One of the great joys of living and working overseas is the opportunity to build friendships and interact with the local culture. This creates many opportunities to learn and expand your thinking. This is especially important as a foreign English teacher. But what do you do when these friendships are hard to come by because of uncontrollable circumstances? This was the case for one of our teams in Cambodia. Here’s their story:
One of our campuses is a commuter campus, so it has been difficult to find opportunities to interact with students outside of class. We have a library, and we have tried to make this a welcoming place where students will want to study, practice their English, and just hang out instead of returning home immediately after class. Recently, a student came into our library and said that he had been told he could learn English from us.
We don’t know who told him, but we had a simple conversation and he seemed to have enjoyed the interaction. The next day he returned with several other students, and the group has continued to come almost every afternoon after classes. One day they came without their uniforms, and we learned that they come to see us even on days when they do not have classes. They have to ride their bikes around an hour to get to our offices. It’s been really exciting to see these students’ motivation to learn English!
This goes to show that building these great friendships can be as simple as creating an inviting environment and then welcoming people into your life. As these doors of opportunity open, ELIC teachers are there to welcome the students and build deep, meaningful friendships.