On being back in university

Queen's University Fall

So back in August I told you I was heading back to university to earn my Bachelor of Education, however, I haven’t really written much about it on the blog. So today, in lieu of a post from some far-flung locale, I thought I’d give you an update as to how it’s going so far and how I even ended up here.

It’s a bit of a winding story, so I guess we should go back to Spring of 2010. That’s the year I graduated from university and I was a big mess. I had no clue what I wanted to do and there weren’t many job prospects in the city for someone with a degree in Humanities and German Studies. Who majors in that anyway? I knew that I wanted to live overseas and travel, but I didn’t necessarily know how to make that happen. Becoming a certified teacher certainly wasn’t on my mind.

Pffft, teaching… I can’t tell you how many times people told me I would make a great teacher when I was growing up. “You’re so good at explaining things.” “Kids really seem to like you!” “You’re a natural in front of the classroom!” Meanwhile in my head I was thinking that couldn’t be any further from the truth. Yet life has a funny way of leading you down the most unexpected, or perhaps most obvious paths, because I’ve essentially been ‘teaching’ in some kind of capacity ever since I got my first job at 16.

Some of my jobs throughout high school and university included tutoring elementary school students at a learning centre, working as a summer camp counsellor, and on top of that I also spent time volunteering at a girls’ home in Bolivia. These were all experiences I really enjoyed, so I don’t know why ‘teaching’ didn’t click with me sooner.

After travelling every chance I got during my university breaks, I realized that teaching ESL was a great way to live overseas, so I eventually enrolled in a TESL program in Toronto where I gained some experience teaching English to a mixture of exchange students and newly arrived immigrants – I loved it! That combined with a year teaching in Korea helped me realize that perhaps this wasn’t such a bad path after all.

Then last fall while travelling in Hong Kong, during a typhoon mind you, I had a bit of a serendipitous meeting. At the time I was debating, hmm, Masters? Education degree? What to do, what to do? That’s when I met Oneika, a fellow travel blogger who has been teaching her way around the world with stints in France, Mexico, England, Hong Kong…and I might be missing a few places. But anyway, we got to talking and it just clicked for me that the Bachelors of Education was the program I wanted to do.

So I submitted my applications while I was in Thailand, got the ‘yes’ while I was living in Berlin, and I cut my European trip short to come back to Canada.

Why the sense of urgency? Well, this is actually the last year that Canada is offering the Bachelor of Education as an 8-month program! After that it is shifting into a 2-year degree, and I just couldn’t imagine myself going back to school for 2 years! To say competition was rife this year would be an understatement; just a few weeks ago I found out that the acceptance rate for our program this fall was only 1 out of 10, so whenever I’m having a tough day at school I remind myself that I’m quite lucky to even be here at all.

So far the program has been going really well. It has been incredibly intense in terms of the workload (if I’m not posting as often here on the blog it’s because I’m writing essays and lesson planning), however, it has also been a lot of fun. I’ve been doing my practicum these past few weeks and the things that come out of kids’ mouths are hilarious.

Another reason that I’m pretty excited about this program is that I’m focusing on international education, which means this spring I’ll be completing a teaching placement overseas. Hooray for mixing studies with travel! I’ll let you know where I’m off to once everything is confirmed and the flights are booked, but here’s your hint: I’m looking south.

I’ve had a few people tell me, “Oh, you’re giving up the travel-blogging dream and the freedom to travel just to go back to school,” but I really don’t feel like I’m giving up either of those. I really see this program as a key to a whole new world of possibilities and it’s something that I’m really excited about. I’m not saying I’ll be jumping straight into a teaching contract right away – Sam and I already have some insane post-graduation travels planned for the spring – but it’s an option that I have whenever I’m ready to take the leap.

Now it’s your turn. 
What have you been up to this fall?

30 Comments

  • You are right… this is going to open doors, not close them!
    I kind of wish I had teacherly tendencies… I couldn’t be farther from a teacher. I really struggled with teaching while I was in Mumbai. I’d rather just play and read than teach. I bet you are the best teacher, I can just see it.
    Hopefully we can cross paths once I head back east (to school myself!). I will be there end of December. x

  • Rebekah says:

    I think its really smart to get an actual degree in teaching. In terms of travel its such a brilliant way to go. I would do it… but I don’t love teaching that much. Definitely not my calling in life although it definitely can be fun. That 8 month program is great, I know one program in the states that is 12 months long and that’s the shortest I’ve heard of
    Rebekah recently posted..The Unique Perks of Living in ChinaMy Profile

    • Mikayla says:

      Hey!

