I did not intend to start a career in international education, but more or less wandered into it.  I began my career by teaching English in Japan with the now defunct chain of English conversation schools called NOVA. I lived and worked in Japan for 2 years teaching English to everyone from 4-year-old children to 70-year-old pensioners. Despite the challenges of working in Japanese office culture I really enjoyed the work and the lifestyle. I began to see education and teaching English as a way to finance my travel habit.


As my time in Japan progressed and I was able to travel around East Asia I began to notice, how access to quality education was in many places the purview of the social elites. Once I noticed this I began to see it everywhere. This prompted me to join the Peace Corps in 2006. I was sent to the Republic of Georgia, where I lived and worked as a secondary school TEFL volunteer for 2 years. It was in Georgia that I began to see international education as a career and more than just a way to travel. This realization among other things prompted me to extended my service to the Central Asian republic of Kyrgyzstan, where I spent 2 years teaching at a boarding school in an isolated region near the Kazakh border.


In many ways the 2 years between the August war in Georgia and the events in Kyrgyzstan last June, were some of the hardest of my life. Witnessing first hand the results of brain drain, propaganda, imperialism, corruption and nepotism really made clear to me power of education to liberate but also to indoctrinate. It could just as easily be a force used to maintain the status quo, as it could be a means of positive sustainable change. This epiphany, drawn out over a 2-year period, was what finally made me realize that international education was the field for me.


This 6-year roller coaster ride has left me a changed person. I have discovered a love of foreign languages and the low intensity chaos and confusion that typifies working in polyglot multicultural environments. I have learned to drink wine from a horn, eat sheep eyeballs and to appreciate karaoke. Most of all I have realized the importance of education and well educated people for any country’s development effort.


I came to CIE with the intention of gaining the skills that would allow me to work in a development context, creating the kind of education that doesn’t perpetuate exploitation and oppression. As well as to learn how to drive and create those educational development projects and policies that liberate as opposed to indoctrinate.


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CIE Graduate