Alcides Hermes Thereza Jr. lives with his wife and three children in Goiás, Brazil where he trains English teachers at the local state university. In July, however, he traded his regular life for a month in Colorado, which he spent living with host families, taking rigorous coursework, and immersing himself in American culture.
In 2010 I served as a fellow of the Fulbright Garcia-Robles program, teaching English for one school year in a technological university in Morelos, Mexico. A few weeks into the first semester, I thought to myself, how can I link up these students with classrooms back in the States? After all, in my opinion, immersion paired with practice is the best way to truly master a foreign language.
Nothing is as exciting as the opportunity to travel the world, visit new places, and experience new cultures. For a teacher like me, travel is a great way to connect with professionals and students from different backgrounds, and with different teaching and learning methodologies. When I learned about Partners’ Panama Teacher Match program, I had to apply.
As Latin America’s economy continues to grow, many countries, including Panama, are increasingly adopting teaching strategies geared toward bilingualism. Our Panama Teacher Match program connects American English teachers with Panamanian public middle and high school English teachers in an effort to increase English language capacity and provide valuable professional development opportunities for U.S. teachers overseas.
As someone who is a teacher of my native language and a student of a second language, I have learned that being in contact with native speakers is crucial to improve one’s secondary language skills. Below are my three most important reasons why.
I first visited Panamá in 1989 to see my Salvadoran aunt who had started her family there. However, I first experienced Panamá in 1979 as a child in Orange County, California through the loving and inspiring late Panamanian Archbishop Tomás Clavel. Clavel had been exiled to Los Angeles in the 1970’s after a change in the Panamanian government, where he spent his remaining years uplifting countless people, including my own family.
Living abroad is a life-changing experience, comparable to none. You will be immersed in a new culture, testing your limitations, and expanding your knowledge. One of the best ways to invest in yourself while living abroad is through teaching English. Not only will you be learning immensely about yourself and your potential, you will also be changing the lives of the students you teach. Below are 6 ways teaching abroad will change your life.