      What is this 12-month program in the States you speak of? I already have my Bachelor’s of Arts and my TEFL certificate and am interested in education degree. THANKS!

  • Nichelle @ Airline Miles Experts says:

    This is great news! I am so thrilled at your new adventure in studies. 🙂 I can relate to you as I love to teach as well (yet my degree is on Business Administration 😉 ).

    Good luck to your studies! 8 months is just short, it’s gonna be fun.
    Nichelle @ Airline Miles Experts recently posted..A day in Amsterdam for 12 euroMy Profile

  • J.D. says:

    That’s great that you were able to go back to school to get that degree in only eight months! I also discovered while teaching overseas (in Korea) that I would much rather be a teacher than become a journalist, which is what I studied in college. Once I’m done in Korea, I’m heading back and becoming a “real” teacher with the education degree and everything!

  • Good for you! I wish you all the best and I hope we can see more of your gorgeous university. Look at those colors!!
    Lauren Meshkin @BonVoyageLauren recently posted..Photo Essay: Falling In Love with GhentMy Profile

  • Sounds like it was definitely the right decision to go back to school. Especially as this qualification is perfect for travelling!
    I’ve actually gone back to school this fall too. After travelling for more than three years, I’m back living in Ireland for the next while, doing a post grad at night and interning during the day! It’s strange to be home, but I’m loving seeing how pretty the fall season is here! 🙂
    Good luck with your studies 🙂
    Christine | The Traveloguer recently posted..Foodie Delights- Food in NepalMy Profile

  • Emily says:

    Wow 1 in 10! Good for you (especially with applying while abroad!). I have no doubt these 8 months will be well worth the time and workload, and I can’t wait to find out where you head to once you’re done!
    Emily recently posted..The Draw of JaipurMy Profile

  • Ashley says:

    I love how travel helped lead you to your future career- especially when most people think travelers are just running away from ‘real life’ and the responsibilities that come with it. I’m hoping travel will open my eyes to a possible career choice because I have no idea what I want to do at the moment. And I hope you won’t keep us in suspense for too long.. I want to hear about these “insane” spring travel plans!
    Ashley recently posted..Haunted NiagaraMy Profile

  • That’s great, Audrey! Isn’t it funny how sometimes the answer is staring us right in the face. Good to hear that you’re enjoying your time there 🙂

    As for me this fall; still on the road (currently in India) and I’m (hopefully) finally starting work on my book!
    Andrea Anastasiou recently posted..A Visit To Chokhi Dhani in Jaipur (And Why We Won’t Be Returning)My Profile

  • It is never a bad choice to get an education plus it sounds like it was meant to be, and who can argue with that! I have a Masters in Religious studies and Nordic languages, almost the same as you, so I get where you’re coming from. I hope you keep enjoying your time at University.
    Miriam of Adventurous Miriam recently posted..20 amazing things to do in BaliMy Profile

  • Kayla says:

    That is such great news that you are able to combine something you love (travel) with a new passion! Congrats on being accepted. I am back in University for my final year of my undergrad! And tomorrow I am starting my course to get a Teaching English as a Second Language certificate. I am super excited! Thanks for sharing 🙂 Queens looks so beautiful by the way. Windsor had some similar Autumn Ivy but alas is is starting to fade here.
    Kayla recently posted..Book Review: Girls in White Dresses by Jennifer CloseMy Profile

  • Justine says:

    I think it’s awesome that you’ve decided to go ahead with this program. In the grand scheme of things, 8 months is no time at all. You have your whole life to travel and you’re absolutely right that this degree opens up a whole host of opportunities, especially in terms of travel. Best of luck with all those papers and lesson plans 🙂
    Justine recently posted..Going Local on the Island of Camiguin, PhilippinesMy Profile

  • Isa says:

    This is so amazing and I am very happy for you. I am excited where this will lead you and how it will change you. Take care , sending love xxx
    Isa recently posted..Immer wieder MontagMy Profile

