My serial career changing had to come to an end. I needed to take a moment to reflect and honestly look inside myself. What did I really want to do? What made me happy? Whatever it was, I needed to be working with people, be able to express some creativity, and feel like I was making a difference. I looked back on my job experiences thus far, and it seemed altogether clear. The time I spent doing applied behavior analysis (ABA) with autistic preschoolers through the agency out of Montgomery Village was the most satisfying thing I’ve ever done. To know that I was helping children to talk, play, and interact was an incredible feeling. It didn’t hurt that they were all adorable, either.
Through this realization, I began looking into a Masters in ABA at schools that were approved by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB). Much to my excitement, it’s an internationally recognized certification and there are schools in the UK that have approved programs. I narrowed my interest down to the University of Kent and The University of South Wales. Through further investigation, I was leaning almost completely toward Uni South Wales. They have a therapy center associated with the school which iss a big plus. I also really liked Wales when I was there. The school is about a 20 minute train ride from Cardiff. I had finally found a path that I felt very happy about.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I haven’t changed my mind again. I just got to thinking. If I go abroad for school for a year, it will be a lot of work, but a great experience. Then I will most likely come home, sit for the certification exam, and start working as a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA). While the prospect of that is an exciting and welcome direction, I’d really like to spend more than a year living abroad.
My dream of teaching English overseas, long dusty on the back shelf of 2008, became not only an option, but an extremely viable one. I am in the position to save up a comfortable amount before going over, have had some teaching experience, and feel comfortable navigating the international scene. I began re-looking at programs through various governments that I had considered in the past. There was the JET program in Japan, EPIK and TaLK in South Korea, and the North American Language and Culture Assistant (Auxiliares) program in Spain. More extensive research and blog perusing led me to the BEDA program in Spain, as well.
I had missed the deadline for Japan and South Korea. Their school years are different than the European system and the applications open in the fall. Both Spain programs were opening within a week or so of the time I started considering the idea. I loved Spain for the month I was there studying, and through both programs I would be a language assistant rather than the main teacher, which eased the anxiety of first-time teaching a bit. I decided to apply to both. I felt that my chances were decently high.
After those applications were submitted, the waiting began.
Much to my surprise and excitement, I had an email the next day from the BEDA coordinator. I had been selected for an interview which they would schedule with me in February.
ANDDD I was off…