Alumni Spotlight: Nicolle Catherine Ferremi

Currently a student at Stony Brook University. Studying to be a Spanish and French teacher in a high school in New York, the United States.

Why did you choose this program?

I've always wanted to study abroad, but I could never afford it. This program made it possible for me to finally study abroad and practice my Spanish because I was paid a stipend. I also believe that these 10 months I spent in Spain will look amazing on my resume and give me an edge in the competitive New York State teaching environment.

What did your program provider assist you with, and what did you have to organize on your own?

The university, Iulia and Angela, supplied us with a lot of the information we needed to get our papers in order to go. They assisted us by giving advice on where to look for an apartment but ultimately, we had to find a place to live on our own. We were also responsible for our own travel accommodations and introducing ourselves to the schools we were to be working in.

What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?

I wish I knew what to expect from being a teaching assistant ahead of time. Yet, everyone has a different experience in their school for so many different reasons. For example, private schools are different from public schools, some schools will want you to teach lessons, others just want you to assist. Even the dress code is different but you wouldn't know that until you arrive at your school.

What does an average day/week look like as a participant of this program?

I would work in a public school Monday through Thursday for a total of 16 hours a week. Then on Fridays we would attend a class at the University from 3:30-8:30pm. On the weekends, I would do my homework for the class, prepare some lesson materials, prepare private tutor materials, food shop and if I had the time, I would travel!

Going into your experience abroad, what was your biggest fear, and how did you overcome it? How did your views on the issue change?

My biggest fear was being alone and far away from everyone I knew who would be able to help me. I did grow more and more comfortable as the days went by and my flat mate and I did a lot of exploring together. Even though I kept busy and made some friends here, I was still very homesick for most of the year. Yet now that I'm home, I sometimes find that I miss having time to myself.