Kathryn Smelser

M.A. in TESOL (Online), '16

How did your program at Biola prepare you for your career?
Although I had already been teaching for many years, the TESOL Online program enabled me to hone my skills and widen my horizons. It also opened up the opportunity for me to train others here in Europe who wanted to use English as outreach. The Values course laid a great foundation for me to do that in Croatia and Italy, and for the directors of Christian resource centers in Eastern Europe and the Middle East. In addition, I was challenged to write a workshop proposal for a major conference in the UK, which was accepted and which I attended.

What did you appreciate most about your time at Biola?
I greatly appreciated the high standards and challenge of the courses, the expertise and caring of the professors, the opportunity to concentrate on projects that interested me and fit my context, as well as the interaction with the other students from around the world.

How did Biola equip you to be a more faithful follower of Jesus Christ?
Each of the courses was connected to how to become a better servant-teacher. In addition, the challenges of studying as an older student and completing work while keeping up with a full ministry schedule drove me to trust God to work out the details, which He did, time and again. I feel that my time in the M.A. program taught me to have more grace with myself and others, as well as to serve others more.

What advice would you give to students considering your degree program?
Just do it! Take it one course at a time, one week at a time, and one assignment at a time. It's doable, but you have to be committed and organized. Ask if you need help or you are having troubles. Make a schedule and leave yourself extra time for technological problems. And backup your work!

Biola University
13800 Biola Ave. La Mirada, CA 90639
1-562-903-6000