Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey

Drake Cottman

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Ask me about Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) or Teaching Foreign Language

Undergrad Brigham Young University

Fast Fact I am also a singer and have performed in a musical theater production and have sung in a Messiah choir, among other performances.

My Journey to MIIS To be honest, I never considered going to graduate school until about six months after I finished my undergrad. But let’s start from the beginning of my journey to MIIS.

My love for language originally began after my first semester of college, in which I basically flunked out of my computer science major. I took a break from school and worked for a little over a year at a used college textbook store near my hometown. The college had one linguistics class, which I was always intrigued by, so one day I bought an old edition of the textbook and started reading it in the evenings after work. I know, it sounds extremely nerdy, but I found everything so fascinating that I couldn’t put it down. When I left the bookstore, I moved to a rural part of the Philippines for two years to do volunteer work for my church. As part of my service, I had to study Tagalog in order to communicate effectively with the people I was serving. I quickly realized that I definitely had a passion for language.

When I returned to the States I studied linguistics and TESOL at Brigham Young University. During my last year of school, I got an internship teaching English as a Second Language (ESL) classes at a private school for adult international students. Instantly I knew that I wanted to be an ESL teacher. I had worked at the same school full time for a year when I decided I wanted to advance my education to become a better ESL teacher. I began looking into MA TESOL degree programs. I decided to come to MIIS for many reasons, but one was the option to specialize in language program administration as opposed to getting just a generic TESOL degree, which I knew would prepare me to meet my career goals much better than any of the other programs I looked into. In addition to my classes and being a student ambassador, I also have the opportunity to work as a graduate assistant with one of the professors in the TESOL program. The opportunities provided at MIIS are truly abundant and extremely useful for building a career.

Language of Study I keep up with my Tagalog by talking with people I met during my time in the Philippines. I also read books and listen to music in Tagalog. In addition, I also studied Arabic as part of my undergrad, and I try to find opportunities to communicate in Arabic in order to retain it.

Student Life One of the best aspects of student life at MIIS is the classes. The material is so fascinating and, because the class sizes are so small, it is really more of a discussion and group learning environment. The professors in the TESOL program are all extremely friendly, knowledgeable, and helpful. In addition, there are many other great things about student life at MIIS, including a vast array of clubs and activities as well as an abundance of interaction with peers from all over the world.

My Favorite Things about Monterey I love the weather and the scenery in Monterey, but I would have to say that the Monterey Bay Aquarium is my absolute favorite thing. I go there on average about once a week with my wife and my son. There is never a shortage of things to do in Monterey on the weekends and during free time, including a number of international festivals that celebrate the food and culture of many different countries of the world.