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Alumnus Ben McNair Studies Economic and Community Development


Having spent the last year teaching English in South Korea, Ben McNair ('11) plans to go back to school to prepare for work in the area of community and economic development combined with a stint in the Peace Corps.

Ben has been on the move since he graduated. He spent several months in New Mexico after he graduated in May of 2011. He moved to Seoul, South Korea in mid-August. There, he teaches conversational English at Gangseo High School. "Every week," says Ben, "I teach 650 high school first years who, in terms of academic years, are the equivalent to American high school sophomores. Teaching in a high school here has proven to be quite a challenge, but I'm enjoying my life in Seoul."

Ben teaches through a Korean government initiative called the English Program in Korea (EPIK) that places native English speakers in elementary, middle, and high schools in Seoul and other metropolitan and provincial areas around the country. "EPIK is one of the main reasons I decided to come to Korea -as I researched teaching programs around the world, EPIK seemed to be one of the most well-established, reputable, and stable organizations out there," says Ben about why he chose this program.

Once Ben's teaching contract is up in August, he will return to the US to begin coursework at Illinois State University. He has received a graduate teaching assistantship that will support him in the master's degree program in sociology with a focus on community and economic development. The program at ISU is a four-year program that works in conjunction with the Peace Corps. He will spend the two middle years as Peace Corps volunteer working and researching in an undetermined community.

For those of you keeping track, Ben has lived, studied, and taught in Argentina, Europe, and South Korea. Wonder where the Peace Corps will take him!