TEFL Testimonials | Kent State University

Teaching English as a Foreign Language Student Testimonials:

EMILY O’DELL, SUMMER 2016 TEFL STUDENT"To say that the TEFL program in Dresden was a wonderful experience for me does not even begin to explain how amazing the program is. This program has broadened my horizons, professionally, globally and personally. I have made life long memories, friends, colleagues, and experiences that I will take with me wherever I may go. With the help of the deeply caring and knowledgeable KSU mentors, Dr. Gommlich, and the many German teachers and professors I worked alongside, I have gained competent skills and experience teaching English in a foreign setting; what an amazing opportunity! Because of their hard work and dedication, I was able to observe, assist, and teach in different settings throughout the beautiful city of Dresden. Having such opportunities gave me the insight and understanding of how intricate the process of language teaching is. Also, the diverse teaching settings and different types of involvement within each classroom have made me a more flexible, creative, and well-rounded teacher. Because of the TEFL program, I am confident that I have the necessary skills and knowledge to be a great ESL teacher! What type of testimonial would this be, however, if I didn’t mention how charming and beautiful the city of Dresden is, and how fascinating and magnificent the country of Germany is? It was really a privilege to study and teach in such a great location. Having guided tours throughout different German towns and cities from such a knowledgeable and compassionate individual, Dr. Gommlich, was really the icing on the cake for me! Without his generosity and devotion to the program and each individual, I would not have been able to see so many amazing places, experience so many unique, new things, or gain the knowledge and passion I now have for teaching. Words cannot describe how deeply thankful I am for the opportunities that the TEFL program, KSU mentors, and Dr. Gommlich have given me." Emily O’Dell, Summer 2016 

Emily O’Dell, Summer 2016 TEFL Student

"Four short months ago I was sitting in Satterfield Hall with my stomach turning. I never wanted to go to Germany. I didn’t want to go to a country I had barely ever heard good things about. I was only sitting in this room because I needed my Teaching English as a Foreign Language certificate. Less than a week later I was getting on a plane to this country I didn’t want to see. I remember thinking that I could do anything for three months. My feet touched the ground in Dresden and my attitude hadn’t really changed until I was standing in my awesome dorm room on the eleventh floor. I opened up my giant window and saw the most beautiful city in front of me. That night I wandered into Neustadt which is now my favorite spot in the world. I bumped into a man on the street and was instantly comforted by his smile and German apology. It was already nothing like I thought it would be. In numbered days I became a new person. A stronger, braver, more confident person. By doing the TEFL program in Dresden you will get the opportunity to teach amazing people and make lifelong friends. The students I taught made me a better teacher than I could have ever hoped to be before. Dr Gommlich is the most amazing person I have ever had the pleasure of meeting and he will change your life. Your professors will make you into an amazing teacher and you will leave the program with all the skills you need to teach. The program itself is amazing but Dresden is even more amazing. There are other TEFL programs but not a single one will give you the experiences I had. If you go to Dresden you will find an amazing culture in front of you full of people who will challenge you. Germans are smart and surprisingly kind. You will learn so much from having to explain your own culture and sometimes mid sentence you’ll realize you don’t like things about your culture. You’ll be led around this amazing country by someone who knows it. By the end of your semester you will see that Germany could be your new home. In less than a year I hope to be starting my Masters program at the Technical University of Dresden. Spending months away from Dresden is actually hard for me to think about. I miss my amazing friends. I miss the way the sunsets on the Elbe. I miss the way the sun is up at five in the morning but doesn’t set until nine. I miss long coffee fueled walks through Neustadt in the evening. I miss the food, oh the food. I can’t even eat American food anymore. I miss all the experiences and things that I never thought I would see. By the end of your trip you’ll miss everything about the amazing country that is Germany. More importantly by the end of your trip you will know everything about you and you will be the type of person that never says why but why not. Go to Dresden and change your life." Alissa Thomas, Summer 2016

