I am an Admissions Advisor and have been a part of the ITA team since June of 2023.
I was just a standard student in college who went to class to learn, came home to study, and graduated after 4 years. I didn’t study abroad because I was probably too scared or thought it would cost too much; also, I didn’t even go away for college and decided to stay local. But something changed in me a few years after graduation. I saw a childhood friend galavanting around Thailand on Instagram and thought to myself “How did he get there?! I need to know more!” That’s when TEFL was introduced to my life, and subsequently, an impactful personality shift occurred. Within two weeks I signed up for a TEFL course that would be starting that summer in Prague. Never having left North America before, I stayed in Prague for 1 year, visited 10 countries, and realized that I absolutely was not done. At this point, the formerly shy, inexperienced, living life ‘by the book’ guy turned into a source of inspiration for all my peers, and the go-to travel guide. While in Prague, I heard about the financial perks in Asia, so this led me next to South Korea, where I spent another year teaching. Came back home to Florida for four years, working in corporate America, then started getting the itch to go back abroad. I decided to do one final stint, this time in the country I always wanted to live in… Spain! Now, after living abroad in three countries, and having traveled to 25+, it’s a no-brainer for me to work in a role that empowers others to see the world. I’m passionate about travel and want to help others experience the wonders of cultural exchange.
I was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY but moved to South Florida at 13 years old. I went to Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, Florida.
En route to Prague, I did a week in Barcelona to jumpstart my European adventure. I did this completely solo, so I decided to stay in a hostel. All of it was a first to me and still to this day, that trip is embedded in my memory. I met Australians in my room who enlightened me on the “gap year” concept, which is almost like a right of passage for them before entering the workforce. Since their country is so distant, they pack the travels all into this grand adventure and usually backpack Europe for up to a year. It was fascinating to me! I met other Americans, who were also backpacking, but just for a month or the summer. They were so shocked that I was going to move to Prague for a whole year to…..what?...teach English? I remember the hostel hosting a ‘Paella and Sangria’ night, and I still contend that that was the best Paella I’d ever had (maybe because it was only my first). Everything about the trip was what I’d imagined Europe was going to be. The markets, the churches, the architecture, the food, the landscape… it was the ideal experience. Barcelona was my introduction to Europe, and from that trip I was determined to one day live in Spain. Mission accomplished.
Andorra, Bahamas, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, England, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, South Korea, Spain, Thailand, Vatican City, and Vietnam.
Prague, Czech Republic
Gwangju, South Korea
While being in Colombia for 2 months to learn Spanish at a language school, I took a weekend trip to one of the country’s teeny tiny islands, Isla Mucura. I was completely solo, which one of the staff recognized, so they asked if I wanted to hang out with them and a few of the workers that evening on the opposite side of the island. I was still in my beginning stages of Spanish and was wondering how this would go or how I’d even manage. 4 hours later, I’d spent the whole evening with them and even though I probably didn’t understand half of what was going on, I was communicating and thriving. It was the first breakthrough that I had in my Spanish learning journey, and it happened on the far side of a remote island that’s probably smaller than my neighborhood in Chicago!
I think that teaching English abroad is the new gap year, career break, or career-finding option for native English speakers. Not that teaching abroad is new, but the idea of it becoming a customary part of our culture (like how the gap year is for the Aussies) is what I envision. Working at ITA allows me to promote this possibility. I want to unlock the spirit of adventure in future TEFL teachers and get them started on this path of self-fulfillment that’ll surely make them stand out from the rest.
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