Andrea Delgado is a 2011 Illinois State education alumna who is now pursuing her graduate degree in education at the Universidad de Alcalá de Henares in Spain. She began her teaching career as an early childhood educator in Chicago Public Schools. Delgado received a Jepsen International Scholars Program Endowment scholarship to participate in a 4-week trip to Cuernavaca, Puebla, and Taxco, Mexico in the summer of 2010.
Through the “Jepsen Challenge,” your donations large and small help aspiring education majors afford to participate in unique study abroad opportunities offered by the College of Education. Alumnus Keith Jepsen ’67 M.S. ’68 and his spouse Kathleen Dore will match up to $25,000 in donations made by June 30, 2016 to the Jepsen International Scholars Program Endowment Fund and the College of Education Global Initiatives fund.
How did this experience impact your perspective, both as a global citizen and as an aspiring educator?
You learn so much about education in another country. You realize not to take what you have for granted. As a teacher, it makes you see what you can do for your students from another country, in this instance Mexico. Student teaching in Chicago made me have so much respect for many of the families that come from Mexico. I wanted to be a part of the community that my school had just like I had felt in Cetlalic.
What methods, strategies, or classroom approaches were inspired by your study abroad experience?
It impacted my life because I wanted to improve my Spanish further. Being immersed in Spanish culture is so helpful and also opens you up to be open-minded. I love the sense of community I felt in Mexico and I brought that with me into my own classroom in Chicago. It was very inviting and open.
I actually found out about the program through students from Illinois State University and Maria Luisa Zamudio, who was one of the ISU professors who led and taught me in Mexico during my study abroad trip. After I complete my degree, I would like to come back to Chicago and teach. I am planning on taking the Spanish Proficiency test and getting my Type 29 to have a bilingual endorsement.
My study abroad experience in Mexico made me so much more open-minded, and it made me a little bit more independent, too. I felt very accomplished and proud for having gone to Mexico by myself with such an open mind. In fact, I felt so positive about my experience that I wanted that again. Now, five years later, it was one of the reasons I had the courage and initiative to come to Spain and add to my international experience.
It meant so much to me because it enabled me to have such an experience. Without it, I wouldn’t have been able to travel abroad and do the things that I have done. I wouldn’t have learned as much as I did about outside school systems. The school we were a part of taught us about the education system and allowed us to experience the classroom teaching first hand.