Recent Alumni Spotlight: Hannah Louis
November 15, 2012
Hailing from California, Hannah Louis graduated from Lewis & Clark with a degree in Psychology and Economics. During her time at Lewis & Clark, Hannah was a member and the captain of the women’s Ultimate Frisbee team, served in the cognitive neuroscience lab, and worked in the Center for Career and Community Engagement as a Student Assistant. She also worked in the athletic department as the club sports administrator assistant. Hannah is currently a member of the Teach Thailand Corps and is teaching English in a rural village during this academic year.
3CE: Tell us about how you learned about the Teach Thailand Corps. What was the application process like?
Hannah Louis: I was applying for other teaching abroad positions in Asia when Vice President and Provost Jane Atkinson told me about Teach Thailand Corps. Since it was a new program, the application was pretty standard and easy. I met with Brian White, Director of the International Students and Scholars office, and he gave me some more information on the program and where to find the application. After the paper application I was granted an interview with Dr. Nirund, the founder of TTC. This was done over Skype, since he was in Thailand. It was a pretty easy process in terms of applying. I am not sure if things will change this year since the program will be in its 3rd year of recruitment.
3CE: What does your new role entail? Please describe a typical work day.
HL: I work and volunteer at two different schools during the week who can’t afford a native English speaking teacher (the schools where I work don’t pay me or the foundation – they just provide lunch and a ride to school for me every day). I teach prathom 1 through prathom 6 (grades 1 through 6) so my schedule varies a little bit day to day.
While there really is no such thing as a “typical day” here, I usually get up for a run through the village and rice fields, eat breakfast and head to school at 7:45am. All government schools have morning assembly from 8:00-8:30 to sing the national anthem, say 3 prayers and hear daily announcements. I teach three or four one-hour classes a day, which focus on vocabulary, pronunciation, and helping build confidence in speaking English. I eat lunch with the other teachers and in my free time help out with whatever they need me to or just read. I also taught my students to throw a Frisbee so that’s a favorite activity during free time. I head home between 3:30 or 4:00pm. Since I live in a rural village and I don’t have a ton of other things to do, I do extra tutoring after school or play football (soccer) or badminton or other games with the kids. In exchange for private tutoring, I receive a delicious traditional Thai meal, which I recently turned into a cooking class for myself.
3CE: What skills did you emphasize during the recruitment process that resonated with the employer? How did your liberal arts education prepare you for this type of program?
HL: I’m not sure if it is a skill, but our employer was looking for someone who was open to change and open to leaving some comforts behind. Communication, organization, flexibility and social skills were all important; you interact with and teach children and sometimes even teachers English all day so you have to be social no matter what. I had previously volunteered in schools, and working with children and teens definitely was something the employer was looking for, but not necessarily the deciding factor. Someone who is ready to try something new and be able to communicate with others easily will have no problem here. I think the liberal arts education gave me a broader perspective on the world, which allowed me to immerse myself as well as accept a completely new culture.
3CE: What has surprised you most about life after college?
HL: That I want to go back to school already. I really miss college.
3CE: What roadblocks did you encounter along the way to your current position?
HL: I think a major roadblock for me was the actual decision to leave America. For me finding the opportunity and the application was pretty easy, but deciding to actually go and accepting the position were probably the hardest things about it. It’s hard to leave everything you know and are accustomed to behind and try something completely different.
3CE: Is this an opportunity that other recent graduates can apply for? If so, what advice do you have for interested students?
HL: Yes this position is available for recent graduates. I would say be open to change, be flexible and be ready for anything; because it is a new program they are still working out a lot of logistics. While living and teaching in Thailand is absolutely amazing, there are times when it can be a huge challenge. There are only a handful of people here who I can have a full conversation in English with and there are certain simple amenities that we normally take for granted like internet. Regardless of the challenges I face, I love it.
3CE: What would you tell students, if anything, about 3CE? How, if at all, did 3CE help prepare you for this opportunity?
HL: 3CE is a great resource! I wish I would have taken advantage of their services starting my freshman year. In this specific opportunity I looked to 3CE for resume and application assistance and general guidance.
3CE: What advice would you give graduating seniors getting ready to enter the workforce?
HL: Always take opportunities when they present themselves and try something new. If you don’t like what you’re doing find something else because you really do have the opportunity to do whatever you want.
Interested in learning more about the Teach Thailand Corps? Click here or email firstname.lastname@example.org.