When one book closes, another book opens
Poullard to embark on long awaited adventure in South Korea
March 28, 2016
On July 26, Coppell High School assistant principal Anthony Poullard will be celebrating his birthday – with a new job on the other side of the world.
Korean International School (KIS) is an international preparatory school with locations in Seongnam, Seoul and Jeju Island, South Korea. Poullard will become the new high school assistant principal for the Seoul campus, planning to remain in South Korea for at least three to five years.
“When I make a commitment, I want to fully be there,” Poullard said. “It’s important, when truly understanding a different culture or a different environment, that you really invest your time, effort and energy.”
A different job, a different language, a different country, a different everything. This much change may be stressful and worrisome for many, but for Poullard, change is a deeply rooted experience he loves.
Since childhood, travelling has been a favorite pastime. When asked why he enjoys travelling, he spoke of the exposure to refreshing new surroundings.
“[I like travelling] simply because it is international exchange and new cultural experiences,” Poullard said. “But also it’s in my blood. Getting to know new people, new ideas, new adventures– I love that.”
This opportunity is a win-win because Poullard will not only be living abroad, but also continuing his beloved career.
“I did part of my student teaching in Argentina, and since then, I’ve just always had a desire to combine my passion of traveling international exchange and education,” Poullard said.
In the near future, Poullard will be able to fulfill that desire. With the combination of job and travel, Poullard hopes he will become more than just a tourist of Korea. However, he views language as the biggest barrier in reaching that goal.
“When I go to the grocery store, I have to negotiate,” Poullard said. “So I want to have such command of the language that I can negotiate effectively and I won’t get ripped off.”
Daily errands are crucial, but there are much more things associated with learning a language.
“Really learning how to be myself in a different country and taking who I am and infusing that with what’s around me is kind of an interesting challenge, and I enjoy that challenge a lot since it’s been a dream of mine to live abroad,” Poullard said.
Poullard, having previously taught Spanish, helped him gain some insight on learning new languages.
“Initially, the thing about learning a new language that you struggle with is that there is a light at the end of the tunnel that you can’t see, but know it’s there,” Poullard said. “The difference now is that I can already see the light at the end of the tunnel because I know what I need to do and where to put my efforts.”
And he has already planned out how he will reach that envisioned light.
“Through immersing myself with different groups and pushing myself to communicate, I’ll be inputting different words and structures of the language myself, but the way I use it and apply it is where I’m going to see growth,” Poullard said.
Such faith in the future builds the optimism that Poullard has for his move. But, that faith has been well bolstered with deep planning that he has done when deciding where to begin his new venture.
He had options to go to other countries, but what made South Korea the place of choice was the people of KIS.
“What I really appreciated was that there was so much intentionality on the person, making sure that I was the right fit, but also the reciprocal nature that they made sure that KIS was a right fit for me. It is all about that fit,” Poullard said.
The fit between him and KIS seems to be a pretty good one, and the city of Seoul only enthralls Poullard even more.
“[Seoul] has so many great aspects that make it an easy transition, so I thought it was the appropriate next step– Seoul being so modern, progressive and one of the safest places,” Poullard said. “Although being next to North Korea, there’s a sense of safety that people feel there.”
Poullard makes moving to the opposite side of the world an easy action. However, don’t be fooled – he has great support that helps maintain his glass-half-full attitude.
“The beautiful part about me going there is that I have family and friends that are very internationally minded as well that want to come and visit,” Poullard said. “So although I will be away from home I will have an aspect of home there.”
His move has even inspired others to do the same.
“I am looking into doing something like that myself and he gave me confidence to do try it because I am thinking it would be fun to go to Costa Rica to teach English and learn Spanish in return,” CHS Spanish teacher Judy Garrett said.
In South Korea, Poullard hopes he can motivate his staff as much as he does here at CHS.
“A big piece of [motivating staff members] is being a good listener and really getting to know the people that I will supporting,” Poullard said. “So cheering on and supporting those initiatives, being a thought partner, and bouncing ideas off of people is really important.”
He has already begun that supportive relationship with his staff through a meeting via Skype that he got to lead a part of.
KIS Seoul Campus director, Stephen Cathers, sent Poullard some artifacts of the school and Poullard found this gift to be very special.
“Those little pieces that are touching the human core is kind of what is really attracting about this opportunity and this environment,” Poullard said.
But Poullard will never forget Coppell as the place he grew up in- well, professionally grew up in.
“I have spent 90 percent of my career here in Coppell, and I think those experiences those experiences run deep and the relationships run deep,” Poullard said.
CHS senior Caroline Riley, who had Poullard in eighth and 10th grade, thinks Poullard will do excellent in his new job.
“He has the kind of personality where he can adapt to anything and he’s going to go into with the best perspective,” Riley said.
Change contains many “firsts”, “differences”, and “news”, but for Poullard, those words are all associated with the one most important word that describes how he feels about his upcoming adventure: excitement.
“We always talk about a new chapter but this, this is really going to be a new book,” Poullard said.