Meet The International TEFL Academy Staff


Jessie Smith

Marketing Manager

Admissions advisor

Media Department

 What is your role at international TEFL Academy?

I am an ITA Alumni! I joined the ITA  team as an Admissions Advisor in 2014 and then made the switch to the Marketing team in 2016. I'm now the Marketing Manager at ITA.

Note: One of ITA's most senior writers, Jessie is the author of numerous articles about teaching English abroad & TEFL certification, and she has spoken at various conferences about teaching abroad, including the Lessons from Abroad (LFA) symposiums in San Diego & Portland. Her articles have also appeared in such popular online publications as InternQueen.

What's Your Story?

I started traveling for the first time as a junior in college when I studied abroad in Gold Coast, Australia. I loved living abroad so much that I had to go again! I studied abroad my senior year in southern India.

After graduating from the University of Iowa in 2012 with a BA in Journalism, I was ready to 'start my career' so I jumped into an office job in Chicago. I was bored to tears within months, shocking, I know. With student loans looming, I was looking for a realistic, affordable way to continue traveling the world.

I randomly walked into the International TEFL Academy office on my way home from work one afternoon. About four months later I managed to sublet my apartment,  get rid of a lot of my stuff, take the ITA Online Course, and hop on a flight to Seoul, South Korea to teach English. I eventually hopped over to Hanoi, Vietnam to continue teaching and traveling. 

When I’m not working, I'm out on some sort of hiking/roadtripping/camping adventure with my Goldendoodle pup, Lola. 

Jessie is an ITA Alumni & taught English in South Korea and Vietnam.

Meet Jessie


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

I'm from the best city in the world, Chicago! I currently live in Portland, Oregon. I went to college at The University of Iowa and studied Journalism & Sport Studies (aka used to want to work in Sports Media). 

What countries have you visited?

Australia, Fiji, Mexico, Thailand, India, South Korea, China, Japan, Taiwan, Malaysia, Vietnam, Cambodia, the Dominican Republic, Greece, Italy, Iceland, Ireland, England, Switzerland, Scotland, Austria, Slovakia, Denmark, Turkey, Hungary, Czech Republic, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, Nicaragua, Colombia, Peru, Panama, Costa Rica

WHAT's next on your list?

I just got back from a big Asia reunion tour - caught up with old friends in South Korea & hopped around Japan. In terms of upcoming trips, 2019 is going to be a wild year. I'm hiking a month on the Appalachian Trail in May and plan to do the rim-to-rim hike at the Grand Canyon with my dad this fall. 

Having fun in Colombia

Jessie Medellin Colombia

ITA Staff in Panama

Panama Teaching English Abroad

The Thrill of Travel

Thailand teach abroad

What is your favorite international cuisine?

I will eat anything when I'm traveling, but really good Korean BBQ is definitely my #1 pick. 


Best Travel Advice?

JUST GO! When in doubt - GO. You have dreamt of getting out and going to see the world, quit over-thinking, no more worrying, quit the excuses, and go see the world.


Why do you like working at International TEFL Academy?

ITA is the funky, loud, strange family I never knew I needed/wanted... I could not love this job more or be more grateful to be a part of this team. My colleagues are some of the most interesting people I've ever met, and they have become some of my best friends. My goal is to inspire people and help them realize how accessible travel really can be. YOU CAN DO IT!

I can't wait to help you travel the world!

TEFL Certification North America