Madeline Templeton, also known as Maddie, is the new Student Services Coordinator & Administrative Assistant at the English Language Center and a native of the DC area. She spent two years living in Chile working as an EFL instructor, first at an after-school program for kids and then online with VIPKID. In her free time she likes to read, bike, and sing while playing her ukulele. She loves to travel and is always excited to explore more of DC and help students get to know the city. Maddie loves language learning and is excited to be a part of ELC programs and the student experience!
1. What did you do before you came to Georgetown?
I graduated from William and Mary in 2014 with a major in public policy and sociology. After that I led a cross-country biking trip to support affordable housing. I also spent two years living and teaching English in Chile from 2016 to 2018 after getting my TEFL certificate.
I decided to teach English in Chile because I always wanted to travel and live abroad to learn the language. I studied abroad in college in New Zealand. They speak English there, and in a lot of ways it did not feel so different from the United States. I wanted to go to Chile to learn Spanish, which is the second most commonly spoken language in the US. Chile is also very beautiful, and has a lot of mountains and hiking trails. So I went through an organization called Teaching Chile and started teaching English to students from age 4 to 14 at an after-school program in a family owned company.
2. Could you tell us more about your experience in Chile?
At first it was scary. Even though I had a couple of contacts there and had done research, it was nerve-racking to be the only non Chilean where I was working. My first month I was all alone trying to figure things out because the only other American working there went home.
The language barriers were challenging because when I was trying to engage with children and get them to learn, I couldn’t speak Spanish well. It was overwhelming and it took a while to figure out where I was and be comfortable. However, it’s the best part of living abroad: you feel so good when you finally figure it out.
3. What is something fun you’d like to share from your time abroad?
I created a “Foodstagram” when I was traveling in South America and posted pictures on Instagram story wherever I ate.
4. What are you most proud of in your career as an English teacher?
I felt most proud when a student was engaged enough to come to me about any questions about English or life in general. Knowing that they care and are taking an interest in English made me proud.
Also I feel I’m being a connection between the students and somewhere else. They think of me as a place in the world and are getting a understanding that every country is different and that different cultures exist.
5. What interested you to come to Georgetown?
Georgetown has an great reputation as a university not only because of the quality of its education but also because of its focus on serving international students. I also enjoyed helping non-native speaking students learn English in Chile, so it’s exciting to be with international students the same way but living in DC.
Besides that, I get a good feeling from people that I work with. They are very friendly and easy to work with. I also have a friend who worked in the ELC in several different roles and had a great experience here. I knew it would be a good place to work even before I applied.
When I was in Chile, there were a few moments I missed being home. After a long day of being with the kids speaking Spanish trying to get them to learn, or when something frustrating happens on the metro or the line in the supermarket is long, I missed being home, having a community, having a core group of people, and having a job and people you see regularly so I decided to come back for job searching.
6. What do you like about DC?
I like that it’s a city and there is a lot going on, there are lots of people and there is always something to do, but at the same time it’s not as overwhelming as other major cities and it still feels like neighborhood. I love the parks and green places to hang out. I like walking through different squares, on the malls, and going to events like Jazz in the Garden (at the National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden) in the summer, H Street Festival in the fall, and Zoolights in the winter. There’s also always a new happy hour or restaurant to try.
This region is where I grew up, so I know it very well. I understand how hard it can be for students at ELC to come to the US alone and learn English because have been to somewhere I have no idea about and I had to figure things out alone. I want to help them and be part of their experience of living and learning in DC.
7. What’s your work like at ELC?
I’m here to help student get settled at Georgetown and in DC. I help with events we do, facilitate different kinds of clubs, student activities, and programs. In addition, I also do administrative tasks such as coordinating housing, evaluations, and promoting programs on social media.
8. What are you excited about accomplishing as the new student services coordinator?
I am really excited about making our social media pages fun and engaging and getting students interested and involved on social media.
I am also excited about continuing to support international students, guiding them and being a part of their learning experience in a different country beyond the classroom. I look forward to meeting the students, getting to know them, and helping them solve problems. When I think about what I’m hoping to do, I remember when I was studying abroad in New Zealand, there were several college students who were so willing to help us make sure we had what we needed, or just hang out with us. They were so willing to go above and beyond that I want my students to feel if they are unsure how to something works, I’m here and I can help them. When they see me, they can always ask me about anything related to English or anything they are wondering about.
I saw some quotes from students on the ELC website and Facebook page saying “this is one of the best experiences of my life. I’m so happy I studied here.” I want to contribute to the atmosphere at the ELC. I want students to come to Georgetown or DC, leave or stay, and think about this time as the best experience ever. Anything I can add to each student’s experience is what I am excited about accomplishing.