Nikki Hill Heading for Peru

March 9, 2018

Nikki Hill is currently working on her Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) Certificate at UCF to prepare her to teach English abroad. She interned at the binational center, Casa Thomas Jefferson (CTJ) in Brazil that offers TEFL classes to over 16,000 students. Nikki relates her experience at CTJ and will be participating at the binational center in Cusco, Instituto Cultural Peruano Norteamericano, during Spring Break.

My name is Nikki Hill. I am an aspiring ESL/EFL teacher, and I was part of the pilot program for what is now an official study abroad program here at the University of Central Florida (UCF). Last spring, one of my professors mentioned an opportunity to travel to Brasília, Brazil in the summer. He stated it was the first-time UCF would be working with Casa Thomas Jefferson, a renowned English language school in the federal capital. A follow-up email indicated prospective duties would be related to U.S. Embassy grants such as ACCESS camp and the English Immersion Program, which included conversation classes for teenagers and other tasks. Even though the trip was largely experimental in nature, I made the decision to go for three weeks with two of my classmates. I applied for and was granted the Dr. Olga Pustovalova TEFL Scholarship to fund my airfare. Not only did a get a chance to teach at Casa Thomas Jefferson, but I also got the chance to visit the U.S. Embassy (see picture), the National Congress of Brazil, the Cathedral of Brasília, and many other places while I was there. I also got to work with EducationUSA, a program that advises students on how to pursue higher education in the U.S. Upon my return to school in the fall, another one of my professors invited me to assist her at the 2017 Study Abroad Fair. Sitting at the booth next to me was Dr. Maria Santana, who was promoting another study abroad program in Cusco, Peru—the one that I will be participating in a week from now. Once again, I applied for and received another travel grant to cover the cost of the flight. I pursued these opportunities the moment they were presented to me, and it is this perseverance that has gotten me where I am today.