MEET THE ITA STAFF

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Irene Jacobson | Admissions Advisor

Irene Jacobson

What is your role at International TEFL Academy?

I am an Admissions Advisor and have been a part of the ITA team since October of 2020.

What's your story?

I had the fortune to start traveling at a young age. That early exposure started a lifelong passion. 

In high school, I didn’t know where I wanted to go to school or what I wanted to study but I was always sure that I wanted to move abroad. I wanted to experience food textures and smells I had never known before, memorize a new phone number, and address in a foreign tongue. Learn about new holidays and traditions. 

I had my first extended experience in Taiwan. I’ll never forget the feeling as I boarded the plane. I was nervous and excited but couldn’t figure out which was the dominant emotion. I opened up the in-flight magazine to distract myself from the monumental shift my life was undergoing. The first page I opened to was a spotlight on the town I went to college in, Greensboro, NC. Four years before, I hadn’t known of that city at all but it was now a home away from home. I took this as a sign that no matter where I went, I could make a home.

I lived a year and a half in Kaohsiung in what I fondly think back on as my “rumspringa” days. I traveled out of the country once a month, went camping, and scooted around every other weekend. I made lifelong friends and memories that have sustained me through being locked inside during COVID. 

Next, I ventured to South Korea. My mom had done Peace Corps in South Korea and I had always been interested in living there. The opportunity presented itself when an acquaintance from college told me of an opening at his school and I decided to roll the dice. In a very serendipitous turn of events, that acquaintance is now my boyfriend. We have had the opportunity to travel all around the world together; eating, diving, and hiking. 

Living abroad has given me all of the things I hold most dear to my heart. My partner, my cats, my closest friends, and my favorite foods.

Where are you from and where did you go to college?

I’m from Brookline, MA.

I attended college at Guilford College with a major in Business Management.

What was your first travel abroad experience like?

The first time I went abroad, I had just turned six. My uncle was living in Japan at the time and we were going over as a family to visit him. I remember getting my long hair chopped into a short bob before the trip, in preparation for the heat of Japan’s summer. I remember getting to pick my own meal on the flight and having my own personal TV in front of me! I could have never gotten off that plane and been happy.

When the plane landed in Narita, I waited with my mother in a long line for the restroom. The first one that came available was a squat style toilet, which I had never seen before. I recall looking up at my mom, probably with huge eyes full of apprehension. She said, “you’ll have to eventually, might as well do it now.” Those are the words I’ve lived by since.

What countries have you been to?

Canada, Germany, Switzerland, France, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Austria, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Japan, Sri Lanka, Philippines, Malaysia, Vietnam, South Korea, Thailand, and Cambodia.

Where have you lived/taught abroad?

I lived in Kaohsiung, Taiwan for a year and a half to teach English. Then I moved to Daegu, South Korea, and taught for two more years!

Best travel story?

While living in Taiwan, I went to a “firework” festival. This festival was written up as one of the most dangerous in the world, which meant I had to go. My friends and I geared up for the festival. Wore layers and layers as well as a scooter helmet to protect ourselves from the stray fireworks we were told would be pelted at us. We were covered head to toe and ready for the excitement!

We get to the festival and it is swarmed. My friends and I tried to navigate the crowds and keep track of each other, but everyone was wearing a helmet and were pretty indistinguishable. I ended up getting separated from my friends. As I got out my phone to try and call them, an older Taiwanese gentleman grabbed me and pulled me. Instantly I was nervous but then I saw what he pulled me away from - an exploding firework! He and his family took me in, gave me tea and treats while I waited for the fireworks to finish to be able to connect with my friends. This story is my favorite because it encompasses my time in Taiwan. I was a little bit disoriented but always greeted with the utmost kindness and warmth.

Favorite ethnic food?

Japanese.

Why do you like working at ITA?

My life has been fully shaped by living and teaching abroad. Being able to help facilitate that for others brings me the deepest joy.

Irene Jacobson ITA Admissions Advisor
Teach English Abroad Irene Jacobson
TEFL Irene Jacobson
Teach English Abroad & Online Irene Jacobson
International TEFL Academy Advisor Irene Jacobson
ITA TEFL Irene Jacobson

Meet The Rest of The ITA Crew

Meet The Team

ITA Team

Meet the ITA staff who has lived, traveled, and/or taught abroad and online extensively. We've been in your shoes so you can do it too.

 

Academics

ITA Professors

All of our Course instructors possess advanced degrees (Masters Degrees, PhD's or the equivalent) and at least 10 years of teaching & training experience. 

 

Admissions

ITA Admissions Advisors

Before enrolling in a course, all students are provided with one-on-one pre-enrollment advice from expert advisors to determine how they can realistically achieve their goals of working as professional English teachers abroad & online.

 

Student Affairs

ITA Student Affairs Advisors

Following enrollment, students receive lifetime job search guidance through the Student Affairs Department to assist them in navigating the international job market, gaining employment, and preparing to travel and live abroad.