Justin Siemens graduated with a bachelor’s degree in digital media arts (DMA) from Huntington University, and he has found that this has opened up new opportunities for TESOL instruction. He took a position with Aroma of Christ, a café and coffee shop in Taiwan, to teach English.
“I picked up my TESOL certification in an effort to focus [my] remaining non-major specific credits,” said Justin, “so the classes I took during my TESOL studies were crucial in giving me a practical structure as to how to teach without me having to major in it! When the Lord placed on my family’s heart a desire to serve with the Aroma Café ministry, my certificate gained extra value.”
Teaching English was a practical way for Justin to meet new people and share the Gospel with individuals who may not encounter Christian teaching otherwise.
“Because of our location in Taiwan, we are able to use English as a means to bring people in our community and share with them the Aroma of Christ,” he said. “We do this through one-on-one English tutoring, big group discussion classes, and serving the community through our café and coffee shop. There are plenty of coffee shops around, so English learning is a big part of why people decide to visit and get to know us. Throughout the years we’ve become known in the city of Taipei as having one of the top English conversational classes.”
His DMA degree has provided an added value to his role as TESOL professional.
“I think that both my TESOL studies and my DMA studies taught me how to communicate well. The DMA studies just gave me a lot more practical tools to do so,” Justin said. “If you know any missionaries, you’ll know that raising financial support is pretty crucial, and good communication is key. Being able to push out update videos and create good-looking newsletters definitely helps!”
After earning her TESOL certificate and teaching ESL in K-12 schools in the United States, Bree Tsuleff made her dream of teaching in Europe a reality.
"I wouldn't even be here without my TESOL certification from Huntington!” said Bree. “It was such a great program, and we had such a wonderful group of people; I'd do it all over again if I could!”
Taking TESOL classes helped Bree discover a way to shape her interests and develop a dream for her future career.
“I wasn't sure what direction to go in my life until I began my TESOL courses,” she said. “I developed a strong desire to go to Europe and teach English.”
She found employment with UpWord English, a program that places native English speakers in Czech classrooms in public schools. In this role, she was also able to use her degree in visual arts to teach art to students with varying levels of familiarity with English.
“I am so excited to be living out my dream, and none of it would have felt possible without my TESOL certification,” said Bree. “The program made me a strong lesson planner, understanding of how to interact with other cultures, and a more effective teacher than any of my general education teaching classes did. What a blessing it is to be able to serve God, love His children, and teach English in another country!"
Jonah and Rebecca Francis
Jonah and Rebecca Francis have a storybook tale of love, learning, and teaching. They completed the TESOL program together while teaching in Warsaw Community Schools. It wasn't long before their shared love of teaching ELLs, Spanish, and mission turned into love for each other and brought them together as husband and wife. After earning their TESOL certifications from Huntington University, they left the U.S. for a new adventure together as a married couple in Honduras.
"We are really excited to have daily opportunities to share the gospel with kids who come from a variety of backgrounds and also give them hope for a better future with a quality bilingual education,” said Rebecca. “ESL training will be a valuable component of our teaching, since every student we have will be an English Language Learner! We are excited to see how both we and our students will grow."
TESOL/EL certification doesn't always lead to marriage, but it does usually lead to love - love for learning, love for teaching, and love for your students.