In Tarboro, a town in Edgecombe County, North Carolina, autumn has already set in and residents have begun to wrap up as the waters of the Tar River and Indian Lake drop their temperatures. However, at the end of November and in December of 2022, in the elementary school games, boys and girls from Kindergarten and second grade felt a special effervescence, a special warmth. World in Qatar. Reason? They were introduced by two Argentine Spanish immersion teachers: Fiamma Liaudat and Ingrid García.
It is the place that explains this unique cultural event, as well as the exchange program that justifies it. It goes out to find Argentine teachers and from other parts of the world to recruit them in a cultural exchange program in which Spanish teachers teach children and young people to educate them with a multicultural vision suitable for the global world. A successful relationship in which children are exposed to new cultural strategies that help them develop their strengths and skills, educators while living a rich personal and professional experience that greatly expands their horizons.
Three World Cup matches were enough. During school hours, on the giant screen, American children embraced the cause of the Argentine team as their own. “Believe it, don’t you, that they watched the games and each triumph like madmen, passed by in silence, with ribbons of glass flags of the Argentine Flag, which they made themselves. Actually, the feeling of the World Cup was in the whole school, a very beautiful moment of union, “said the teacher Ingrid García.
Ingrid García is one of the educators who gives her lessons in North American schools and affirms: “Diversity is enriching, this experience has changed my view of things, because multiculturalism makes me see the other from a new perspective, more empathetic.” In Irene’s class, the children see her as a cultural ambassador for Argentina, seeing the children make their teachers join them, they learn by experimenting with the flavors of Argentinean food traditions, recognizing national symbols and knowing and learning about Argentine characters, one of the which is, obviously, Lionel Messi.
“It is very nice that the children, when they observe the pictures of Iguazú Falls, when they see the Mar del Plata, the Perito Moreno Glacier, or the iconic streets of Buenos Aires, they come and tell you: Miss García, I want to travel to Argentina; how I would like to visit your country… That is that feels very warm in the heart”, explains Irene, showing that this experience has changed her personal and professional life.
This program is an educational exchange recognized for its seriousness and commitment to the well-being of educated recruits. Teachers enter a competitive salary by US standards and take into account their experience and industry. They arrive in the United States with a work permit and get better immigration status and teacher support to get a place to live and get a car around.
Additionally, if the educator has a family, they can travel with them and the program helps manage its members on visas so they can stay together during the educator’s stay on North American soil. Requirements to be part of the program include: at least two years of experience as full-time educators, a professional degree in education, a driver’s license and command of the English language.
An enriching experience
Fiama Liaudat has been providing Spanish immersion classes for kindergarten boys and girls since August 2019. After more than three years of living experience, she can see with perspective the impact that the program had on her, not only as a professional, but also as a person.
“This project really opened up my field of vision. The possibility of sharing experiences and learning with teachers from other places; the conferences and seminars were a big help because I started to understand that the world is not only in the school of teachers, but to do many other things, to participate and to grow. Today I feel much more secure , I feel that I have more tools and strategies that can be implemented. Of course, my professional growth has been immense, but the most useful of all is what I already know from personal experience, which is of the utmost importance in new social contexts, to be open minded, ready, flexible and adaptable. in the environment and efforts to integrate, I really learned the value of work, “Fiama Liaudat” explained.
This opinion is supported by Ingrid García whose experience definitely goes beyond finance. “It is necessary that it transforms the way you see the world and forces you to walk a little blind, but you find people who support you, who encourage you, you find a community of Participant learning. The teacher also supports in many areas, as educators who can do that … good they do with their heart, it is a very good opportunity.
Liaudat expands, “it is a unique experience, the truth is that the program has everything available to us to leave the country, learn something new, grow professionally and personally, and then return to the country to give the best. There are fears, but not the first or the last, people have got here who, like me, are very happy, experienced and successful.