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FROM AFRICA TO THE CLASSROOM by JULIA GREIF

Written by JULIA GREIF
Published on 2017-05-02


Since I was younger, I've always had a passion for traveling. I was fortunate to travel a lot throughout my childhood and it sparked a love I had for people, new cultures and new experiences. Throughout college, I took a few study abroad courses and just fell in love more with different cultures. I was always amazed at what people taught you who are not like you.

After graduating from WT with a Bachelors and a Masters in Communication, I decided to put my traveling passion, my faith and my love for people into play. For six months in 2016, I lived in Africa. I first traveled to Namibia for three months and then to South Africa. To say I fell in love was an understatement but not with a person. It was a love for a place. A love for the experience and people. I spent six months serving, learning, and growing in different villages and schools. Living in a place that is so materially poor taught me so many ways to be happy other than chasing after material gain. It was also a privilege to learn alongside these people and to love and serve them.



Upon returning to America, I was unsure of the next step. I had obtained this wonderful experience and I wanted to utilize it here in America as well. I had previously worked in Marketing and Advertising but I was looking for something that would fulfill my passion. This path led me to ESLI which puts my passion for people and different cultures in one classroom.

I’ve been able to take my experiences from growing up, living in a different culture after college to my career here in America. This gave me a new appreciation for cultures and people and has honestly shaped the way I have taught the students in this program. I realize how scary it is to come to a new culture for the first time so it's shown me compassion to the students who are living here. Being able to teach them is a privilege but also being able to show love in a different way has been rewarding.



Before I started working as an ESL instructor, I had never taught a class before, at least in America. But, I could understand where they were coming from. It took teaching to a whole new level because instead of just words and paper, I could make references to my travels as well to the students and we came to a place of understanding and growth because of these unique experiences. Watching the students learn and understand is the most rewarding part of this job and being able to experience this on two sides of the world has been nothing short of amazing. When it comes down to it, we're all similar whether we come from the sand dunes of Africa, the cities of Saudi Arabia, or a small town in Canyon, Texas and that is a beautiful place to be.

ESLI Centers in the United States are accredited by CEA.