Hello everyone! Welcome to my first blog post! I wanted to take the time to introduce myself, and talk a bit about my background. My name is Sofia Cohen, and I am from Folsom, California! I grew up in Folsom most of my life, but I decided to go out-of-state for college. I chose the University of Nevada, Reno (UNR) as my undergraduate university where I studied International Business and Marketing as well as Spanish Literature and Culture! In college, I tried to experience as much as I possibly could: I was fortunate enough to be able to study abroad, be a part of some amazing on campus organizations, and intern and work in diverse fields. I realized my love of working with students when I was a Resident Assistant (RA) during my second year of college - I was an RA in a first year residence hall, and absolutely loved every moment of it! After being an RA at UNR for a year, I decided to take a position in Baltimore as an RA for the Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth program, where I had the opportunity to work with young students from around the world as they pursued advanced classes at the university. It was an incredibly fulfilling experience, and I knew that even though I studied business, I wanted to pursue some kind professional role where I could again work with students. The following semester, I studied abroad in Puntarenas, Costa Rica, and I pursued of my love for travel and experiencing new cultures. I had planned on going abroad again to Hong Kong for a summer job and Verona, Italy to study abroad, but unfortunately, the pandemic hit and my plans to travel the world were put on hold. Now, 2 years later, I am incredibly excited to go abroad yet again, and pursue my passion for the education field!
I first heard about CIEE's Teach In Spain program from a friend who was doing the program themself. I got to see the places they visited, the memories they made, and the positive impact they had on students' lives. I immediately knew that I wanted to be a part of the program, and I applied as soon as I graduated from college. I was able to get TEFL certified via my own home university, which also helped me feel incredibly prepared for my future in Spain. Learning about the ways in which I could help students master English as a second language felt fun and exciting; I can't wait to put some of my lesson plan ideas into action! In Spain, I will be working as an Aux, or a Language and Culture Assistant, at a local secondary school not too far from the city center. I will be teaching students ages 12-18, and I cannot wait to meet and begin working with my students. As a second language learner myself, I know what it can be like to learn a second language in school. I hope to create engaging lesson plans and create a safe and comfortable environment with my students where they can reach their highest potential in learning English!
One of my biggest goals going into this program is to embrace the unkown and always keep an open and positive mind. It can be intimidating moving to a new country, but I know that if I practice positivity and embrace new experiences, I'll have an amazing time. I also want to grow as a professional educator: I want my students to finish the school year feeling more confident with their ability to speak English. I want to create a classroom where students feel comfortable making mistakes, because that is the best way to learn. I also want to explore as much of Spanish culture as I can! I hope to eat local cuisine, experience Spanish art, and take in the beauty of the outdoors in Spain. Finally, my last goal is to improve my Spanish - right now, I am at a conversational level, but I hope that after almost a year of living in Madrid, I will be able to say I'm fluent!
I am most excited to meet so many new people, and create lots of amazing memories along the way. It'll be incredible to meet people from all over the world! I am also very excited about the opportunity to travel Europe, especially since it'll be my first time there! I hope to travel all around Spain, and beyond. It's actually kind of funny because my brother will be studying abroad in Barcelona during the fall, so at the least, I am definitely going to pay my little brother a visit! I am also excited to make a positive impact in my students' lives; educators are so important, and I hope I can be an outstanding one! Of course, with all of this excitement also comes nerves: I am a bit nervous to be away from my family for so long, but luckily, the world is so interconnected, I know they'll only be a facetime call away. Overall, I know this program is going to be an amazing experience, and I can't wait for you to follow along with me as I begin the next chapter of my life!