Alumni Spotlight: Jessica Soto



Why did you choose this program?

The program was online, which worked well with my schedule. Moreover, I was able to talk through all my questions, thoughts, and concerns with my Admissions Advisor. She was absolutely wonderful and gave me knowledge and resources even before I enrolled. I felt very supported before I even started the program.

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

Honestly, even though it was all virtual, I never felt alone. If I ever needed anything, someone friendly and helpful (my admissions advisor, teacher, or student affairs advisor) would guide me along the way. You're encouraged to find your own practicum hours, but ITA has an extensive resource/partner list you can use to find an organization to work with. It was actually hard to choose, lots of interesting opportunities to choose from. I found an organization to get my practicum hours within 3 days.

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

Be ready to learn and be ready to work! The program really makes sure you're prepared. It's very comprehensive. They dig deep into what and how to teach, but also into cultural sensitivity and culture shock and/or homesickness. I took more time than 10 hours per week (the estimated time for the 11-week course), but I feel it was completely worth it. I left the program feeling really confident and inspired. Oh, and take notes!

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

I set aside a couple of hours each weekday to dedicate to my online course. Since it's virtual, you can set up whatever schedule works for you. Grab a cup of coffee, log in, and read, take notes, or attend a virtual seminar (some live and some pre-recorded). There are also some peer-to-peer prompts that create great conversations between you and your classmates if you choose to do that.

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

Navigating a new country can be overwhelming, especially if you don't know the language. I found that most people are genuinely kind and helpful. I also found that what we think we know about a country and what it's really like are very different, often it's better than what we could've hoped for or expected.

What is the one thing you would tell someone that is thinking about traveling (or doing anything in life) but is scared to do it?

Trust yourself. If you thought of it, you're called to do it. No one ever regrets taking that trip (or that leap in life), they only regret NOT doing it. You just have to get out there and see for yourself!