At a young age I volunteered in the Dominican Republic and Paraguay which ignited my passion for travel, culture and community. Travel became an integral part of my life and entering college, I knew I wanted to study abroad, though I wasn't sure where. While Europe seemed a likely choice, I was hoping for somewhere more obscure. Luck and adventure brought me to Thailand and while there I explored Southeast Asia extensively.
After six years at the University of Massachusetts Amherst earning a BA in Business and an MA in Education, I decided to combine my passion for travel with education and taught English in South Korea. From there I visited Taiwan and Japan and then returned to Southeast Asia to explore Vietnam. Upon my return to the States, I taught middle school geography and US history. However, teaching culture is not the same as experiencing culture, which ultimately brought me to Audley.
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I'll never forget when…
While driving in Cambodia my guide asked if I would like to try planting rice as we passed some farmers in their fields. I took off my shoes and a boy demonstrated quickly and gracefully how to grab a bundle of grass while I struggled to stay upright. I tried to mirror his technique but even after some practice could only create a half bundle in triple the amount of time. I gestured for him to take it but he shook his head and looked respectfully towards his mother. At that moment I understood just how integral love and respect for elders is in Cambodian life