Mike Keefer | Admissions Manager

Mike Keefer | Admissions Manager

What is your role at International TEFL Academy?

I am one of two Admissions Managers. I joined the team in April of 2022.

What's your story?

Like many Midwesterners, I grew up in the suburbs of a large city (Chicago), my vacations growing up were to see my grandparents (Florida), and I attended my state school (University of Illinois). I didn’t leave the U.S. until I studied abroad outside of Sydney in my junior year. Thinking that my experience was pretty awesome but that Australian culture was pretty similar to American culture after I finished school, I moved to Chiang Mai, Thailand for two amazing years teaching first grade. I bounced around a bit when I returned to the States, but at my mom’s wedding reception to my stepdad, I got into a conversation with an old family friend who worked in international education. Since what she did sounded a lot better than the technical recruiting I was doing, I shot her a resume, and the rest, as they say, is history. I ended up working for 10 years at a company that ran a program for inbound high school exchange students. Got to travel for work, moved up a few times, and met a cute coworker who is now my wife, but after a decade, I knew I needed a change. A former colleague let me know ITA was looking, and here I am!

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

A suburb of Chicago, St. Charles, IL. And the University of Illinois.

What was your first travel abroad experience like?

I got off the plane in Sydney, Australia in July (their winter), wearing shorts in 60-degree weather, only to have the locals look at me like a crazy person. I was studying abroad with some friends so we hailed a cab to our school after arriving. We had a wonderful cab driver who welcomed us to his country, gave us some great advice, and refused a tip since he made $16 an hour due to the minimum wage laws in Australia. I remember marveling at this at the time, but I think what I was really marveling at was the revelation that what I had always known might not be the best or only way to do things? Internalizing that understanding and using that to develop a curiosity to discover what other things were different than what I’ve always known is a huge milestone in my life. 

What countries have you been to?

Canada, Mexico, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Paraguay, Uruguay, Argentina, England, France, Spain, Germany, Hungary, Greece, Turkey, Australia, Thailand, China, South Korea, Laos, Vietnam, Myanmar, Cambodia, Malaysia, Singapore Morocco, Iceland, and India.

Where have you lived/taught abroad?

Australia (study abroad), Thailand (teaching).

Best travel story?

A tie between the spider bite in Uruguay and the rabid dog bite in Thailand… injuries really do make for the best stories, as long as everything works out!

Favorite ethnic food?


Why do you like working at ITA?

I’m really excited to work for a company that gives people (but especially Americans) an avenue to go travel/live abroad. I feel very shaped by my experiences abroad, and being able to help others have similar experiences is very rewarding. 

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.



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. 



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.