People of Columbia

A Journey Across the World

By July 15, 2019 No Comments

Mrs. Pauline Olthof-Youn (English Teacher at Columbia International College)

When Pauline Olthof-Youn went to teacher’s college at Niagara University over 20 years ago, she would have never imagined she would have such a cultured and a rich adventure in teaching.  Pauline is not only the English Teacher at Columbia International College but is also a published writer on Teaching Kids News website.  Pauline reflects on her teaching career for over the past 20 years and her journey to getting to where she is today.

Pauline grew up with her 2 sisters in St. Catharines, Ontario.  It was in St. Catharines that she would grow up and navigate her interests in History and English in school.  Thoughts of becoming an archaeologist, teacher and journalist all came to mind as she wrote articles and poems that were published in the St. Catharines Newspaper and in other magazines.  When it came time to choosing what to study in her post-secondary stage, she knew she wanted to major in English and History and did so at the University of Waterloo.  “After finishing my degree I decided I wanted to become a teacher and I went to Niagara University to obtain my teaching degree.  Then I decided to teach overseas for a new adventure,” says Pauline.

Pauline traveled to Korea to teach children in an after school program and soon after she taught at a university.  She would make great friends from all across the world, and meet her husband in Korea.

“I couldn’t imagine teaching elsewhere but at CIC.  I love the students here and how diverse it is.”

– Pauline Olthof-Youn

Pauline has ventured forth to so many countries, each journey to a new country embedding its memories in Pauline’s heart as she explored the following:

  • All the provinces in Canada except for Saskatchewan
  • United States: California, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Myrtle Beach, North and South Carolina, Virginia and Washington D.C
  • Europe: Holland, Germany, Belgium, Hungary, Austria and Ireland
  • Asia: South Korea, Japan, China, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Hong Kong and Bali
  • Micronesia: Guam and Saipan
  • New Zealand, Mexico and Cuba

“It is such a great experience to live somewhere else.  It really gives you a perspective on how people live, and it allows you to appreciate where you come from too,” says Pauline, “Travelling is in my blood just like my father.  He came to Canada from Holland on his own, and it was big adventure.  I love the adventure that comes with travelling.”

When Pauline came back to Canada after teaching abroad, she began looking for a new job.  What she found was the perfect place.  “I applied to Columbia International College and it was such a perfect fit for me because of my background in teaching and my ESL experience,” says Pauline.

What has been a great experience for Pauline has been the ability to relate with many of the students at CIC who come from different countries.  She can visualize and understand where they come from and in turn provide the students with an encouraging atmosphere in her classroom.  Pauline explains, “I couldn’t imagine teaching elsewhere but at CIC.  I love the students here and how diverse it is.  When we’re having a discussion around a theme, you can ask the students how it may be relevant to their home country.  All the students are unique in their own way.”

“We want the students to succeed after high school and in their life beyond that.”

– Pauline Olthof-Youn

Through the years Pauline has now found herself feeling confident and comfortable in her classroom, and stays in touch with her students.  “I really do care about the students and I always want to make sure they are okay in and outside of the classroom.  A lot of people might not know that about myself and about other teachers.  We want the students to succeed after high school and in their life beyond that,” says Pauline.

With every new semester Pauline ensures that new things are implemented in her classroom, and warrants that her classes provide students with a classroom atmosphere of comfort and acceptance.   For over 20 years Pauline has journeyed across the globe, and gained experience from teaching abroad and in her travels.  Her journey has led her to this moment, where she constantly feels love and happiness in her work and a sense of family among her students and staff.


To check out more on Pauline’s contribution to the Teaching Kids News website, click the link here.

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