My name is Asha Francisco and I participated in the Teach & Learn Program 2013-2014. I went with a specific goal in mind, and I ended up accomplishing exactly what I wanted.
I attended Oregon State University. I double majored in Spanish and secondary education with hopes of becoming a high school Spanish teacher. My junior year I studied abroad in Santander, Spain and I absolutely fell in love with the country. I really wanted to go back. The best way I could see myself living in Spain for a long period of time was by pursuing a master’s degree.
I decided to do the Teach & Learn Program. I kept all of my notes and worksheets to be able to use the techniques I learned in my future Spanish classes. I was particularly proud of the thesis I wrote and knew I could show it to future employers if they were interested in looking at it. After the program, I was an auxiliar de conversación for the Comunidad de Madrid for a year. My second year in Spain I also made sure to get all the paperwork done for World Educational Services (WES) to accredit my foreign master’s in the US.
Like many 20 something year olds, my student loans from my bachelor’s degree were a constant heavy weight on my shoulders. After my two years in Spain, I decided to move back to Hawaii (where I’m from) to think about my next steps. I heard about a Spanish teaching position at a one of the best private schools on the island. After giving them my résumé, they emailed me for an interview. They were impressed that I did my master’s in Spain. I also explained that I could draw upon my experiences living in the country to teach culture to my classes.
I ended up getting the job and stayed for a year. It was such a positive first year of teaching and the kids and I really bonded. However, after living in a city like Madrid, I wanted to go back to a fast paced city life. Toward the end of the school year, I applied to work in New York City, Boston, and Philadelphia. A project-based learning school in Philadelphia contacted me and we did a Skype interview.
During the interview, we talked about my teaching philosophy as well as my time in Madrid. Three hours later, they offered me the job! I will be moving to Philadelphia in July and beginning my new life on the east coast. Because of the master’s degree, my starting salary was higher than other teachers.
In the end, I was able to accomplish what I wanted: be competitive in the job market by having an international degree and get better pay. ¡Gracias por todo Instituto Franklin – UAH!