Miami U & USD Graduate. Lived Australia's Nomad Life. English Teacher in China. Explorer. Reader. Writer. Perpetually Happy & Restless.
What is your favorite travel memory?
My favorite travel memories, in general, are definitely those spent in the Himalayas. To be specific, this past summer I went hiking with a few new teachers for TTT and one of our brilliant guides.
We hiked a rough eight hour day the day before (complete with rain and leeches) and woke up the next morning with dense clouds surrounding us. This would have been beautiful to see, but I had woken up in the same spot a year prior with the exact same view - none. So, our group decided to have a rest day and hope that the clouds would clear tomorrow.
We were at the peak of where we were going and the hope was that the clouds would part so that we'd be able to see the famous Annapurna Mountain Range. The clouds didn't let up all day and we weren't very hopeful that the morning would be any different. Just before 5 am the next day, our guide (Suman) started pounding at our door - urging us to get up!
We stumbled downstairs, still mostly asleep, to something different: the beginnings of sunlight and the snow topped mountains. Other travelers padded down and all of us, from a dozen or so different countries, made our way outside in silence to see the sunrise over the giants that had eluded us the day before (and the summer before that). Instant coffee in my hand, the wind in my face, I was happier than I had been in recent memory.
How have you changed/grown since working for your current company?
Through TTT I have become infinitely more independent and my thirst and appreciation for those things that are different in our lives have been strengthened.
I spent the summer in Kathmandu and trekking through the Annapurna Region; leaving my friends, family, and fiancé at home. TTT provided me with an exhilarating experience where I was able to give back and grow as an individual in one of the most beautiful places in the world.
I came home with a refreshed outlook on living, teaching, and one's lifestyle. "Less is more," is not usually practiced where I am from, but now I see this change of mine being reflected in my day-to-day actions and outlook.
What is the best story you've heard from a return student?
TTT teachers' happiness is based on small successes that have big impacts. Many of the previous volunteers have not had prior teaching experience, so teaching is the hardest part of their journey.
Recently, I was able to hear a previous teacher retell a story of how she spent a long time trying to teach her Grade 1 students the concept of "afraid" (it was part of the chapter they were learning). For some reason, the students could not grasp this word and the teacher was met with a sense of frustration and failure.
After continuing to work hard and not giving up, weeks later this teacher came into her classroom and her students were hiding under their desks. Confused, she just stood there and waited. After a minute all of the students jumped up and tried to scare her! They wanted her to be "afraid".
The moment of realization that came after that her students not only understood this concept, but could put it into action, became this teacher's proudest moment. It was then that she knew she was making progress and working for the better.
If you could go on any program that your company offers, which one would you choose and why?
As a teacher in the States, I would love nothing more than to be placed in one of our villages and teach for an extended amount of time at one of our partner-schools. Having visited our schools this summer, I saw how wonderful the students were and how in need they are for a long-term English teacher.
Being able to form meaningful and lasting connections with our mountain students would be an unparalleled experience. Our volunteers do not only take over the role of the teacher, but they also become friends, confidants, and advocates. I would love to experience this first-hand.
What makes your company unique? When were you especially proud of your team?
Our company is unique because all of the members have experienced life in Nepal and many of us are prior teachers. Therefore, each of us knows the challenges that come with uprooting your life to live in a completely foreign country. This provides us with the ability to empathize and help our volunteers assimilate into Himalayan life and their teaching role.
Additionally, our Nepali team is made up of the warmest and most wonderful individuals who work tirelessly from the moment our volunteers arrive to the moment they depart making sure that the transition into the Nepali lifestyle goes as smoothly as possible.
Each of us within the company knows we are working for the betterment of Nepal's rural youth. We've met our students, watched them grow, and worked with community members and educators so that their futures are brighter. We are a small organization, but one full of love. And love is powerful.