Jezreel (left) with a Laotian colleague
JEZREEL SEE, 31, QUIT HER JOB AS A TEACHER IN 2014 TO TEACH ENGLISH IN LAOS FOR THREE MONTHS. SHE IS NOW AN EVENT MANAGER.
“I was drawn to volunteer in Laos as I love meeting and interacting with people from different cultures. It allowed me to explore a country beyond touring, share through teaching, and learn and stretch my own abilities both in and out of the classroom.
I had the chance to sit in and co-teach for the first week to understand the language abilities of the students. I taught them skills that were relevant to them as government officers, mainly conversational English and reading English news.
When I came back to Singapore, I applied for jobs related to education. I was excited about trying something new and growing along the way. But then I got into event programming, which involves conceptualising and executing events. I learnt to use the skills I picked up from teaching, travelling and volunteering in my new role but there was a lot to learn on the job too, particularly since it was still a different scope of work.
The biggest challenge was having to start at the bottom of the ladder, but I have no regrets. My time in Laos was one of the best experiences I’ve had, one that allowed me to experience the country in a way that I would otherwise not have had a chance to.
My family was supportive of my decision to live in Laos for a while. In fact, my parents like it when my siblings and I live somewhere different because they can come by for a holiday!”
BEFORE YOU TAKE THE PLUNGE…
Thinking about taking a leap of faith and going on sabbatical? Grant Torrens suggests you consider the objective for it.
For example, it could be to pick up skills that will enhance your CV. If the aim is to just take a breather after years of climbing the corporate ladder, that’s also ﬁne.
“From self-discovery and overall rejuvenation to adding value to your portfolio to impress prospective employers, a clear goal will help you make your career break a fruitful one,” he says.
Grant also recommends keeping abreast of industry happenings, so you won’t feel out of touch when you return to work. For example, you could read press releases and publications for industry news.
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