  • It’s good that you are deciding to do this … if you end up teaching later on in your life, having an education degree will open you up to far more lucrative opportunities than just having a TEFL certification. My college buddy Matt has his and he works an international school in Seoul making a fairly big chunk of change (north of 7 million won per month I think!)
    James Shannon recently posted..Malaysian Food in Borneo: Delicious Eats On Gaya StreetMy Profile

  • Tate Nanje says:

    sometimes we travel, sometimes we stay in one place some more time… we are explorers and our home is where our heart is, so we follow our dreams wherever they take us

  • Renuka says:

    Wow! Sounds great! It’s wonderful to grab every possible opportunity to travel – be it education or job. Even I am looking for a short-term contract based job abroad, so that I can travel to far-flung places easily.
    Renuka recently posted..So How Did I Quit The Cubicle For The Road?My Profile

  • dorf27 says:

    No matter what happens, you & Sam will have a wider perspective for the rest of your life…I’m sure it will open a few doors for you and widen your path to the future <3

  • Elena says:

    8 month to get a BA – sounds awesome to me!

    I was thinking of getting a 2nd MA abroad…however, I feel kind of discouraged by the timing and the fact I’ll have to stay in one place and give up traveling for a while. At least till vacations and weekends.

    Though, it’s a great chance to become an expat and explore one country from the inside 🙂
    Elena recently posted..Best French Food in One BoxMy Profile

    • Audrey says:

      The only reason the BEd is 8 months for me is because I already have my BA (which took me 4 years to earn), otherwise the program is a lot longer. 😉

  • Katie says:

    A degree in 8 months seems perfect!! Glad to see you following your dreams. What a busy year – going back to school and getting married! Excited to see how you get on with the degree! 🙂
    Katie recently posted..Nasi Goreng Recipe (Indonesian Fried Rice)My Profile

  • Heather says:

    Good on you for looking towards the future and continuing your education! This will certainly provide lots of exciting opportunities for you – and I can’t wait to read all about them 🙂
    Heather recently posted..My Favorite Prague AttractionsMy Profile

  • De'Jav says:

    Great chance to have doors open up for you. At least you’ve found a passion that makes you happy having the opportunity to travel with it makes it more exciting. Being 1 of 10 is a break through in itself.
    De’Jav recently posted..Best Places to Live AbroadMy Profile

  • Laura says:

    Exciting times! This sounds like such an amazing opportunity, especially being able to do a placement abroad! Alas, teaching in Korea has not made me feel the same about teaching.

  • Emma @ Life by Emma says:

    I get that ” you should be a teacher” thing all the time too. I’m considering doing a CELTA early next year so we can stay in Spain but I’m 32 now and almost feel like I should just suck it up and move home to get my Post Grad Dip in Education. Then you can look at international schools and earn proper money. Slow travel and teaching overseas are the perfect combination, especially if you enjoy your work and don’t do it just to be overseas. Look forward to reading more about your studies.
    Emma @ Life by Emma recently posted..Introducing the Newest Member of our Travelling FamilyMy Profile

  • Yara Miora says:

    I love this post simply because I just got out of college and have absolutely no clue what I want to do with my life! I just stumbled upon your blog and fell head over heels.. thanks for sharing

    Liefs,
    Yara
    Yara Miora recently posted..Study Abroad Tips| Before You Leave..My Profile

  • Congratulations Audrey! This programme sounds amazing and in the end, your travel adventures really opened your eyes as to your future profession, what would work, the joy of living, and a life of travel, all at the same time. I wish you all the best.
    I know you hardly at all, but somehow, I know you’ll do well. 🙂

  • Yalanda @ Laugh Anyway says:

    I’m so excited to learn more behind this decision! Your blog was one of my go to references in the planning process of getting myself (and my husband) prepared for Korea! I can’t wait to see where you’re headed for student teaching!
    Yalanda @ Laugh Anyway recently posted..Best and Worst Cuisines AbroadMy Profile

  • Yalanda @ Laugh Anyway says:

    So glad to learn more about your decision! You unknowingly played a key role in helping me to get organized, motivated and excited about coming to Korea! I’m so excited to see where you end up student teaching!

  • Sandra says:

    It was interesting to read a bit about your journey. I recognize myself in what you are writing in that I am yet to figure out what to do (even though I just recieved a bachelor..). I decided simply to go travelling with the hope that what I am suppose to do will present itself during my journey. Best of luck with your studies!

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