Graduation from college was eminent, I didn't have a job and the market didn't look good. After applying to upward of 80 jobs, I decided to take a step back.
"What else can you do with a journalism degree?" I thought to myself. "Teach English, of course."
Given that I now hold a degree in Journalism and not education, I don't have many of the necessary qualifications to get a teaching job in the States — even the great state of Texas where our education system ranks number 49 in the nation for SAT verbal skills.
That coupled with the fact that everyone was having tough luck finding a job, I decided maybe I could weather the storm somewhere else. I could use the change in scenery anyway.
A friend I met while working at The Daily Texan in college is teaching in Taiwan now. I started by asking her about half a million questions and then she referred me to her school and a recruitment agency. I scored interviews — and subsequently jobs — with both the Gloria English School and Reach to Teach Recruitment within the next week.
Let me recap: After four months of searching across the nation for a job at any newspaper, magazine, trade publication, non-profit, etc., I found nothing. But I was offered two jobs in Taiwan after only a week.
The Taiwanese don't waste time when it comes to their kids' educations.
I accepted the position with GES. They offer housing options and are just outside Taipei so I can get the hustle and bustle of the city when I want it, but I won't be overwhelmed by it.
I'll be the first to admit that since we moved out of the East Texas country when I was 12 I have had no problem with being a city girl. But, being in a smaller (though what I believe to be still quite large) town, I think will force me to be more aware of my surroundings and really delve into the local culture.
What's the point in moving to another country for (at least) one year if you're not going to jump into the culture?
Over the next couple of weeks postings will be relatively slow but I intend to talk about my expectations, concerns and general feelings, which will mostly be described as "overwhelmed," "nervous," and "excited."
Once I get to Taiwan, I'm sure postings will be frantic but, hopefully, regular so that we can take this journey together.
I say goodbye to my lovely friends, family and life here in Austin in a week. Then I visit my sister in Seattle for a week in the Northwestern outdoors where we'll be crabbing, whale watching, and almost definitely drinking beer.
From there, it's a 12-hour, non-stop, one-way flight to Taipei where a guy named Steve will be my first impression of Taiwan. Let's hope it's a good one.