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Camden man heads east

Pierre Brevard traveling to China to teach English

Posted: June 5, 2017 5:23 p.m.
Updated: June 6, 2017 1:00 a.m.
Provided by Pierre Brevard/

Pierre Brevard of Camden is leaving Saturday for Suzhou, China, where he will spend the next year teaching English.

Pierre Brevard is excited -- and maybe a little nervous -- but mostly he’s excited.

Brevard, 25, is about to embark on the adventure of a lifetime: he’s headed to China to teach English.

“My contract is for a year,” he said. “After that, who knows?”

Brevard, who grew up in his grandmother, Mary Brevard’s home, is a 2010 graduate of Camden High School and a 2015 graduate of Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD). His quiet, easy-going demeanor belies an intensity of purpose and understated sense of adventure. He says, somewhat matter-of-factly, that he enjoys travel and the life experiences one can gain from traveling. But there’s more to it than just seeing new places. In fact, this upcoming venture is not his first time away from home, nor even his first visit to the Far East. 

“I went to SCAD – they have campuses all over the world,” he said. “I had an opportunity to study in Hong Kong. I really enjoyed it. I don’t know if it was because it was so different from what I was used to, but really liked the lifestyle and the culture. There’s so much going on and so many people from so many different parts of the world.”

He admits it’s a little daunting to be so far from home, but it’s an experience well worth any concerns about the unknown.

“Once you’re there, you’re there,” he said. “It’s not really like you can just come home for the weekend, although technically, you could if you needed to.”

Brevard's major in college was in graphic design and he plans to pursue a career in that field in the future, however, this year is a sojourn in a different direction: teaching. He will spend a year teaching English at a school in Suzhou, a small city near Shanghai. His students will be very young, between 3 and 6 years old, he said.

“When I was growing up here, I did a lot of productions and things with the Fine Arts Center,” he said. “I really like working with kids and I thought this would be a great opportunity.”

He first learned about this opportunity late last year, he said.

“My mother lives in Atlanta and works for East/West Bank, which is an international banking organization,” Brevard said. “She has a friend who is a recruiter for the school who thought I might be interested.”

Intrigued, Brevard contacted his mother’s friend for more information. 

“Over there, everyone wants to learn how to speak English -- conversational English -- and they prefer learning how to speak American English as opposed to European English,” Brevard said. 

Still, with a degree in graphic design and no formal teaching experience, Brevard needed to get certified. He took a 120-hour online course to obtain his TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) certificate; he then had to undergo a lengthy process to update his passport and obtain a work visa for China.

Once he arrives, Brevard will spend about 10 days in training before starting to teach his classes in July, he said.

Brevard said he hopes to also put his design training to good use while he is there.

“I am not only looking forward to this opportunity, I’m looking forward to sharing the knowledge and experience I gain from this,” he said. “If I can come back, share my knowledge and hopefully inspire younger people to seize their opportunities and pursue their dreams, then I think that will be my biggest contribution.”

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