Long term travel experience
I taught English in Shiga, Japan, through the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Program. I also studied for a semester near London, England.
What is your favorite international cuisine?
Udon (a Japanese noodle). When I lived in Japan, I went to the same udon restaurant at least once a week, watching them make the noodles by hand, and becoming close friends with the owners. Even though I didn’t know what to think when I first tasted it, udon became one of my favorite foods.
Best Travel Story?
I skipped the graduation ceremony for my master’s program and took a trip to Spain. I considered myself an experienced world traveler by then, but I fell for one of the oldest tricks in the book. I was gathering my things and getting ready to board a bus when a man asked me for directions. A minute later my purse was gone. I had to borrow money and change my return travel plans to get my passport replaced. I was so angry with myself! A couple days later, I was wandering Madrid with very little money feeling a bit melancholy. A man asked me for directions and I almost didn’t help him. I clutched my purse before giving directions. When I randomly ran into him later that day, he recognized me, thanked me again for my help and then, surprisingly, treated me to a lovely dinner (way nicer than I could afford). I still shake my head at how trying to help someone with directions could lead to such drastically different outcomes. That same trip, when I finally made it back to the US, the airline lost my luggage. I walked through customs with a small bag and a temporary passport. The glowering custom’s agent demanded an explanation. Then, after I explained, he softened, pulled out his wallet, and insisted on giving my money for the train! Moral of the story: Some people are jerks. Most people are amazing. Be cautious, be true to yourself, and be open to the kindness of strangers.
BOOKS: My favorite genres are travelogues and autobiographies. I like learning other people’s stories and trying to understand their perspectives. If I had to pick favorites, I would go with Apples are from Kazakhstan by Christopher Robbins and Until We are Free by Shirin Ebadi.
WEBSITES: https://semi-rad.com: I love the insight and adventure (sometimes international, almost always outside). Of course, I also love travel booking websites.
MUSIC: Variety is the spice of life.
PODCASTS: Wait, Wait Don’t Tell Me, This American Life (makes me think about the topic as it relates to other places I’ve lived), Dirtbag Diaries, Freakonomics
Why do you like working at ITA?
I believe in our mission 100%. It’s an honor to help people think through their options and get the training they need to work as professional English teachers in a location of their choosing. As a bonus, my colleagues are awesome. Everyone has international experience and great stories.