It has been one very long year, but I can now proudly say that I am now a proud owner of an MA TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) from St. Michael's College in Vermont. I was one of three students in their pilot program which combines a mix of on-campus classes during the summer with on-line courses during the fall and spring semesters totaling 36 credits without teaching licensure (not necessary if you don't plan on teaching K-12 in the US or international schools).
Why choose St. Michael's? Well, besides the fact that it was my alma mater, it really was the best option for me. I didn't want a degree which was 'on-line', as many employers shy away from these kinds of degrees, but I wanted a degree from an English speaking country, didn't want to quit my job in Korea, and didn't want to go in debt again. Miraculously, I was able to do all of that through this program.
Last summer I was able to take time off from work (impossible with many jobs, I know) to take a 6-week summer semester on campus of 12 credits. It was intense, but since I didn't have to worry about working at the same time, it was very reasonable. Then in the fall and spring semester, I took one 4 credit course on-line for each semester while working full time. For the most part, this was very doable, with just an occasional stressful week here and there when big projects were due. This summer, between one 5-week on-line course in early summer and another 6-week 12 credit summer session on campus I was finally able to graduate on August 1st with my MA TESOL.
The grand total cost of the courses was just over $20,000, factoring in plane tickets, rent and food for the summer, the cost was probably around $23,00-24,000 for me to attend this program. I was able to do this completely debt free as I had a bit of money saved up after finishing paying off my undergrad loans several years ago, plus being able to continue working full time while taking classes let me earn another year's worth of salary before returning for my second semester on campus.
Was it worth it? Well, that is still to be determined, but I am hoping to be better qualified for jobs, particularly for teaching university here in Korea or in other countries. I am going to be looking for university teaching jobs in Seoul starting in the spring semester of 2014. I don't know yet if I will be able to find one, but I am hoping that the MA TESOL should let me stand out from the hoards of applicants which apply for these jobs. If anyone of my readers out there happen to know of anyone hiring, please let me know!
I have just two weeks left in the States, then I'll be back to Korea with a lot of excitement with a wedding and honeymoon coming up very soon. I'd like to say that I'll be blogging more now, but unfortunately I can't promise that for a little while longer. Who knows, I hope I find the time and motivation to blog sooner rather than later!
For those interested in studying at St. Michael's, please see their website: http://www.smcvt.edu/Graduate-Programs/Academic-Programs/Teaching-English-to-Speakers-of-Other-Languages.aspx