Corey Brown knows no borders

Corey Brown knows no borders

by Sarah Gough

Do you know what you’re going to do after you graduate? Will the economy claim you as another one of its victims, having the education and abilities but no opportunities to advance? San Diego State alumni Corey Brown decided he wouldn’t be another victim.

After Brown earned his teaching credential in History from SDSU, he wanted to begin a career teaching English. However, Brown noticed a lack of opportunities and job openings for English teachers in the U.S. He then set his sights abroad.

Brown got lucky and found an opportunity to teaching abroad on Craigslist. With his bags packed, he began his two and a half year teaching adventure in South Korea.
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“Initially, the language barrier was a problem,” Brown said. “Lots of times people understood basic English and people understood me, they just couldn’t speak English back to me.”

Outside of teaching, Brown got to experience the local culture, see national monuments and even go to the Korean Demilitarized Zone. Brown said the border experience was surreal.

“It’s a seriously dangerous place, but I’m really interested in history stuff and I thought it’d be cool to actually step onto North Korean soil,” Brown said.

While being so close to a nation as volatile as North Korea may seem nerve-wracking, Brown never felt threatened.

“(South Koreans) view the North as being a misguided family member who will eventually return on their own,” Brown said. “The American media blows it out of proportion.”

Brown discusses the experiences he had in South Korea on his YouTube channel. In one video, he shares his opinion about the Korean school systems and their comparison to those of the U.S.

“Education is the number one priority for all parents in South Korea,” Brown said. “Every mom is a tiger mom.”

Brown thinks the U.S. school system would benefit from Korea’s example by having smaller class sizes and greater involvement from administrators.

Now that Brown is back in the U.S., he’s started his own teaching recruitment company, InstructAsia.com, partially because of the lack of reputable agencies. He’s looking for people interested in teaching English abroad.

There is currently a huge demand for English speakers and teachers in various parts of Asia, making teaching salaries and wages much higher than they are here in America.

Brown stressed that students’ degrees don’t have to be in English for them to be eligible to teach English abroad, although having an English emphasis makes them more competitive.

“I’m just looking for somebody with a good personality and a good work ethic,” Brown said.