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My time at Arcadia truly incited my drive to participate in the world as a global citizen. One small moment that left a lasting impact happened when I was exploring shops in the Sacromonte neighborhood of Granada, Spain during a semester abroad. Inside a jewelry shop, I met a young girl who was the daughter of the owner. When I tried talking to her, the father explained that she spoke Moroccan Arabic. I only knew a few words, salaam, zweena, shukran, but they were enough. Her entire demeanor changed, and she was beaming.
It was experiences like these that made me want to be a multilingual education teacher, to get involved with the board of PennTESOL-East, and to teach graduate students about language and culture.
During my freshman year, I was assigned to live in one of the rooms in Grey Towers Castle, and I warmly remember that whenever my roommates and I came home, TJ was there to greet us. She was the public safety officer assigned to the Castle, and we would spend hours sitting on the cushioned bench across from her station. She would give us advice, ask about our parents, and tell stories. It was like being welcomed home by family.
At this point in my life, I feel that my greatest achievement is serving as president of PennTESOL-East. This role gave me the opportunity to plan a conference with the theme of “Celebrating the Impact of Educators.” As part of the conference, I created an award to recognize the meaningful work of TESOL professionals. I believe that honoring the work of others strengthens a community.