What position do you currently hold at Carpe Diem and what has been your career path thus far?
Simone: I am the director of our Latitudes Program as well the the Overseas Educator Resource Manager. What has been your career path so far? I started out working in market research, after studying public relations and advertising in college. This wasn't fulfilling me so I set off to do some traveling and soul searching. My work with students while in college was always something that stood out as interesting and meaningful, so I decided to teach English to adults while living in Argentina. That led me to a MA in International Education from NYU. Upon graduation I started working as an overseas educator for Carpe Diem. After a few years of working in the field the opportunity for me to step in the office arose. I couldn't be more grateful!
Did YOU study abroad?! If so, where and what inspired you to go?
Simone: I did! I studied abroad in Sydney, Australia. I originally had plans to go to Italy, but after a year of Italian classes I realized that I was terrible with language and wanted to be more immersed in my experience. I had met heaps of Australians while traveling in Europe and knew that they were my kind of people. I just needed to get out, see the world, and be able to communicate efficiently with the people surrounding me. That opportunity has forever changed me.
Why is language learning and cultural immersion important to you?
Simone: It is so easy to live our whole lives immersed in our own narrow perspectives. It isn't until we are pushed out of our own comfort zones and forced to see the world for what it really is, that we can open our minds and make the changes in our own lives in order to better communicate, better serve, and better play an active role in justice in this world. I am a lifelong learner and believe that the more we can open our minds to the rest of the world, the more we can begin to fully understand ourselves, which is really where true change begins.
What language have you always wanted to learn and why?
Simone: Spanish. It is so useful and beautiful. Especially living in the US, I've been able to expand my friend circles, volunteer, go dancing, and eat super delicious latin food with confidence due to knowing Spanish. I learned it in high school and was terrible at it until I was forced to learn while living in Argentina. I still have so much to learn...and I love that!
Describe a time when you felt especially proud to be part of the Carpe Diem team.
Simone: Any time I get to reunite with a former student I feel like a proud mom. There is no better feeling than reconnecting with students who have gone off to do incredible things in the world. Many of my students started off not knowing what they wanted to do with their lives or who they really were, and some even lacked the self-confidence to realize this! To see that in just a year or two they have grown so much, traveled the world on their own, become educators themselves, and followed their dreams is so unbelievably inspiring. Some have started their own non-profits, others have become yoga teachers after taking their first yoga class on one of my trips, while others have joined the Peace Corps. These students have also become my friends, and I'm proud to say I know them!