T-minus 6 and a half weeks!

Authored by:
Matthew S.

Qué tal amigos?

My name is Matt Simkowitz, and I am beyond excited to be part of the Teach in Spain program for the upcoming year!! I am part of the September 13 orientation group, so I’m leaving in…six and a half weeks!

For some background, I was born in New York City, and grew up around the Boston area. I went to Skidmore College, where I majored in political science, and I spent much of my time there researching Eastern European immigrant communities and their various sociopolitical realities. By profession I am a journalist, and spent the past year in graduate school for global journalism and Russian studies at NYU. My ultimate career goal is to be a political and environmental reporter, reporting on issues of climate change and US-Russia policy, as well as the impact of climate change on the lives of people in the former Soviet Union and beyond. Unfortunately, however, I spent the past year learning remotely, and after a year of isolation, I decided that I could afford to take a year off and travel the world before I return to my Master’s program, as I think it will make me a more capable reporter and more worldly person in general. Lucky for me, I’m working in a community with a large Eastern European immigrant population, so I am very grateful and excited to see the intersection of Eastern European and Spanish cultures first hand.

I already have some of my travel plans locked down. I have already gotten in contact with my school and am extremely excited to teach English to middle schoolers. I am also planning on tutoring as well as doing some translation work on the side. I have found amazing roommates already—we’re planning on living close to the center of Madrid, in Malasaña, and our weekly FaceTime and Zoom sessions light up my weeks. To say I’m excited would be an understatement.

Being excited, of course, doesn’t take away the fact that nerves exist. The visa application process is long and arduous, and having to walk in to the consulate and ask for an appointment multiple times didn’t make me less nervous. Moving to a new country for an entire year is a huge endeavor, and obviously I have all sorts of images in my head about what could go wrong in my class and in general.

However, more often I feel a sweeping sense of exhilaration at reclaiming life after a year inside. I feel like life is at my doorstep, and I am finally going to be able to live the life I’ve always wanted to live—one of new adventures, connections, and experiences. I can’t wait to get to Spain and begin my adventure, and am so excited to share it with the readers of this blog. More updates to come in the coming weeks!!

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