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Adventures after graduation - Lisa LaBeau

Hola  a todos, espero que estéis geniales. Hello, my name is Lisa, and I graduated from UW-EC in May of 2012. I majored in Spanish Liberal Arts and I minored in Global Studies. One of my favorite experiences from my undergraduate career was when I studied abroad in Valladolid, Spain during my spring semester, in 2011. It was such an enriching experience that my passion for travelling and going on unforgettable adventures started to grow.

I returned to Eau Claire after Spain and I finished my last year there. I wanted to return to Spain in the fall, as soon as I graduated, but my plans fell through. I applied a bit too late and I remained on a waiting list for an English teaching program there. Instead, after working at Acoustic Café in EC (they have awesome coffee, soups, hoagies and more!) during that summer, I returned home to Hudson, Wisconsin. At the same time, I found out about an opportunity to teach in South Korea, so I enrolled in an online TESOL course.

Later that October, I signed a contract to teach English in South Korea for one year. I lived in Changwon, about 5 hours south from Seoul, the capital. Although I experienced many challenges living and working abroad that year, the experience was unique and I learned countless lessons along the way. I learned many new skills, such as how to communicate with someone when you do not share a common language. I will always look back on my time in South Korea fondly. I made so many friends and connections, and was able to travel to Japan, Taiwan, Thailand and the Philippines while I was living there. While I could have stayed in South Korea for another year, I decided to return to USA. My heart yearned to return to Spain.

I went home for about ten months and saved up for the next adventure.  When September 2014 came around, I returned to my beloved Spain to work and live in Madrid. Since then, I have been teaching English at elementary schools. During my first year, I was an assistant English teacher at a public school for 1st-4th grade classes. Then, last year, I changed schools and simultaneously studied my masters in Spanish teaching at the University of Alcalá de Henares, Instituto Franklin and taught preschool levels at the same time. While studying, teaching and working on my master’s thesis at the same time was quite challenging, it really paid off. I am so glad I did it and also so grateful for the unique experience. For my thesis, I created a curriculum design that was geared towards English speakers who would like to go to Madrid for four months to learn about Spanish gastronomy, cooking, and culture while simultaneously improving their Spanish language levels.

I have had many adventures the past few years, and I will never regret them. Traveling and learning about yourself and others is one of my greatest treasures in the world, in my opinion. In the future, I hope to be able to continue with Spanish and work with different types of people throughout the world. I would love to work with study abroad programs and students wanting to go outside their comfort zones and explore a new culture. I know there are many more adventures waiting to happen!

I will end this article with one of my favorite quotes by Mark Twain:

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.

To read a story in the Hudson Star-Observer about Lisa's experience in Korea, click here.