As I reflect back on my Teach & Learn experience as a student in the Master in International Education program, I can´t believe how fast time went by. I remember trying to balance teaching 10 levels of classes in my internship, completing my coursework, dissertation and portfolio, while teaching English classes in the evenings to help pay for my expenses. Despite the workload, the best part of the program was meeting my classmates from diverse backgrounds and getting together outside of class.
Just six months ago I was graduating and celebrating with my colleagues in Alcalá de Henares after an intense year of studies. Less than a week later, I started working as a Teacher Coordinator for an international English summer camp based in Madrid. We had students from Ukraine, Iran, Germany, China, South Africa, Costa Rica and other countries. It was a hectic summer managing over 300 students and 15 teachers, coordinating English classes and film projects, and adapting to working 24/7 in a residential dorm. Overall, I obtained strong leadership, interpersonal, and organizational skills, while learning how to work on a variety of tasks simultaneously and dealing with complex situations.
With some of my international students at the international English summer camp
The experience gained from the international English summer camp, coupled with my Master in International Education, encouraged me to search for jobs in the study abroad field. My love of study abroad stems from studying overseas in Spain, Mexico, and the UK, where I obtained a Master in International Relations. Additionally, my interest in cultures and languages led me to volunteer teaching English to Hungarian students in Romania the summer prior to starting the Teach & Learn Program. To keep me motivated in the job search, I decided to join a running group and train for the Barcelona Marathon, which will take place March 15, 2015. Within a month after finishing the international English summer camp, I was fortunate to come across an ideal job.
Currently, I am Senior Programs Coordinator for ACCENT International, a customized study abroad provider with offices in Rome, London, Madrid, Paris, Florence, and Istanbul. As Senior Programs Coordinator, I am responsible for on-site academic and financial administration as well as Study Center administration. I coordinate MBA programs and internships for American students studying abroad in Madrid, manage orientation and arrivals, and provide advice about Madrid for visiting academics and students. I enjoy accompanying students to excursions and cultural activities throughout Spain. As a former student who studied abroad, I can relate better to the students´ experiences, and support and encourage students as they explore a new country, language and culture.
In sum, the Teach & Learn program served as a valuable tool for my future endeavors. By learning how to work under pressure while teaching a heavy course load in my internship and finishing my studies in an international environment, I gained strong communication and intercultural skills needed to work with diverse student and faculty in the international education realm.