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Oh, the Places You Can Go: Meet Randy Ball, ’95 (Alumni Interview)

Randy Ball

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! 

Are you an alum with an English degree? Would you like to be featured on our blog for the 2020-2021 academic year? Email us! We would love to hear from you!


Posted in alumni, Department of Literature Blog, interview, Students