ALI Instructor Profile – Renee Merrill

Renee Merrill

Renee Merrill

When Renee Merrill switched her major from chemistry to international business as a sophomore at San Diego State University, little did she know the direction her life would take.

Two years later, she studied abroad for a semester in France. She enjoyed the experience so much that upon graduating from SDSU, she took the TESL/TEFL teaching certificate program through SDSU’s American Language Institute that prepares novice instructors to live and teach English overseas, hoping to go back and teach in France.

“I loved the people and the culture in France,” she said. “I enjoyed speaking the French language every day. I loved not only being in France; I enjoyed meeting people from all over the world through the study abroad program.”

But life sometimes takes unexpected twists and turns.

Recently Merrill had an opportunity to teach in the International Business English (IBE) program, and she jumped at the chance to teach at ALI. This semester, she is also teaching in the new Social Entrepreneurship (SE) program. Launched this year, it’s a content-based English program that allows advanced students to focus on successful social entrepreneur enterprises.

Her passion for marketing began during her undergraduate studies, and intensified when she accepted a position to work as an online marketing intern. Merrill worked for the company writing blogs, managing social media accounts, and creating websites. She turned that into her own business for the past 2 ½ years, but put the business on hold due to her full-time teaching schedule.

“My students learn so many valuable things,” Merrill said. “Not only are they learning business concepts, they are also learning that business culture varies from country to country.

“They learn a lot about business culture through class. It will help them when they begin their careers in multinational companies. Not only are they applying what they learn in America; they are also learning customs in a multitude of countries such as Japan, Germany, Brazil, Taiwan, and many others. It’s an extremely good skill to have.”

Another advantage her students enjoy is that she is one of the youngest instructors on the ALI staff, meaning college-aged students are able to better relate to her and feel comfortable asking questions regarding practical business applications or life in San Diego.

“One of the things I love about my job is that I am able to help them with language, culture, and business,” she said. “It makes me feel good when I hear my students applying vocabulary and theories that they learned in my classes a few sessions ago.”