Meet The International TEFL Academy Staff

TEFL Certification Ecuador

Christie Koness

Student Affairs Representative


 What is your role at international TEFL Academy?

I'm a Student Affairs Advisor at ITA - I love helping people follow their dreams and find awesome English teaching jobs abroad!


What's Your Story?

My travel story begins in 7th grade Spanish classroom in Wisconsin.  Spanish was one of the only subjects in school that ever came naturally to me.  I knew from that first class that I would travel to a Spanish speaking country and study the language.  That time finally came when I had the opportunity to study abroad in Salamanca, Spain for an entire summer after my junior year of college.  I knew about a few weeks after that trip when I was ready to hit the road and travel again, that I’d found my passion!

I went on afterwards to volunteer and teach English in Nepal.  I have not been able to stop since.  Travel has become such a huge part of my life and I am constantly thinking about and usually planning my next trip.  I try to go abroad at least once a year and I’m lucky to have found job where I can help other people do something that also matters so much to me!

Christie Taught English in Nepal

TEFL Certification Spain

  

Where are you from, where did you go to college & what did you major in at college?

I’m from all over the Midwest.  I grew up mostly in Wisconsin and Indiana. I went to college at Indiana University Bloomington and majored in International Studies and Spanish and minored in Portuguese.

What countries have you visited?

Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia, Ecuador, Chile, Argentina, Spain, Portugal, England, France, Hungary, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Nepal, Canada, Mexico, Cuba, Austria, Guatemala, Croatia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Dominican Republic, Vietnam

What's next on your list?

Morocco, Jordan, Egypt and Turkey!

Where have you lived, worked or traveled abroad long-term?

I taught English in Nepal through a volunteer program after I graduated from college.  I first taught in a rural village about 2 hours outside of Kathmandu in a low-income school and then moved on to Pokhara where I tutored children in an orphanage.  I absolutely loved this experience and there probably isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about it. 

Recently, my husband and I saved for 2 years and decided to drop everything to travel the world for 8 months.  We hit multiple countries in South America and Europe.  I’ve never regretted our decision for one second to freely and openly travel.  Even though it was difficult to leave everything behind and continue our journey upon arriving home.

 

What was one of your most memorable travel experiences?

This is another hard one to answer because I have a vault of thousands in my memory.  However, because this was one of my first experiences, I’ll say my arrival in Kathmandu, Nepal.  Prior to this, I’d only been to Europe and had never visited a third world country. 

I will never forget that car ride from the airport to the “hotel”.  There were fires in the street, cows eating out of trash cans, dogs everywhere, people banging on the taxi window.  The buildings seemed dilapidated and some roads in the capital were made of dirt (there was only one street light at the time in the entire city).  At the time I was scared, appalled, and cried upon entering my hotel room. 

I think back to that experience all the time and understand why I felt that way, but laugh.  I truly realized how first impressions of a country, a city, a person, a situation, etc. can be so wrong and how important it is to step out of your comfort zone once in a while.  I entered and departed from that country crying.  But I cried the second time because I knew how much Nepal had changed me and how sad I was to leave.

 

Best travel advice?

Travel is not for the faint of heart and it isn’t always easy (as many Instagram accounts may make you think).  Leaving your cats behind, moving out of your home, feeling FOMO (fear of missing out) with friends and family, and then traveling to a place where you don’t know anyone or how anything works can suck.  BUT.  Everything you gain from travel makes up for everything you feel that you lost during that time you were gone.   

On top of the world, no big deal!

TEFL Certification Peru

Friends on Friends on Friends

TEFL Certification France

The Thrill of Travel

TEFL Certification International TEFL Academy

What is your favorite international cuisine?

Thai and tapas.

Why do you like working at International TEFL Academy?

First, it is amazing to share 40 hours a week of your time with people that share common interests, points of view, and lifestyles as you.  Liking the people you work with is so important, from your bosses to coworkers.  It can really make or break a job.  I can easily say the people here have really helped “make” my job!

It is also really enjoyable and rewarding to help people go overseas and live their dreams.  My favorite part of this job is to hear from a student once they are happy living and loving their life abroad! 

"I’m happy to share my story in hopes of helping other
International TEFL students connect to the world."

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