From Thailand to Colombia, Two Time Greenheart Travel Teacher, Paulina Corrales
Paulina Corrales has been making her way around the world, teaching English first in Miami, Florida, then Trang, Thailand, and currently in Medellin, Colombia. Read on to learn about Paulina’s experiences and why she thinks you should teach English abroad!
Why did you first decide to teach English abroad?
I decided to teach English abroad because I was teaching ESOL in Miami, Florida and I wanted to travel and teach at the same time. And this was going to be the best way.
How has your experience in Thailand impacted your experience in Colombia?
In Thailand I learned to never expect anything because if you do your expectations are mostly never made and then you are let down. Learning that in Thailand has helped me tremendously here in Colombia. Also since I know Spanish fluently, teaching in Thailand beforehand and NOT knowing a word of Thai has taught me so much about overcoming language barriers and how to get my point across without having to use Spanish.
Why did you decide to teach English again, for the second time on a completely different continent?
After teaching in Thailand, I really fell in love with teaching English as a second language. I decided to do once more because I have been wanting to live in South America and I saw this as the opportunity. It was either now or never.
What are the biggest differences you’ve noticed between Thailand and Colombia?
EVERYTHING! The culture, the religion, the way people interact with foreigners and the food. In Thailand people were scared to talk to me, here Colombians are so interested in meeting and speaking to a foreigner.
If you had to spend the rest of your life in one city in either Thailand or Colombia, which would you choose?
This is so hard…. I think I would choose Medellin, Colombia because it is a little more on my comfort zone area. I dominate Spanish, I have family members here and it is not too far from home (Florida). Also the weather here is perfect, people are extremely nice, there are so many places to travel too and so many people here want to learn English so there will always be an abundance amount of work here.
What would you say to someone who was on the fence about teaching English abroad?
Do it! You will never regret a second of it. It is not easy to adapt to a new country, culture and a new working environment but all the difficult moments at the beginning of your time abroad will be nothing to even sweat after you have adapted and settled in. My times abroad have taught me so much about myself and about how much I love other cultures and traveling. It has also let me teach many people and the people I teach have also taught me many things I wouldn’t have learned elsewhere. So my two words would be DO IT!