Rob Sheppard, MA TESOL ’14, Asia

Rob Sheppard

Rob Sheppard finished the MA TESOL program in 2014. He now lives in Asia (the exact location varies frequently)

“For the past year and a half I’ve been traveling around Asia with a backpack and a laptop, running my own business, an online language school called Ginseng English. Over 18 months I’ve been in 15 countries. My “office” has been a bamboo tiki bar on the small island of Koh Rong in Cambodia, a clapboard teahouse deep in the Nepalese Himalayas, an improbable dive bar in rural Burma, and a tiny Japanese bar overlooking the insanity of Tokyo’s Shibuya Crossing, to name a few. It’s a whole lot of fun.

 

I guess, strictly speaking, I didn’t need an MA TESOL to start Ginseng, but it has certainly helped.   Before completing my degree, I had virtually no awareness of the very issues in the field that led me to seek a better way to teach online. I didn’t know about the shortcomings of the synthetic syllabus, NNS discrimination, interactionist theory in SLA—these and other issues drove me to found Ginseng as a way to try and do things differently. Moreover, I did need a master’s to get my previous job as a nonprofit ESOL program director in Boston, and without that position, I would never have had the confidence or skills (or money!) to think about starting Ginseng.”