Why did you pick this program?
Caroline: I wanted to teach in Latin America, and knew that this was the right choice for me as soon as I read the program description. I wanted to work with a program where ESL education was clearly beneficial for the community, and with this program, you are either placed to work with Colombian English teachers in high schools through the Ministry of Education or at SENA, a free vocational university system throughout the country.
Learning Spanish and salsa, enjoying the immense cultural and environmental diversity, and soaking up the amazing weather were just some extra perks. But for me, it was important to work with an organization that had a clear impact and positive reception in the community.
What do you wish someone had told you before you went abroad?
Caroline: Bring more pictures from home! Not only are they great for decorating, but it is also a powerful way to bond with your students or host family (especially when there is a language barrier involved).
Also, pack less. You will always pack more than you need, and there's nothing worse than resenting a heavy suitcase!
What is the most important thing you learned abroad?
Caroline: Coming from a more individualistic country like the States, there is a lot to learn from a culture that places more value on the communal. While it can be frustrating to adapt at times, there is also something liberating about living in a community that doesn't care if you are running late, where face-to-face interactions are prioritized, and where even the most random strangers will bend over backwards for each other.
What do you tell your friends who are thinking about going abroad?
Caroline: Start packing! Talking about going abroad always ends up sounding cliché, but if you want a greater global perspective, to challenge and improve your ability to grow and communicate, or to simply discover something new, go now!