Taking the Leap: An Inside Look at Cultural Exchange
It’s an exciting time here at Participate Learning! This fall, we’re welcoming our newest class of international teachers from 16 countries around the world. As nearly 300 teachers embark on this new adventure, we want to share some advice from current ambassador teachers who were recently in their shoes.
What advice would you give to a new ambassador teacher?
“Be ready to learn. Never stop asking questions to other ambassador teachers about their experiences here.” – Maria Avila, Colombia
“Stay positive. Keep in mind that struggles might come any time, and you need to prepare and be ready to overcome them with the right attitude. Plan strategies ahead so things don’t get you by surprise. Do not struggle all by yourself. Get in touch with Participate Learning any time you have questions or need support. When you feel homesick, remember what brought you to the USA, the goals you want to achieve in your career. Remember we global teachers are adventurers in nature, so any challenges you face are just a small part of this new big adventure in your life. Think of all the opportunities ahead of you for personal and professional growth. You got this! Like Mandela said: “Everything seems impossible, until it’s done.” – Noemy Becerra, Venezuela
“Be patient during the first months. It is not easy to adapt to a new country, but later on you'll realize it is very fruitful.” – Miguel Vidal, Colombia
“First year might be scary, and it is ok to make mistakes – you’ll learn from them!” – Andreina Laviosa, Venezuela
What was the most difficult thing you faced during your first year as an ambassador teacher? How did you overcome it?
“I struggled a little bit with differentiation in my lessons. I talked to other ambassador teachers and asked for samples of their lessons plans. Teachers are willing to share their ideas. I also talked with the English teacher and curriculum coaches at my school.” – Maria Avila, Colombia
“At the beginning of my experience, I noticed how well-organized Americans are. I felt overwhelmed by the number of emails I received with important information and things to do. My dual language partner told me to take it one at a time. So, I got my agenda and started filling it in with everything I needed to do.” – Sergio Parejo, Colombia
“The most difficult part was assuming that I knew more than I did because I had taught before. I knew nothing about it here! I overcame it by working hard. I would stay in school for some long hours during the first year!” – Mariela Andrade, Chile
What is your favorite memory from your time teaching with Participate Learning?
“The one I cherish the most is my arrival at the Raleigh airport and meeting with the person Participate Learning sent to pick me up. My trip to the USA had been so long that I was exhausted. I was already so homesick and nervous to be in a different country very far from my people, but Participate Learning was so welcoming and kind to me, that I felt more confident and everybody else’s hospitality made me feel like at home. I remember that orientation week so vividly, knowing places, making new friends, and learning so much from the sessions. Those are memories I’ll always keep in my mind and heart.” – Noemy Becerra, Venezuela
“I went on a cruise with some friends and we were having lunch and speaking in Spanish. Suddenly an eight-year-old girl came to our table, and she introduced herself in Spanish and started a conversation. She told us she is part of a dual language program in Charlotte, NC This encounter made me feel really proud of being part of Participate Learning.” – Johanna Hernandez, Colombia
“The end of the school year presentation where I could see all the advancement of my first graders in Spanish.” – Miguel Vidal, Colombia
“I really remember the day I got to the school district and the way I was received by the administrators from the county. I felt valuable, important, and loved…I still feel like that!” – Sergio Parejo, Colombia
“Skyping with kids from my country.” – Sherene Thompson Senior, Jamaica
Interested in teaching in the US with Participate Learning? Apply today!