SLIS Student Pursues Degree While Teaching in SpainPosted Oct. 26, 2012
Kent State University School of Library and Information Science (SLIS) graduate student Christina Booth believes that everyone should be required to travel and live in a foreign country for at least six months before graduating high school or college. The learning experiences you gain from living abroad are priceless, she said.
Booth speaks from personal experience, having visited or lived in several different countries. This year she is teaching English as a Foreign Language at a public school in Spain.
Photo: Christina Booth at Feria y Fiestas de la Virgen de San Lorenzo Valladolid, Spain
Booth, originally from Doylestown, Ohio, has a bachelor’s in psychology with a minor in sociology from Kent State University and a certification to Teach English as a Foreign Language (TEFL). She is currently teaching English in Valladolid, Spain, to students whose ages range from middle school to high school. She has also taught English as a Foreign Language in Dresden, Germany, and Playas del Coco, Costa Rica.
“While working at Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College as an English as a Second Language (ESL) Instructor, I assigned my second language students to go to our local public library,” said Booth. “After they were familiar with the system, they still felt deterred by the language barrier. This prompted my interest in combining ESL and cultural outreach with fostering libraries as a community resource, which in turn led to my decision to apply to Kent State University's Master of Library and Information Science program.”
Booth has always loved different languages and finds them fascinating. During her time in Germany, Professor Klaus Gommlich, her Kent State English professor who created the Dresden program, taught students how to search for real Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) positions. She then researched programs and located the North American Language and Culture Assistants in Spain program where she contacted past participants to get feedback about their experiences.
“The best way to broaden our horizons and the understanding of our world is through experiencing it,” she said. “Traveling somewhere new, escaping my comfort zone and challenging myself was difficult for me at times, but in the end I am grateful for all that I've learned.”
While teaching in Spain, Booth will continue to work on her master’s degree through the eDegree option in SLIS. The program allows students to take courses online from anywhere in the world. Assignments are posted weekly on Blackboard, and students are responsible for completing homework on their own time, as long as it’s submitted before the due date.
“It takes a lot more motivation, focus and perseverance to stay on task with online learning, but I have had previous experience with it when I was teaching English to second language speakers for six months in Germany while studying for my bachelor’s degree and Teaching English as a Foreign Language certification,” said Booth.
Booth encourages students to take full advantage of studying, living and traveling abroad opportunities.
“You must be persistent in your studies, but also take time to learn from the culture that is around you,” she said. “Research the country's history, interact with the natives, eat their food and attempt to speak their language without being afraid to make mistakes. Immerse yourself in the culture.”
See more photos from Booth's travels on SlideShare.
-- By Nicole Gennarelli