"The TEFL program in Dresden, in addition to allowing me to study in a beautiful and culturally-rich city, was my ticket to living abroad long-term. I am currently working at a public high school in a beautiful corner of Japan thanks to my participation in this program. The program is designed to focus on the theory and practice of teaching English to second-language learners as well as how to adapt to living in a foreign environment. By focusing on both of these things, the program provided me with the tools and experiences I needed to be successful in my new life in Japan. The academic, linguistic, and cultural challenges that I encountered in Dresden only served to enhance my knowledge of not only the world around me, but of myself as well. If you think you may want to live abroad after college (or absolutely know you want to), this is one of those opportunities you need to seize. Even if you don't want to live abroad after school, I'd still recommend this program to anyone from any field of study (mine was computer science, not English) because, despite the hard work involved, you're provided with an excellent opportunity to learn in one of the world's most enjoyable cities." Jeff Case

"The program was a wonderful experience for me, perhaps one of the most exciting and challenging experiences I had while at Kent. Even though I've chosen not to pursue a career in teaching, I learned a lot about people, and about my place in the world. Parts of it were incredibly difficult for me (particularly the teaching), but I would never have made myself try if not for this program. I think it's a great opportunity for anyone who is willing to be challenged." Sarah Hackett

"After almost a year since receiving my English degree from KSU, I read about the TEFL Certificate Program through Kent State’s partnership with TU Dresden. I attended the classes in Dresden, Germany in the summer of 2005 and experienced a life-changing program. Suddenly I was equipped with a powerful knowledge of the world and teaching, along with life long friendships. Currently, I am working in Seoul Korea with Pagoda Academy teaching English to adult Korean students. I love it! I am here with two friends I made the summer I spent in Germany. This program will undoubtedly put a degreed student in a position to gain a professional, well-paid job in many parts of the world. If you feel that you have any interest in learning more about teaching, the world, languages, and life, do not let this program pass you by!" Katie Robbins

"The experience and knowledge gained through the KSU TUD TEFL program not only will help you with your career goals but it will also help you to grow as a person." Elizabeth Wahl

"I am now living in the big city of Cologne working at a job that I would never have gotten were it not for the TEFL program. They wanted a trained experienced translator as well as English instructor all in one to improve the English skills of the in-house staff, and I had to do sample translations and a give a sample English lesson on the spot. Because of my experiences in Dresden working quickly under pressure, I was able to quickly compose a mature and challenging lesson that was not only informative and helpful but also entertaining to the managers I was to instruct, and thus was able to beat out 65 other applicants for the job. Even though the job is primarily translation, I am certain that my entertaining lesson created from similar challenging experiences in the TEFL program was the decisive factor for them hiring me." Nicholas Ferro

"My time in Dresden served as the threshold into my professional life. The KSU TEFL program introduced me to both the theoretical implications and practical workings of teaching English within various contexts in the world. My time in Dresden exposed me to life as a foreigner within another culture, and helped to understand the importance of language teaching in fostering an inter-cultural dialogue. My experiences in Dresden prepared me for the professional demands of life as an EFL teacher in London, and served me well throughout the course of my studies as a student for an MA in TEFL at a university in the UK. I am now living in Seoul, Korea and working in a public middle school. My professional life is both rewarding and fulfilling; so much so that I look forward to returning to university in a year or so in order to pursue a PhD in Comparative Education. My transformation from an average KSU student to a successful young professional was initiated and encouraged by my participation in the TEFL certificate program. I would highly recommend it to anybody even slightly interested. It is an opportunity you shouldn't miss." Peter Ghazarian

"KSU's TEFL program was a wonderful opportunity to not only learn under a great English professor such as Klaus Gommlich but also gave me the opportunity to learn under other amazing German English professors through the practicum! The small towns surrounding Dresden are so warm and full of life. They make for a great teaching/learning atmosphere!!" Lisa Bouman

"To call the Kent TEFL Certificate program rewarding is saying it all without really saying quite enough. The program is rewarding on so many different levels: the invaluable cross-cultural teaching experience, the encouraging reinforcement of eager learners, some German skills, not to mention the cultural immersion excursions and tasty German cuisine in the beautiful surroundings of Dresden and Saxony. But - the rewards are conditional! Conditional meaning, that you come prepared to not only be a teacher but a student yourself of another culture and another way of life that will itself be "value added" experience in your future endeavors. Don't let the skills marked out on your certificate be the only insights you bring back with you - don't miss out on the rewards of the whole experience!" Jaycee Davis

