Oh, the Places You Can Go: Meet Randy Ball, ’95 (Alumni Interview)
What are you doing now? What paths led you to this point?
I am currently teaching high school English at Korea International School–Jeju Campus, on a wonderful little volcanic island off the coast of mainland Korea. Previously, I taught internationally at schools in Lahore, Pakistan, and in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. I also spent ten years teaching high school English in Beaufort, South Carolina, where I channeled my inner Pat Conroy. These days, with all my travels, I seem to be channeling either Mark Twain or Andrew Zimmern.
Did you major or minor in English? How did your English education shape you?
I majored in English, but with teacher certification. So I spent half my time in one department, and half my time in the other. There was never enough time in the day to take all the courses I wanted, but my experiences were invaluable.
What advice would you give to current English students or students considering English as a major or minor?
Read. Read every chance you get. And then write.
Can you tell us what’s on your bookshelf? Or, if you’d like, tell us about a book you read–recently or not-so-recently–that you would call a “favorite.”
Well, I’m getting ready to teach Lord of the Flies, so that’s on my shelf right now. And I just finished Guy Delisle’s Pyongyang: A Journey in North Korea (because I’m teaching that too). But I always find time for personal reading. A favorite that is stuck in my mind is John Irving’s Until I Find You, whose main character will be stuck with me forever (it’s right up there with A Prayer for Owen Meaney and The World According to Garp. When I want something less cerebral, I turn to my birth state (Florida), and two of its most popular writers: Carl Hiaasen and Tim Dorsey.
Is there anything else you would like to share that we haven’t asked?
I didn’t just bring myself halfway around the world; I have a family, including two little girls who have traveled to 30 countries in their first decade alone. They are growing up a little differently from the way I did.
Thanks so much for interviewing with us, Randy! We’re so grateful to you for joining us today!
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