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From Seoul to Beirut: Why I chose to study education at LAU

[photo]
Lee is in the process of writing her thesis, which will focus on English as a lingua franca.

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December 1, 2014—

Eunsil Lee has lived in her native Korea, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Canada and the U.S. When she decided to study for a Master’s in Education, she moved again, this time to Lebanon. “I’m open to the idea of living anywhere in the world,” she says. “That’s just me, so it didn’t scare me at all to move to Beirut to study at LAU.”

Lee is in the fourth and final semester of her master’s program, the focus of which is teaching English as a second language (TESOL). “I am working on my thesis now and I’m going to be focusing on English as a lingua franca, a language that is not owned by native speakers from the U.K., U.S. or Australia, but that is a universal language of communication for people the world over.”

Before coming to Lebanon to pursue her postgraduate degree, Lee taught English to adults in Korea for a year. “I wanted the experience, so I could get the most out of the master’s program. I didn’t originally set out to be a teacher but after my time in Hong Kong I saw the power of education,” says Lee, who spent a year and a half on the Chinese peninsula after completing her B.A. in English and Politics at Korea’s Sungkyunkwan University. “I was interested in international development, so I went to Hong Kong as a social worker at a high school where I taught English,” Lee explains. “That’s when I knew I should be an educator.”

Having previously studied abroad — first spending a year in Canada during high school, then a semester in the U.S. as part of a university exchange program — Lee was eager to live in and experience another region during her postgraduate studies. “Being interested in development means that I was looking to study at a good school in a developing region. That’s what eventually led me to Lebanon,” says Lee, who goes to Bourj Hammoud twice a week to teach Syrian refugee teenagers English in her spare time.

“I just constantly want to see myself being useful to someone else. I don’t want to just be living for myself,” Lee says. “So here I am with the ability to share some of the information I have about English and there are people in need of that knowledge, so I share it.”

Lee has found great satisfaction in her LAU program. “It has turned out to be a life-changing experience for me because the courses here are about the broader picture,” she says, insisting that despite sounding like a walking advertisement, she is not over-selling the program.

“It hasn’t limited my perspective, but has rather given me more of a world view over time and I am really happy about it. I am very grateful to the program and it has become even more important for me to teach English.”


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