Meet The International TEFL Academy Staff

Meet Erin

Erin Rydberg

Student Affairs Representative

Instagram Department

Charity Department

 What is your role at international TEFL Academy?

I am a Student Affairs Representative and I focus on job search guidance for Asia. I answer questions and provide guidance for our students & graduates to help them gain employment teaching English in Asia. From interviews, visas, & document requirements to cover letters & resumes, I help ITA students with all aspects of the job search process.

What's Your Story?

When I was a child, I remember hearing of all the stories of my aunt traveling around the world and teaching in Italy. I decided I was going to learn Italian in school and be just like her, but when it came to high school, Italian wasn’t offered. So, I went for the next best thing – French – since France is right next to Italy. Little did I know I would end up loving it and after a high school trip to France, I was hooked and decided to study French at university with hopes of teaching there one day.

My dream came true and I got into the TAPIF program and taught English to middle school students in France in a small town near Lyon. The program was only for a year and to show my parents I was being a responsible young adult, I randomly applied to a teaching position in Hong Kong, not expecting to hear anything. Sure enough, I found myself moving to Asia a month later to teach young learners! I spent three wonderful years in Hong Kong teaching, creating curriculum, and eventually hiring and training teachers before deciding to move back to Illinois to be closer to my family!

Erin spent 4 years teaching English abroad in France & Hong Kong

Teaching English in Hong Kong - Erin Rydberg


Describe Your First Experience Abroad?

My first ever trip abroad was with my high school French class when I was 17. We went on a 10-day tour throughout France, seeing Paris, the châteaux of the Loire Valley, the coast of Bretagne, and ending in Monaco and Nice. It was such an amazing and eye-opening experience, seeing as I had never left the country before! It was while I was walking around the streets of Nice that I decided I was going to switch from studying Political Science to French so that I could one day live in France, and voila! The rest is history.


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

Rockford, Illinois. I attended the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (I-L-L!) where I studied French and minored in Teaching English as a Second Language.

What countries have you visited?

Belgium, Cambodia, China, Colombia, Czech Republic, England, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Hungary, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Macau, Mexico, Monaco, Morocco, Netherlands, Panama, Philippines, Singapore, Slovakia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, United States, Vatican City

What's next on your list?

GreeceNew Zealand, Peru


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

I studied abroad for a spring semester in Paris, France during university. Then, I worked in a small town called Bourgoin-Jallieu, France for the TAPIF program, but lived in Lyon and commuted. Finally, I moved to Hong Kong to teach young learners from 2-12. I became a Head Teacher then moved up into the Head Office to write curriculum before finally becoming International Recruitment Manager and hiring and training all teachers coming into the company. 

What was one of your most memorable travel experiences?

While studying abroad in Paris, a group of five of us decided to go to Sweden because myself and another girl have Swedish lineage (who me? Tall, blonde girl – big surprise!). While waiting to board the flight, we bumped into a young couple from Sweden who had been visiting Paris. We asked them for some tips on what to see in Stockholm and they spent the entire plane ride planning an itinerary for us! They proceeded to give us their email addresses in case we wanted to me up with them during our trip, which we of course did. The guy ended up meeting us out a bar and invited us to a friend’s home – which from parenting advice 101 you are never to go to a random person’s home especially in a foreign country, but did we listen? We instead devised a plan that a few of us would go up to the apartment first (European elevators are tiny!) and if anything was wrong they would scream bloody murder and the two of us remaining would call for safety. Needless to say, everything was fine and I had absolutely one of the best nights I have ever experienced while abroad! The guy and his friends even helped us catch our 4am bus to the airport the next morning. I still talk to the guy and that night my group and I made friends for life! DISCLAIMER: I don’t suggest you do this everywhere you go! 

The Thrill of Travel

Teaching English in Latin America

ITA Staff at the Cubs Game

Info Session for Teaching English Abroad

ITA Staff in Colombia

Teach English Abroad International TEFL Academy

Name some of your favorite literature & media:

Books: I am a huge nerd fantasy fan and need books like Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings when traveling, and light beach reads like anything Sophie Kinsella. I prefer travel blogs over travel books, but something everyone should read if going to Cambodia is First They Killed My Father: A Daughter of Cambodia Remembers. 

Music: I have such an eclectic taste in music – from classic rock, to grunge, to pop, to indie, seriously can’t limit myself and this list would be way too long if I had to write them down!

TV: For travel: Anthony Bourdain’s Parts Unknown and the Layover, and all Samantha Brown – I actually don’t like her, but I just really want her job . Everything else: Chuck, Big Bang Theory, Game of Thrones, The Office, you name it.

What is your favorite international cuisine?

This is a hard question…I like too many. Mexican, French, Indian, Turkish, yum!


Why do you like working at International TEFL Academy?

Well, I am quite new but I love the fact that I get to help people have the same experiences I have had. I have been so fortunate to travel and teach English and if I can spark that interest in at least one person, then I will be a happy person. It is extremely rewarding and something you will never forget. Also, the staff here are pretty darn awesome – feels like a family and that is something I look for in a working environment!

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