"The TEFL Program did not just teach me how to be a teacher, but taught me about myself, my strengths and thinking on my feet. The month practicum in Dresden, Germany was the highlight of my college career. The city is beautiful, the food is delicious, the friends you make are amazing,and the teaching experience is one that you will not get in Kent. Even if your major is not English or teaching the program is for everyone. The TEFL program will open up opportunities anywhere in the world. For me, the TEFL program laid the groundwork for my Master’s in Composition and Rhetoric and has given me an advantage to other teachers/tutors when I teach or tutor ESL students. There will be no regrets if you participate in the TEFL Program." Nikki Caswell

"In the global classroom, experiences can last a lifetime and that couldn’t be any more true than the TEFL program at Kent State University. With the opportunities to grow as a citizen of the world as well as the opportunities to educate others this program is one in a million. Great people and great situations make this program exceptional. I would not trade the experiences I had from this program for any class that I have taken in college or any experiences that I have had in life. Excellent students and world-class professors make the TEFL program at Kent State University truly extraordinary." Adam Cunningham

"Thank you very much for this great opportunity to complete the requirements for teaching English as a Foreign Language in such an enjoyable way in Dresden, Germany. The program was extremely well organized, very efficient, and - in spite of hard work - a lot of fun. I would recommend it to anybody any time!" Maarit Scalabrini

"Dresden is an appropriately complex place in which to examine the intricacies of the English language. Much like American English, Dresden embodies a confluence of different tongues and customs working together within a broader culture. The baroque architecture of Dresden mimics the traditional grammar and historical mechanics by which we build our linguistic skills. The newer Bauhaus-meets-outer space architecture represents the modernity and evolution of the English language. The antique buildings look like grace at your grandmother's table, and the modish buildings look like your favorite rap song. The juxtaposition of architecture is a perfect metaphor for the dynamics of place, which in turn foster the understanding and ultimately the teaching of a multifaceted language such as English. The obvious merits of the TEFL program are amplified in city such as Dresden. Though the transition to a non-English speaking environment may be difficult, that experience provides the empathy needed to guide students who are non-native speakers. In Dresden you might lose your tongue, but you will find your voice." Marjorie Drinan

"Before going to Germany and participating in the TEFL certificate program, I was not sure whether I wanted to be a teacher of ESL/EFL. I had many concerns about traveling to Germany and taking this program. The idea of being a teacher had always been a possibility, but I wanted what I did in the future to contribute to people’s lives and to make them better. I had always assumed that I would do this through my studies in Science. I was worried that when I got to Germany, I would find out that I didn’t want to become a teacher and that I would be there for one unhappy month and that this would ruin my GPA. I was also worried about going to Germany with my wife and how we would be able to adjust to the life there. However, taking the TEFL certificate program in Dresden, Germany opened my eyes to the possibilities of helping people communicate through the use of English. I found out a lot of things about myself during this certificate program in Germany. I found out how rewarding it could be to be a teacher. I also found out that I could teach, despite my normally quiet and reserved personality. I found out what it is like to feel energized by the prospect that I was a teacher and that it was my job to teach my students and that no matter how tired I may be that this is what I had to do, what I wanted to do. Thanks to the TEFL certificate program, I am now getting my Masters in TESL at Kent State University and am also a Graduate Assistant teaching ESL classes here. As I look back on what I accomplished in the ups and downs of the short one month practicum in Germany, I see now that this was the catalyst that jumpstarted my climb into the career of TEFL/TESL. I know that no matter whether my future leads me to continue teaching EFL/ESL or not that the experiences that I have gained through taking part in this program, studying to be an EFL teacher in Germany, and meeting all of the wonderful German people will follow me as the fondest memories I have of my college years." Damon Kimak

"I took part in this program in the spring of 2005. Graduation was, for me, the equivalent of leaping onto a springboard which would launch me into the next phase of my life. Such an act of course requires a bit of running, and the curriculum fits the metaphor. This is an intensive, first-class program that gives one the background information and the tools, and facilitates one's development as a teacher by helping one to forge an informed, personalized approach. And it all happens in Dresden, a young city, an old city, modern, traditional, bohemian, and intensely beautiful. I especially enjoyed the trams, a Dynamo game, the parks, particularly those on the Elbe river, and of course, Feldschlosschen beer. This certification opens pathways into the professional, as well as geographical, world. I have since landed in China, where I am beginning my second year of teaching. I owe my placement in one of the top fifteen universities in China to Kent's TEFL program." Tobias C. Lee