North Texas Daily

Alum spends a year teaching abroad

Alum spends a year teaching abroad

February 28
20:07 2013

Areli Chavez


After working a full-time job during college and taking more than 15 hours per semester, alum Nic Gardiner lives at a new change of pace in a new country. He graduated from UNT in 2011 with a degree in international studies and now teaches English in Cartagena, Spain.

“I chose to do this job so I can travel and have a year off from stress,” Gardiner said. “I work 12 hours a week and that pays for my living here.”

Traveling has been a longtime goal for Gardiner, but teaching wasn’t always in his plans.

“My father used to work for American Airlines when I was young and we went to France and England,” Gardiner said. “That left an impression, so I have always wanted to travel.”

However, traveling and experiencing a new culture isn’t always easy, as there are many difficulties that come with being in a foreign country, he said.  The language barrier has proven to be one of the biggest challenges for Gardiner.

“I understand some Spanish but it’s difficult to communicate what you want,” Gardiner said. “I have become a proficient charades actor.”

Going from being a student to teaching is a complete role reversal, on top of doing so in a foreign country.

“I never thought he’d be teaching English in a foreign country,” said Blake Judson, psychology senior and former classmate. “I’m really impressed he has come such a long way.”

Leaving family, friends and culture 5,000 miles away is a challenge, Gardiner said. It takes a person with a lot of patience and persistence.  Not only is the job application and selection process extensive, but common daily duties aren’t easy feats, either.

“In the U.S. I can get things done quickly,” Gardiner said. “Here you might have to wait a month to get your Internet set up.”

One of Gardiner’s former Spanish teachers, Martine Price, said that having knowledge of a foreign language can expand students’ opportunities.

“That’s one of my goals, to inspire others to continue learning in Spanish,” said Martine Price, Gardiner’s former Spanish teacher. “You may not use Spanish but it can open many doors.”

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