Mandy Chavez – Guatemala
Where did you teach English?
I was first introduced to teaching/tutoring English in my final semester of college. I tutored Spanish-speaking students preparing for their GED. I worked with students several times a week working on perfecting grammar and writing skills. That experience led me to then volunteer in an after school program for underprivileged kids in Antigua, Guatemala. The program consisted of children of all ages who needed a safe place to go after their regular school day. Along with English, they learned first aid, arts and crafts, and writing.
With such great experiences in the tutoring program and in Guatemala, I decided to join the Peace Corps where I served two years teaching English to 5th and 6th graders in a public school (in Madagascar).
How was your teaching experience life-changing?
Teaching English in the US and abroad has opened numerous doors for me and has given me transferable skills to all aspects of my life and current career. Gaining the ability to problem solve, developing proficient organizational skills, and being comfortable speaking in front of groups have all given me an advantage in applying to schools and interviewing for job opportunities.
I now work as a nurse with a very diverse population. For a majority of my patients, English is their second language. Although I’m not directly teaching English, my past experiences give me the patience and understanding of other cultures that enable me to give great care to them. The organizational skills I gained, have allowed me to be an efficient nurse, managing several problems at a time and prioritizing needs of several people. I am comfortable, competent, and confident giving presentations and health advice to groups of people.
Why would you recommend that someone teach English abroad?
I recommend teaching English abroad to anyone looking to challenge themselves and gain transferable skills while meeting fun and interesting people. Being immersed in a new culture allows you to gain flexibility and proficient communication skills that will give you an advantage in many situations. Besides gaining great marketable job skills, it allows you to see the world, make friends, and eat great food!