Thank you to each of our ITA alumni who took the time to share their experiences and submitted a film for the Festival. We were impressed by the quality and originality of your films, and are truly moved and inspired by every single one of your stories.
Congratulations to the 2020 Teach Abroad Film Festival finalists for making it to the final 6.
Taught English in Japan & Vietnam
Film: The Other Side of Fear
Kenny Nguyen has been traveling since he was a little boy. His parents would frequently take him across the world during summer vacations. After graduating Columbia College Chicago in 2016, everyone expected him to join the corporate world, everyone except himself. In college, he made promises to himself that he would live in Asia for at least two years. This part of the world, specifically Vietnam, fascinated him. Kenny has many family members in Vietnam, some whom he had never met or didn’t know well. Before entering into the corporate world, he knew he had to make up for lost time with his family so in 2017, Kenny got TEFL certified and went on to teach English in Japan and Vietnam, also known as “the motherland”.
Teaches English in China
Film: Make. Great. Memories.
Benoit’s story started in 2015 when he taught English voluntarily in Peru. He found himself living with 20 other people from all around the world. That experience opened his eyes to what is possible and he then vowed that one day he would be an ESL teacher. Back to reality, he soon forgot about his ambitions as the daily grind took hold of him. In 2018, he found old journals where he wrote his life goal: Teach ESL Abroad with a link to the International TEFL Academy website. He decided to save up for his TEFL course in Vietnam by Tree planting a summer in Northern British-Columbia. Then headed east to Jiaxing, China in order to teach English, a job he found through Career China. Since then, he’s started a side-hustle in video content marketing for local businesses.
Teaches English Online in Asia
Film: Empty Spaces
Steven grew up on the West Coast of Scotland before leaving for the University of Mount Olive, North Carolina to study English on a Men’s Volleyball Scholarship. After graduating in 2014, he was offered a position at his alma mater dealing with international student recruitment. After spending almost five years working in an office, his will to live was rapidly deteriorating, prompting him, and his girlfriend Jessica to enroll in ITA’s online TEFL program in 2018. One year later, they left the US, teaching English online, to travel the world. After six months on the road, they have spent time in China, Mongolia, Japan, Singapore, Malaysia, Brunei, Vietnam, & the Philippines. They currently have no set plans but anticipate about 2-3 years of traveling.
Teaches English in Indonesia
Film: Peace, Love & Indonesia
While earning her Biological Anthropology degree, Courtney was bitten by the travel bug during a study abroad program to Israel in June 2015. After graduating from The College at Brockport in December 2015, she moved to NYC and worked in Student Affairs at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx. She knew she wanted to travel more and also encourage others by leading the way. She completed her TEFL certification from International TEFL Academy in February 2017 and went on to teach English online and tutor in a summer program until June 2019, when she quit her jobs and moved back home to Western NY. In August 2019, she applied and was accepted to work at EF English First Indonesia where she currently lives and continues exploring South East Asia.
Teaches English Online
Film: Travelling Internationally for the First Time
Jonas moved to Corvallis, OR from his hometown of Nashville, TN soon after he graduated from Mississippi State University in May 2017. He graduated with a degree in Wildlife Biology and never thought he would be teaching English to people from all over the world. This new move really opened his eyes to the abundant possibilities this world has to offer and decided to get his TEFL certification in Thailand.
This experience really changed him and has inspired him to see more of the world and bring others along with him. He's currently teaching English online with two different companies but soon that experience will springboard him into his new life as a world traveler and educator.
Teaches English in South Korea
Film: Life's Cross-Training
After earning his degree from the University of Rhode Island in 2013, Ryan took on a brief stint in corporate America before deciding to complete his TEFL certification through International TEFL Academy. In December 2015, Ryan flew off to South Korea and hasn't looked back since. You can find Ryan enjoying kimchi and seaweed with the locals or on the mountains training for his next ultra marathon. Ryan is unsure if he will be an expat for life or return home in 2021, but all he knows is he is exactly where he is supposed to be right now. His journey can all be traced back to a conversation with Jessie Smith, who at the time was Ryan's advisor at ITA. So much of what she said resonated with him that he just had to pursue teaching English abroad further.