Gottfried ’12 Encourages Students to Keep an Open Mind

By Caitlin Burns | November 22, 2019

Gottfried in front of Sydney Opera House

Thirty-two countries. Seven years.

Psychology alumnus Marc Gottfried ’12 had too many commitments as a student, baseball play, Arcadia ambassador, and University event student worker to spend a semester abroad, although he did make time for Preview and a Global Field Study (GFS) course. Now, he spends as much time out of the country as he can.

As a mathematics teacher at Esperanza Academy Charter High School in Philadelphia, Gottfried often travels during his summer break. This year, he traveled through New Zealand and Australia, which is his favorite trip so far. Next summer, he hopes to visit Holland, Denmark, and Croatia.

“My Preview in London was the first time I had left the country,” said Gottfried. “It’s one thing to read about it in a book, but to experience it firsthand is a completely different experience, and Arcadia gave me that. If I hadn’t gone to Arcadia, I wouldn’t be who I am today or have gone to the places I’ve been.”

In addition to London, Gottfried also visited Dominica with Professor and Executive Director of the Domestic MBA Program Dr. Thomas Brinker on a GFS that studied the pre-history, politics, economics, and/or artistic heritage of a foreign culture. 

“Arcadia gave me that [opportunity],” he said. “If I hadn’t gone to Arcadia I wouldn’t be who I am today, or have gone to the places I’ve been.”

Gottfried incorporates lessons from his internal experiences into his classrooms.

“One thing I always tell students is to have open mindfulness, and be ready to learn new things when the opportunity comes up,” said Gottfried. “Travel shows you it’s the little steps that lead to a big goal, which is something I try to pass onto my students. I tell them if they want to do well on a test, they’ve got to study. In order to study though, they’ve got to do the homework. So, those little steps each day can help them do well on the test.”

And while his students have benefited from his travel experience, he also sees his travel experience benefiting from student influence.

“As a teacher, you need to speak to every student and connect with them,” said Gottfried. “I have so many friends from traveling solo because I’ve learned to talk to everyone, but also be social and adaptable.”