In elementary school I was surrounded by hundreds of classmates who came from all over the world. This multicultural school was embraced by the Principal, Vice Principal, Teachers and secretaries who worked very hard at embracing all the different cultures and educating the students about these cultures through multicultural days that showcased the different foods, art, dances, theatre and languages. To my recollection, during my 8 years of elementary school, not one year went by that we did not celebrate the diversity.  This celebration was an important part of my childhood because it allowed me to understand different cultures and to not be afraid to ask questions. It also allowed me to see that we are all people and although we can look different we all have special values and morals that need to be embraced and understood. Without my positive experiences at school I feel that my interests in other cultures may have withered away. Instead I was left with a strong sense of being apart of a global community.

Once I finished high school, I took some time to travel. My first journey was to Australia. I went to  visit my relatives and to pass the days playing in the ocean. I had the pleasure of staying on a farm for a few days and was taught the ways of catching fresh water Yabbies using Kangaroo meat, minding the grass paddocks and how to shear sheep.

When I had returned back to the city from my farm adventure, I attended concerts featuring all types of music. It was here that I  met up with an Aboriginal man who taught me the art of didgeridoo. He also enlightened me on what the phrase “Dreamtime” represents and what it means to be “dreaming.” He informed me that I needed to go on my “walkabout” in order to find my animal, although he was very positive that I was from the Kangaroo. I asked him how he knew and his response was “I just do.”

A few years later I was offered an opportunity to go to China to teach English. I spent just over a month teaching children English through music and sports. Even though I was the teacher,  the students taught me a lot about Chinese Culture, different foods and that my hair is “weird” – it got really puffy and big thanks to the humidity. These children also taught me about patience, what it means to be a teacher and how important education is.

I had the privilege of being invited back to the camp to teach again. This time we would work in a different city, for less time, but the same program. I jumped at the chance as I truly loved my first experience.

The time I spent teaching in China really made me rethink my path in life. Up to this point I was working as a landscaper with an interest to start my own company. Once I came back from China, the second time, I made the decision to go back to school to become a teacher. I want to give students the same experiences I had in school. Celebrate the fact we are part of a global community and as global citizens we need to look after each other.