International Living Starts Young

June 12, 2010

International Living Starts Young

Marisa, Carlos, Celina, Rachel and Joanna enjoying a reunion in Progreso 

When I was a very young woman, I travelled to Peru to teach English at an orphanage. At least this is where I was told I’d be teaching. The school did in fact have orphans attending but they lived elsewhere. The rest of the students were  the sons and daughters of copper mine workers and the children of herders who brought their llamas down from the mountains to graze in the lowlands. Some of these kids did not speak Spanish; they spoke Quechua and my job was to get them speaking English! A very tall order…

I lived in “an apartment” in an ex-convent. I later learned that my quarters had been part of the operating theater and once I knew that … I was positive I could hear ghosts moving about at night. Living in this Andean country, I quickly learned to speak Spanish and a few words of Quechua. The experience opened my eyes to the world…  I was never again the same.

Years later when Jorge and I started our college, I wanted to have international students and also give young teachers the opportunity to live and work in another country. In 1992, we  created the programs and the young people flowed in. (If you build it they will come…) There were only two who learned nothing and were asked to return to where they came from.  Most of the rest had varying degrees of success and a few were brilliant. One thing for sure – the impact of their time in Yucatan was significant. I constantly receive letters from them attesting to this.

Tonight I met  with two former teachers and two ex-students. Carlos, Rachel & their son Emilio; Celina and Marisa and her daughter Jayden are on holiday here this week. Carlos and Rachel , who met while both were teaching at our school said, “We never knew how much our lives would change!” The other two echoed the sentiment.  The pictures on this posting are just a few of the many, many, many we took at our reunion.

Parents would be well advised to support their young adult children who want to participate in some type of international exchange. Many different types exist. There are unpaid straight exchanges, post grads and a host of others. There is other work too.

Many adults I’ve met over the years had a similar experience to mine. We all agree that the time we lived  in other countries helped to shape us into the people we are today .

The following websites might be helpful to those searching for job options in Yucatan

Good luck to you!




Filed under Destinations

3 responses to “International Living Starts Young

  1. Nancy

    Joanna, I have a question about navigating your blog. If I miss a day or more, how can I view the posts I’ve missed? I don’t see a dated archive off to the side like most blogs have.

    • Hi Nancy, Thanks for your question! To view past postings, click on the Catagories listed below the header. I don’t have an archive because I’ve had the blog for such a short time. I will create one at the end of this month.

  2. Debi in Merida

    You, Jorge, your family and your school are all inspirational.

    abrazos a todos

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s