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Pandemic Halts International Teaching Career, But Only Temporarily

June 26, 2020 2:49pm

Veronica King was 15 months into her first Peace Corps assignment, teaching English to children in rural Thailand, when the COVID-19 pandemic struck.

“We got orders from Peace Corps to evacuate, a process that began March 12,” says King, a 2016 Buena Vista University graduate. “I got on a bus to Bangkok, and figured out how to get home, flying from there to Japan to Texas and on to Iowa. I then self-quarantined when I got home.”

And that’s where King has been ever since, residing at home in Manilla, planning the next steps of her career, a career she did not anticipate as a history major.

“I learned I love teaching. I thought I needed to teach history to be happy, but that’s not the case,” King says. “I should have gotten my teaching degree as I want to teach English to speakers of other languages.”

With that in mind, King plans to return to Wales in September to begin a year-long master’s program on teaching English. She will study at Cardiff Metropolitan University.

“I was able to study abroad during my time at BVU and I fell in love with the United Kingdom,” says King, who resided in England while earning a master’s in early modern history at the University of York. She taught for two years in high schools before taking on the Peace Corps assignment.

“I picked the co-teaching program in Thailand, and was assigned to Isan, a region that translates into ‘Northeast,’” she says. “I taught 240 students from the ages of five to 11.”

King, who participated in track and field as a Beaver, would like to teach English one day in South Korea.

“Why South Korea,” she asks, repeating a question. “I wish I had an answer.”

She goes on to explain how Dr. Dixee Bartholomew-Feis, BVU Professor of History and Dean of the School of Liberal Arts, specializes in Asian studies.

“I learned so much about Asian cultures through Dr. Bartholomew-Feis’ classes,” she says. “BVU has a sister program in Korea. And I had friends at BVU who are Korean.”

At age 26, King is not sure where she’ll land after earning her second master’s degree. She cannot wait to get there, even though the destination remains unknown.

“I give a lot of credit to BVU. I had great professors who taught me to be resilient and go with the flow. You can make it through. They instilled such really good values,” she says. “I’m still trying to get to that career point. It’s been a journey!”