Looking to learn more about life as an Amity Intern? Amity recently interviewed Intern Julia Andrei to discuss her experience in the United States. Read all about it below!
Tell us a little about yourself: Where is your hometown?
My name is Júlia and I come from Barcelona, a beautiful city by the Mediterranean coast. I’m an intern at Clearview Elementary School, in Clear Lake (Minnesota).
How did you find out about Amity Institute? Why did you did decide to participate in the Intern Program?
For a long time I knew that when I graduated I wanted to live abroad for some time. Some of my professors at university had students participating in the Intern Program, and they recommended it to us. I’ve always been ready to join adventures, and this one was calling me since the moment I first heard of it.
What is your favorite part of your internship so far? What was the biggest challenge?
It’s hard to choose a favorite part of the internship, as it’s been truly amazing. I enjoy spending time with my host families, who are always caring and kind to me, and I love teaching and learning at the school. Living in Minnesota has been a true discovery!
There are a few challenges to overcome in the internship… probably the hardest one being to live far away from home. It entails not only missing your family and friends, but also having to adapt to a different way of living. I come from a big city where you have everything you need at a walking distance, and you can get anywhere by public transportation. Nevertheless, learning to enjoy everything that the new way of life and destination have to offer has also been one of my favorite parts of the internship.
What have you shared about your culture? What do you think surprises people about your home country?
There are many stereotypes about every country and culture. My country is much more than paella, beach and siestas. I share as much as I can about my culture. Culture involves so many aspects of live. Culture is traditions, culture is people, culture is way of living. And all of that is what I’ve tried to share with my school and with my host family.
What has surprised you about the United States?
During my first weeks in the States I felt like I was living in a movie. Everything was just as I had imagined (or better, as I had seen in movies). For example riding a big yellow school bus every morning, celebrating thanksgiving, going trick-or-treating for Halloween… I’ve been surprised about how big everything is: cars, distances, stores, food portions… Also, by the many different places to visit. I’ve enjoyed exploring Minnesota, especially the north shore, it is so beautiful. We have a few more trips planned in the US… I cannot wait to continue exploring this country!
What does a typical day look for you in the United States/at school?
School days begin early. We wake up, have breakfast together, and at 6:30am my host sister and I take the bus to school. During the day I teach 1st language arts, math and social studies, and 4th grade language arts, and I also assist the teachers in everything that I can. I have a short lunch break that I share with a few of the teachers and the other interns at my school, and it is a great time to relax for a bit and share experiences and anecdotes with others.
After school my host sister and I ride the bus home. On some days she has after school activities. I sometimes go with her and others I stay at home and I enjoy some time for myself. In the evening, we all have dinner together and talk about our day, and many nights we gather to play games.
In the weekends our activities vary much. In the summer we went out to the lake, and in winter we are having fun skiing and sledding. Some days we go out to explore places, enjoy lunch in a restaurant, go shopping… Other days, we relax at home.
How do you think interning with Amity will benefit you, personally and professionally?
Personally, it is helping me grow as a person. Being immersed in another country (and culture) is so enriching. You learn to adapt to a different environment and to enjoy different activities and aspects of life. Meeting new people has also been mind-opening: listening to different realities, different ways of understanding life, different ways of living it.
A couple of months before starting my internship I graduated university and became a teacher. The program has allowed me the chance of teaching for a year in a foreign country. I am learning classroom management techniques, resources and different ways of teaching math and it has given me the chance to teach my own language to young learners. Also, discovering a different educational system has made me reflect more on the one in my country.
Any advice for interns who would like to come to the United States?
It is a unique opportunity. Every experience is different, but there is so much that you can enjoy and learn from it if you try.
And to the future interns… Embrace the uncertainty, enjoy your destination, seize every day that you spend here and make the most of it.