This interview was written and conducted by EF Academy Ambassador Clare
Seung is a well-known employee who currently works as a student services coordinator and in this short 6-question interview, we were able to go deeper into his journey here at EF Academy New York!
What made you want to work at EF Academy?
So it’s not that I specifically looked into EF, it kind of happened naturally. When I was in college I was looking for summer jobs and something that would help me eventually get a job after I would graduate, and I found something that was called LT (language travel), it was basically summer camps for kids mostly from Europe, China, and sometimes Latin America to come to a campus in the United States to learn English for about 3 to 4 weeks and I ended up doing that 2016, 2017, 2018, got a job on January 28th here as an RA after the Summer. EF Academy met my needs because I was already interested in languages at that point and it was a good way to get to know other cultures.
What were some of the challenges that you’ve faced?
I started as an RA back in January 2019, some of the challenges back when I worked in South, because it was different back then, was because I started working mid-year there was no formal training so I kind of had to just learn as I went and so the first couple weeks were a bit difficult because I didn’t really understand what was going on. But I was very quick to adapt and it was nice getting to know all the students. One challenge I did have outside of the things I couldn’t control is that I was originally assigned with younger male students and it was hard to connect with them a bit because they were younger, a lot of them didn’t speak English, and I didn’t speak a lot of their languages, but it the end it was good to bond. And now a lot of them are graduating this year and it’s pretty crazy!
What’s one of the best things that you’ve learned from working at EF Academy?
So I will separate the best things in terms of what makes me feel good and in terms of practicality. The best thing in term for me was that I was able to learn so many other languages and get to practice them all the time and I really enjoyed that while the best thing in terms of practicality is that I’m really good at handling high-pressure situations now and in emergency situations I know what to do because I’m very experienced now. I think that’s a very good thing to know how to do but personally, I think being able to have learned the languages is better.
How important do you think communication is?
Without communication, many things can go awry because of misunderstandings. It’s important to communicate in order to be as efficient as possible.
How many languages can you speak? How did you learn them all?
Actually whenever anyone asks me this question I kind of have a hard time answering it because I’m very specific on how I define “speaking”. So in terms of basic conversational skills, I can speak about 8 languages but when it comes to fluency, I would say about 4.
I learned a couple of them through school, I learned English through growing up here, Korean I grew up learning it from my parents, and I learned Japanese and French in school but everything else, as well as Japanese and French, I’ve learned because I would use them outside of school so much that it just naturally developed. But a lot of the ones I speak now more often, for example Spanish or Portuguese, I didn’t take any classes so it was just more from being exposed to it and hearing it all the time. But since I didn’t take any classes I learned pretty informal things and only a few limited things so when it comes to reading and writing, I don’t have that much of a foundation.
Do you have any fundamental rules or beliefs that you live by? If so, what is it?
I guess the main thing that I go by right now is “to go with the flow”, like me coming and working here was never like planned so I’ve learned to just go with what comes and be accepting and being okay with the fact that I can’t plan everything.
With such a hardworking member of the EF Academy staff, I think we can ensure a greater experience for the students here currently and more students to come in the future!