Sometimes English majors are cornered into thinking that there are only a few career options available to them. However, recent graduate Ms. Teresa Witcher shows that’s not true by “exploring the other side of English,” and what she found changed her life forever.
Today, Witcher is on her way to Busan, South Korea to teach English in a public school for a program called English Program in Korea (EPIK).
She graduated from WKU in December 2014 with a Master of Arts in English with her concentration in Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL). While completing her undergraduate degree in English at the University of Kentucky, she became friends with two South Korean elementary school teachers studying with an educator exchange group.
“They were the ones who told me about the EPIK program,” recalls Witcher, “This has been my goal since my senior year of undergraduate school and to be able to accomplish it in South Korea is incredibly exciting.”
While there, Witcher will teach young children in an English as a Foreign Language (EFL) setting, and she will get to experience Korean culture firsthand. Not only will her students be learning a new language, but she will also be tackling Korean herself. In Busan, She hopes to reunite with the friends who first introduced her to the program and revels in the thought of how their roles have reversed in a few short years.
As far as the application process goes, Witcher remarks that it “was quite long and required a lot of forethought.” She had to authenticate both of her degrees as well as undergo a national-level background check and two rounds of screening. She submitted her first application in August, completed an interview in October, and heard of her acceptance and appointment in December. Though the process could be described as tedious, Witcher knows “it was worth it.”
Just before her departure to Korea, she wanted to leave current English majors with a tidbit of advice that she’s learned along the way of acquiring two degrees in the field: learning to explore other sides of English.
She notes, “In undergrad, I was convinced I had to do literature, technical writing, or creative writing for the rest of my academic career. It was only by chance that I discovered TESL, and from there my interests in linguistics and pedagogy. My choice to attend WKU was born out of that diversification–the Master’s concentration allowed me to study both literature and TESL.”
No matter where you decide to go, your English major will help you get there. It may take a little time, hard work, and discovery, but the treasure you find at the end of the journey is always worth it.