In August 2019 I applied for a teaching position in the U.S. with the programme Participate Learning. Before that we had had long conversations with my family about the pros and cons of getting out of our comfort zone. It was not an easy decision, as you may imagine. One thing is to move to another place and begin a new life when you are single and you have no children (or pets!). However, starting this type of adventure with a husband, two young children and a dog makes the situation a bit more complex.
As a teacher I am used to, and actually enjoy, facing new challenges and I am fortunate to have an absolutely supportive family. This made things much easier! So, in February 2020, almost without realising, our project came true. We moved to Wilmington in North Carolina. We brought a few suitcases with some clothes and lots of expectations and dreams!
Honestly, it was not simple at the beginning. We had to rent a flat, furnish it, buy a car, get a driver licence and open a bank account among other things. At the same time, I had to go to work in a new school, in a new country that has a completely different educational system. Although it was a bit overwhelming, we got settled progressively. And now, when we look back in time we can definitely say it was all worth it. Sometimes in life you need to make some effort if you want to move forward or if you need a change.
I would say one of the greatest things about this experience is my job as a teacher. I teach fourth grade Immersion at the International School at Gregory, New Hanover County Schools. My job is beautiful! When I first came to the school, I had an interesting mixture of feelings and emotions. I was excited as well as nervous and anxious. Fortunately, everyone in the school gave me a warm welcome and all of them have been really helpful and kind. This helped me both professionally and emotionally. I feel I am part of the “Gregory Family”, as we call it, and that makes me be a little bit less nostalgic about my country, my family and all my people back in Argentina.
Yes, I came here to teach Spanish and to share my culture but, trust me, everyday I learn something new. I am a long-life learner and this is not only about my teaching career. There is so much more behind the scenes. I learn from my students and my colleagues, who are from different parts of the world. I make connections with other teachers all over the globe! And, of course, me and my family enjoy plenty of enriching intercultural opportunities in our daily interactions with the local people.
Here we are! Experiencing in flesh and bone what those people said about “living in another country.” I can assure you that, so far, it has been a memorable and unforgettable experience both professionally and personally, not only for me as a teacher but also for my family as a whole.