Monterey Institute of International Studies

Teaching English in Bhutan

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Matt Robinson (MATESOL '08) is an English lecturer at the Institute of Language and Culture Studies in Bhutan.

March 23, 2012 - 12:00am

The Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) program at the Monterey Institute is known for producing leaders in language learning across the globe.

"MIIS really does produce experts in this sort of thing," said Matt Robinson (MATESOL '08). "It’s rewarding to recognize how much you really do know about this sort of thing when you are out there."

"Out there" for Robinson is currently the tiny Kingdom of Bhutan in southern Asia where he is using his expertise in English as a lecturer at the Institute of Langauge and Culture Studies in the Trongsa district.

"It’s a wonderful experience," he said. "It’s a university level teaching job in a very small town with a lot of culturally rich opportunities.

Robinson says that he has about 30 students per class and that the instructing is pretty old school, mostly chalk and a blackboard. The students come from rural parts of the country and focus on cultural and linguistic preservation.

"The most rewarding part of my job is working with the students," said Robinson. "It's a special moment for the country as they modernize. So being a part of that interest in modernizing while preserving that which is special and traditional is something I am very proud of."

Robinson's work as a teacher has taken him around the world. While he was a student at MIIS, he was part of the Peace Corps Master's International program and did his service in the tiny South Pacific country of Kiribati. And before his current position in Bhutan, Robison was an English Language Fellow in East Timor.

“It was a really remarkable experience," said Robinson.

Robinson says that being an English Language Fellow is a wonderful professional opportunity that will give you a chance to try your hand at a variety of things you normally would not get to do.

“It’s a great idea if you have an idea of what you want to do career-wise when you go into it because you can really use it as a launching pad," he said.

He also says that students who are interested in being an English Language Fellow should try to gain experience beforehand with curriculum and teacher training.

"No matter what the description says, you will be doing work in these areas," Robinson said.

Like many alums, Robinson says that he would not have had all these career opportunities if he had not gone to the Monterey Institute.

"It's affected me on a very fundamental level in terms of how I approach teaching," he said. "I would not have been able to do my work without what I learned here."

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