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Adventures in International Education

Ancient philosophers have said that when the student is ready, the teacher appears. But what if you’re the teacher and the student? This is the question I asked when I followed a dream of living and working abroad… and ended up loving it for five full years.

Mexico 2012-2013

In December 2012, left my job in California to pursue a career in international education. I attended the International Teacher Training Organization in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico, where I graduated with a certificate in the Teaching of English as a Foreign Language (TEFL).

After receiving my TEFL certificate, I worked in Tlaquepaque, Mexico as a Teacher of English instructing young adults at an independent learning center. In mid-February 2013, I accepted a position teaching secondary-level Informática (computer science) at the British American School and relocated to the lovely beach resort town of Puerto Vallarta.

While teaching at the British American School, I also earned additional certificates from ITTO Online in Teaching Business English and the Teaching of English as a Second or Other Language (TESOL) Technology.

Teaching English abroad,  2012 Mayor of Barranquilla, Colombia Elsa Noguera, with Kate Dana and English students from Colegio Disrital Hogar Mariano
Teaching English abroad: 2012 Mayor of Barranquilla, Colombia Elsa Noguera, with Kate Dana and English students from Colegio Disrital Hogar Mariano | photo © Kate Dana All rights reserved
Colombia 2014-2018

When my contract ended in Mexico, I briefly returned to the U.S. before being accepted as a volunteer teacher with WorldTeach and Volunteers Colombia. In January 2014, I moved to Barranquilla, the 4th largest city in Colombia, South America, and fulfilled a one-year commitment as an English Teacher instructing fourth and fifth-grade learners at Colegío Distrital Hogar Mariano.

Following my year as a volunteer teacher, I landed an opportunity to teach with Aspaen Gimnasio Cartagena de Indias. From 2015 to 2016, I worked as a teacher of English literature and creative writing, instructing grades 9, 10, and 11. I also served as Area Director and teacher of Information Communications and Technology (ICT), working with grades 7 to 11.

Alumni video submitted for WorldTeach Presents: Who We Are. Watch the full video on YouTube ©2015 Kate Dana | © WorldTeach.org

After a brief return to the U.S. at the end of 2016, I relocated again in 2017 to Barranquilla, where I worked in a hybrid (remote and in-person) position as an English teacher with BBE Languages (formerly Bogotá Business English). In this job, I provided communication strategies for professionals in multinational corporations, helping them learn skills and techniques to enhance working relationships with their valued clients.

In 2018, after enjoying several lucrative years as an international educator, I returned to Sacramento, where I currently work as a bilingual (English-Spanish) communications analyst.

Way Back Machine (pre-2012 and prior to teaching)

Before I moved to Mexico and Colombia, I worked as an Information Systems Analyst and as a Digital Composition Specialist.

Between 2005 and 2012, I earned certificates in Travel Writing and WordPress Web Development with Sacramento Unified School District, as well as studied Spanish at Sacramento City College. From 2004-2007, I lived in San Francisco, where I worked as a graphic designer for a historic, independent retailer in the Bay Area and studied Multimedia technology at City College of San Francisco.

I am originally from the East Coast of the United States of America and have a Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Art from the Atlanta College of Art (founded 1905, merged with SCAD 2006).