Home Country: Australia
Voting for the IVHQ Teach & Volunteer Abroad Scholarship has now closed. Congratulations to each of our 12 finalists, including Armando Wunsch and Hannah Pitts who have been awarded with a scholarship.
Having completed her third year of teaching in Australia, Hannah is taking a 12-month sabbatical to “make space for new adventures and different challenges.” Hannah is set to arrive in South America next month and shares, “I want to make this trip meaningful, and to give as much as I will receive from the experience.” Hannah is already registered to volunteer with IVHQ in Ecuador and wants to add another volunteering opportunity to her journey. Armed with the Spanish skills she has gained over the past six months and her existing international teaching experience, Hannah is confident this will help enormously in connecting with the students she has the opportunity to work with in South America.
Why are you passionate about teaching English abroad?
Because it combines two of my greatest loves in life: travel and teaching! I love working with kids, and have spent all of my adult life in pursuit of this passion. Maybe it’s because I never really grew up… but I just can’t get enough of all the songs, games, colours, stories and creativity that come with teaching children. Above all, I feel challenged not to sit on my good fortune, but to use it to empower those whose circumstances are tough, or who don’t have access to the same opportunities I’ve been blessed with. Literacy is such a valuable asset, and one I’m well equipped to pass on. Teaching English abroad brings passion, curiosity and adventure together in the most rewarding kind of way.
What experience/skills can you apply to teaching English abroad?
I’m a qualified primary school teacher, with 3 years of full-time classroom experience under my belt. Last year I was lucky enough to spend some time in Fiji during the holidays, volunteering with a group of our staff and high school students. We taught the English lessons each day at our ‘sister school’, and provided a truckload of resources to better equip the classrooms. Teaching English as a second language is totally different to teaching it as a native language, so I’m really grateful for that experience! I’ve also been learning Spanish for the past six months to prepare for extended travel through South America, which will help enormously in connecting with students in Costa Rica.
Why do you believe you will be effective in teaching English abroad?
I believe I’ll be effective in this role primarily because of my skills and experience, but also because of my passion for working with kids. I have a whole host of valuable resources and ideas that I’m keen to share. I’d actually like to stay on beyond the 2 weeks sponsored by the scholarship, for an extra 5 weeks. This way I can get really stuck into the program, making a meaningful contribution to the students I teach and to the school they attend – in whatever capacity is needed. Also, as I’ve learned Spanish, I have come to understand first-hand how challenging it is to learn to a new language! This understanding has helped shape my approach to teaching English abroad, and I believe it will help me to work more effectively.
What are you looking to gain from the experience?
I’m hoping that my mind will be opened, my thinking challenged, and my heart stretched a bit bigger. I want to meet and learn from people of a vast and diverse spectrum of backgrounds, cultures and belief systems. I want to invest my time in achieving a goal that matters, and to be in community with other IVHQ volunteers and locals who share the same goal. Also… Costa Rica looks pretty flipping amazing! Very keen to spend time in this beautiful country.