea, I was able to follow through on my grad school plans and the experience of teaching has helped me through the application process. Here's how...
First off, having a respectable, teaching job in a foreign country looks really good on the resume. Not only is the experience of teaching a very valuable asset, but the fact that you are doing it in another country shows that you can handle cross-cultural situations that are so common in today's globalized economy.
Second, most graduate programs require reference letters. It helps to have a mix of both academic and work-related references, but if you are like me, my work experience in and before college consisted of temporary, menial jobs where I would never ask for reference letters (Sorry Starbucks!). Having a solid year of work experience at a reputable company like Chungdahm is a much better option and my Chungdahm manager is more than happy to provide references whenever I ask.
Third, this is going to sound crazy if you haven't taught at Chungdahm, but the Chungdahm teaching method can help you during standardized tests such as the GRE. A few skills that you have to master as teachers include breaking down essays quickly, finding major ideas/details, and how to write clear and concise essays. Not too mention that the really upper level classes in Chungdahm have helped me brush up on my vocabulary and forced me to think of various synonyms on the spot. This all came in to play when I took the GRE and it showed in my scores of vocab/reading and writing. Also, if you are concerned about finding the time to take the GRE, you can always take it while you are here in Korea. Check the dates here.
Taking some time off from my academic studies has been great for me and it seems to have worked in my favor. I got in to the grad school I wanted and I will be starting in the autumn!
Adam Montgomery is a 25-year old teacher at the Chungdahm Branch on Jeju. He has been teaching in Korea for under a year. When he is not teaching, he enjoys exploring the wonders of Jeju and Korea.