English, Pepperdine University, Malibu, California
I left for Greece seeking to understand what it means to educate in a foreign country, and now I return to the United States seeking to understand what it means to be an educator. Beyond the billowing classroom curtains of Psychico College I have encountered Greek students sluggish and spirited, discouraged and resilient, desperate to assimilate and desperate to diverge, heart-breaking and hilarious all at once. Perhaps I should remove the qualifier "Greek" from the description of my classes. For though I relish investigating my students' culture, language, and specificity of experience, I also embrace the universality of their adolescent educational journeys— contradictory and complicated by nature. In the end, this year has been about the accommodation and understanding that stems from simple human connection, regardless of where my students are from, how much English they know, and how difficult their last names are to pronounce with an ungainly American accent. This definition of education transcends the expanse of the Aegean Sea, country borders, and what other trivial lines we pretend to draw in the sand.