Interview with Maranda Andersson — A Texan on the Loose! 🇺🇸
Maranda is a Texas-girl through and through. No, we don’t mean she’s gun-totin’ or obsessed with cattle (but let’s be serious, that beef is gooooood).
What we mean is she’s incredibly passionate, hardworking, game for anything, and yes, says the occasional “Howdy!”. All that combined led her on a three week whirlwind TEFL adventure in Poland earlier this year.
Read on for her teach abroad tales and juicy stories (*disclaimer — no campfire or s’mores provided).
Tell us your background! What led you to want to become an ESL teacher abroad?
In my life, I have had the opportunity to travel and live in different parts of the world. Being of Swedish descent, born in California and raised in Texas, I grew up appreciating the variety and complexity of cultures our world has to offer.
I studied a dual major B.A. at the University of Idaho in Anthropology and Spanish. I had taken Spanish throughout high school and if I am to be completely honest, learning a second language never came easy to me.
It wasn’t until I studied abroad in Quito, Ecuador that I fully got a grasp of my second language. The importance of my second language acquisition fully hit me once I arrived back to the States and found myself able to communicate on a different level with Spanish speakers.
One major factor that always comes into play during travel or living in a country that isn’t your own is your ability to communicate with those around you. Better communication was a main objective that led me to become an ESL teacher.
Did you have any challenges convincing family and friends that teaching abroad is a viable career path? Tell us about those conversations and give advice for future ESL teachers.
There was really no “convincing” that needed to be done towards my family and friends before heading off on my ESL journey. I made it clear how important it was to me to spread the knowledge of second language learning, and they supported me all the way!
What was the ultimate factor that made you apply for the Anglo-TEFL Scholarship program?
I really liked how the Anglo-TEFL Scholarship program offered the refresher class for those who may need some tips for extracting language from your students and what to expect when working with your students.
Tell us about the countries where you taught abroad. How were they different? How were they similar? Any favorite stories you can share?
I had the wonderful opportunity to teach abroad in Poland for my Angloville program. It was a very special experience for me because my mom was able to go on this with me as a volunteer. It was a wonderful bonding and learning experience.
What was your most unexpected challenge in the classroom as a first time ESL teacher? What would you do differently next time?
I would say an expected yet unexpected challenge that first time ESL teachers will find in the classroom is the different learning levels each student will possess and the challenge of how to adhere to the group.
As this was my first program, I would come more prepared to work with my one-to-one student. At the end of the program, each student must work on a presentation. I would like to bring more to the table to assist my students grammatically.
Who inspired you to teach abroad and why?
I have had several friends teach abroad and their expression of how powerful and rewarding the experience peaked my interest to teach abroad myself.
Any last minute advice or ideas for our readership?
Come into this program open-minded and flexible. Remember that no student is the same and we all have different learning styles.
Thank you Maranda — we hope you get to teach abroad again someday (and maybe for longer!). 🙂