Teaching abroad or how to help others become their own heroes

By on April 19, 2016

You can teach them how to be powerful, how to have faith, courage or how to speak up for what they care about. How to become the heroes of their dreams.

I must admit that I’ve been to Italy, but I have never seen the things from this perspective. I truly believe that Andra’s international experience is worth telling, so I couldn’t wait answer to my questions and come out with this! Thank you so much for sharing your story with us and empowering others to become the heroes of their own learning journey!

Andra-Maria Enache has participated, through AIESEC, to an educational project in Catania, Italy, in March/April 2013.

“First of all, why teaching abroad?

I have decided to be part of a project in the educational field because I believe that through education we can change the world. My children were almost grown-ups, students in high-school, teenagers with hopes and dreams. I wanted to challenge myself, to see if I will be able to do it. And as most of the time happens, I was extremely able to do it.

International experience - Andra Enache|TeachOneWorld

Teaching abroad – Andra Enache|TeachOneWorld

I believe that all the powerful moments came from the fact that, back then, I was only 18 years old. I had some pupils who were older than be, 19 or even 20 years old. So I was asking myself at the beginning, how will I be able to empower these people that have quite my age? And I will be honest, it was hard. During those 6 weeks where I had to teach them English I’ve realized how hard is to be a teacher, to keep their attention for one entire hour, to make the classes so they will learn something, to bear with their moods and with the fact that it’s 8 am in the morning and they are still sleepy.

But maybe the fact that it was that hard made me feel more than accomplished at the end. My personal goal wasn’t to teach them grammatical rules, but to empower them and give them strengths to speak up. Because they were afraid to speak, to have a conversation in English. And in the last week, when I went for a pizza with one of my classes, I remained shocked by the fact that there was a guy who was using Google Translate during the whole evening, in order to keep all his conversation with me and the others in English. Nice, right?


International experience - Andra Enache |TeachOneWorld

Teaching abroad – Andra Enache |TeachOneWorld

Get out of your comfort zone. Teach abroad!

I know it might sound overrated, but this international experience “forced” me to overcome my limits. After the first days where, no matter what, I had to get out of my comfort zone, I actually started to enjoy it. So I have started to push myself, to experience new things, to start to live following the famous saying: “Carpe Diem”. It was my own experience, so my responsibility to make it memorable or not.

Be open to other cultures

Being with people from all over the world, from all the continents, I have been put in all sort of different and weird situations to handle, where I had to understand that our cultures are different, so the way we are raised is different and the way we react in different situations is different. I believe that in the world we live in today is no more an option to be able to understand other cultures and work in a multicultural environment.

Get to know yourself better

 I always like to say that this experience didn’t change me completely, but rather made me start questioning myself, my beliefs, my values and my dreams more. After those 6 weeks I came back with more questions regarding what I want to do in life, what is my purpose and how, with my skills and personality, I can have an impact on society. So it was the starting point of getting to know myself more and more.

International experience - Andra Enache |TeachOneWorld

Teaching abroad – Andra Enache |TeachOneWorld

I wouldn’t say “shocked”, but these things impressed me somehow.

Level of English of high-school students – I was really surprised to see that their level of English was really low, something you don’t expect from high-school students. But this was not a specific situation in my high-school, but a general issue in the whole Sicily. Unfortunately, the level of education in southern Italy is worse than in the northern part of the country.

How hard is to be a teacher – Since I was in primary school I appreciate teachers a lot, but I’ve never experienced it on my own. You know how hard is to make pupils pay attention for an entire hour? All of them? Or how hard is to make them do their homework or make your lesson fun, but also educative? It was hard, but challenging and worthy.

How easy is to be a teacher – On the other hand, even if it has been really challenging, I have realized how easy you can teach someone something. Many times it’s not even something formal, like grammar or history. You can teach them how to be powerful, how to have faith, courage or how to speak up for what they care about.

Anyway, one thing is for sure! I would do it again and again. But what I have realized is that I would like more to work with kids, children younger than 10. After the 6 weeks of the project I could have seen my impact on those pupils, but I believe that I could have even a bigger impact on younger children, because when they are younger you can really shape their attitude and behaviours.

Help them become the heroes of their dreams.

International experience - Teaching abroad- Andra Enache |TeachOneWorld

Teaching abroad -Andra Enache |TeachOneWorld

If it would be something that remained in my mind after all this experience is that every small thing you do can a huge impact. It’s like the domino effect. Being a teacher for 6 weeks could look like I didn’t change anything in the Sicilian society, nor in the students. But every conversation, every joke, every homework or every part of the lesson can be an inspiration for them and a seed for their future development. You just need to have faith that all the small pieces of the puzzle will connect at some point. 🙂 “

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