Exploring the Unknown: Alum Kylee Souders’s Journey to Teaching in South Korea
It’s not uncommon for recent Westminster grads to teach or get involved in service work abroad after they walk through The Columns. Kylee Souders, ’13, from Eldon, MO, is one such alum. Kylee decided to jump head first into the unknown after graduation and move to Jecheon-si, South Korea to teach English. Below, Kylee talks about her decision to teach abroad and what effect Westminster had on her choice.
As a recent college graduate, I completely understand the pressures of trying to figure out what to do after the “best four years of your life.” We spend four years working for a degree, but once we have it, what do we do with it? I know I’m not alone in saying that I was still unsure of how I wanted to use my newly-obtained degree upon graduation. My indecisiveness ultimately lead me to here, in South Korea. When I began telling people my plan to move to South Korea to teach English as a second language, one of the first responses I would often receive was, “Are you crazy?” But despite an unfriendly neighbor to the north, I was not scared or nervous to uproot my life in the U.S. for an unknown life in South Korea.
I knew I could take on this challenge because I received a liberal arts degree from Westminster College. During my four years at Westminster, I not only worked towards an International Business degree, but I had opportunities outside the classroom that I absolutely could not have experienced anywhere else. Westminster gave me opportunities to be a leader on campus through Greek life, NCAA Division III Athletics, and Student Foundation. Westminster also taught me the value of living in a global community, which lead me to study abroad at the University of Winchester in the UK through the direct-enrollment program with the University. It was an experience that forever changed my life. Westminster also gave me the unique opportunity to develop close relationships with faculty and staff through small class sizes and a community-oriented campus. Without the help and encouragement from some of my favorite professors, I literally would not be where I am today (in Korea!).
Westminster has prepared me to face challenges with courage and compassion and to take risks, even if the risk involves leaving the known to explore the unknown. I cannot wait to see what Korea has in store for me. I know the valuable lessons and experiences I learned at Westminster will guide me through anything. I know my Westminster education will take me wherever I dream of going and will aid me in whatever challenges may arise. I have no doubt that I am a better person for having spent four years of my life there. And, as always, “It’s a great day to be a Blue Jay,” even from halfway around the world!
Kylee was placed at her position by EPIK (English Program in Korea). To learn more about Westminster students and alums abroad, check out David McDermott’s blog about his experience in China, anecdotes from biology students in Belize, and more from Westminster’s many summer travel courses.