Rob Sheppard, MA TESOL ’14, Asia
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.”