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Moving from Greece to Canada as a teenager was a bit of a shock to the system for Christina Tachtampa. But the 26-year-old says it was an experience that has set her up well for life and volunteering. “Learning English was very difficult at first. With the dedication and enthusiasm of my teachers, I was fluent within three months. Their dedication has always fueled a desire in me to be just as enthusiastic as an educator.” While earning her bachelor’s degree in Arts and Contemporary Studies with a major in History, Christina had the privilege to volunteer, lead and coordinate international volunteer trips to Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, Ghana, Kenya and Uganda. She says this experience paired with her innovative and creative thinking will allow her to bring children of any age together while creating a fun and safe place to learn.
Why are you passionate about teaching English abroad?
I have a strong passion for educating others and I wish to take my learning to the next level by taking my TEFL certification. I was always a believer that a student should bring their learning outside the four walls of a classroom in order to blossom into a leader and global citizen. As an educator, I want to capture this kind of learning and bring it to students that may have limited learning opportunities. By bringing the world in their fingertips, I can have a small part of shaping them into the leaders and global citizens of tomorrow by giving them a life-changing lesson today. This can foster positive change in their communities and beyond. In return, I know that teaching English abroad will teach me more than I can ever teach. An invaluable experience that I am keen to embark on.
What experience/skills can you apply to teaching English abroad?
While earning my Bachelor’s Degree in Arts and Contemporary Studies with a major in History, I had the privilege to volunteer, lead and coordinate international volunteer trips to Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, Ghana, Kenya and Uganda. The projects we ran in partnership with the local communities varied from re-constructing a playground at a rehabilitation center, to constructing a granary to store grains at a girls’ orphanage, to running after school programs for the children. Most relevant, I taught grade seven Social Studies along the side of a local teacher in Kenya. While I am not a qualified teacher and have not received my TEFL yet, I have been told by many colleagues, locals overseas and friends that my passion for educating others shines through when I stand in the front of the room. In addition, I have received training through the Centre for Intercultural Learning in Intercultural Effectiveness and have ran presentations to 1000+ university students on cross cultural communication, acclimatizations and travel safety.
Why do you believe you will be effective in teaching English abroad?
I believe that my experiences with volunteering in multiple cultural settings and passion for educating others would allow me to effectively teach English in any setting. My innovative and creative thinking will allow me to bring children of any age together and will allow me to create a fun and safe place to learn. I am always keen in creating a place of learning where students not only learn from the teacher but from each other as well.
Also, I have studied multiple languages and I know how intimidating and challenging it can be. I moved to Canada when I was 12 years old from Greece and learning English was very difficult at first. With the dedication and enthusiasm of my teachers, I was fluent within three months. Their dedication has always fueled a desire in me to be just as enthusiastic as an educator. This makes me more eager to embark on this adventure so I can create and be part of a life-changing learning environment.
What are you looking to gain from the experience?
This experience will allow me to be challenged and go outside of my comfort zone in a way that I have yet to experience. I want to continue investing my time in volunteering and learning from the locals by giving something back (even as small as a smile). I long to gain invaluable lessons from the local community and other fellow IVHQ volunteers in beautiful Guatemala. Lessons that I can share with my community in Toronto while continuing to advocate for international experiential learning and life changing opportunities.