How Cultural Exchange Fuels a Passion for Collaborating and Learning
Lately, I have been reflecting on why I have become so curious about learning more and becoming a better teacher. In 2012, I started building my Educator Development network (PLN) and connecting with teachers around the world.
I came to the conclusion that once you go global and international, there is no return, there is no going back! You are never the same, your mind is so wide open that you feel like traveling the world to see and learn everything from everywhere. Where did this feeling come from? Why did I have this need to continually be in touch with educators around the globe? Why was I seeking these professional development opportunities?
The answer was simple: teaching and living in the United States was one of my dreams and through Participate, it came true. Moving with my family to the U.S. was not an easy task, but we accepted the challenge because my husband and I knew that it was going to be an enriching experience not only for ourselves but for our son as well.
I have to say that at the beginning—even with the immeasurable support of my local adviser who did her best to make us feel welcome during our first weeks in North Carolina—it was a bit tough to get settled. It was difficult to find a nice place to live and feel comfortable, to get used to a new environment with different tastes and flavors, even smells and scents, or to find local stores to buy the kind of food we like.
However, it was an absolutely positive and unforgettable experience that gave me the chance to broaden my horizons and perspectives through living and working in an entirely American environment, meeting people from many parts of the world, making friends, sharing Argentina’s culture and traditions with almost everyone in town, and traveling and learning more about American culture, attitudes and beliefs.
I acquired teaching skills I never thought I was going to develop. I got used to working with challenging students, adapting to the diversity in my classroom and creating differentiated instruction as far as levels and cultures were concerned.
My students danced the tango and other Latin American dances at the Celebration of the Arts Festival at South Rowan High School.
I acquired teaching skills I never thought I was going to develop.
I am confident that my combination of practical work and solid educational experience has prepared me to make a positive contribution wherever I go or whatever I do, whether it is my work at school, or my new efforts to blog, present online and stay active in groups of educators from many countries.
My experience as an ambassador teacher with Participate Learning opened my mind significantly and has given me unforgettable opportunities to be in contact with multinational professionals, educators and students from countries such as Cuba, Thailand, Vietnam, Korea, Mexico, Guatemala, Serbia, El Salvador, Chile, Uruguay, Ecuador, Honduras, Venezuela, Colombia, Australia, South Africa, Spain, and Brazil, among many others.
My ESOL second period class from 2005 to 2007.
Even in my private life, my achievement was great. My husband became fluent in English by attending English as a second language (ESL) classes at a local community college, and was certified as a soccer referee for high schools, middle schools and clubs for boys and girls. My now eighteen-year-old son is fully bilingual in Spanish and English. Our now five-year-old daughter was born in North Carolina. Is there anything else I can ask for? I am thankful and extremely grateful for what I experienced!
Fabiana is a former ambassador teacher from Argentina. You can connect with Fabiana on Twitter @FabLCasellaEdu.
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