Teacher Connections: Live

In this post from API’s “Teacher Connections” series, Casey, a current teacher in Colombia, shares his personal story.

Hello all, my name is Casey and I have been living in Colombia for close to 4 months. My story is a little different, but I will start it like this. I was an orphan of Colombian origin back in the 1990s and was adopted at the ripe age of 1. For all of my life, Colombia, the history of my birth, the history of my biological family, has been this fog that has followed me around.  I have a personal investment in this experience/opportunity but I also want to encourage anyone in different circumstances to know that living in a culture they have dreamed about is possible.

The Facts Are This:
I grew up in Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin and graduated from college with a BA in Criminal Justice. I worked as a Probation and Parole Agent for close to 3 years prior to contacting API and starting my journey. I was at a point where I wanted to make a career advancement but didn’t know what to do or where to go. I always had this cloud that I wanted answers to but I didn’t think it was possible. I didn’t think it was possible because I always had “excuses”. I had excuses that everyone can relate to, like money, family, friends and personal relationships. But then something crazy happened and I simply applied and things went from there. I chose API because I knew if I wanted to experience a culture I actually wanted to live in the culture, not just be a traveler. I had zero Spanish experience prior to leaving. I had never left the United States before and all I knew about hostels were that they had to be like the movie- Hostel. All of that being said, it started with me clicking send on my application and not allowing the excuse to stop me.


…and it brought me here! Teaching class in Colombia.

Well, here I am, on a Friday night in Bucaramanga, Colombia writing this up for everyone, including those who are thinking, “Man, I love all the pictures I see of people traveling but that time in my life has passed and I can’t do it now.” I could have stayed in Wisconsin and left that application in the drafts folder of my email, but that would have been too easy. I could have continued to work or gotten a new job in hopes of buying a house up north on the lake, getting a boat and preparing for another season of ice fishing. But that life will always be waiting for me. Instead, I decided to challenge myself to be better.


Bringing home with you – on game day in Valle de Cocora, Salento!!! #GoPackGo

If I would have let those excuses guide me, I wouldn’t have been able to spend today in 80 degree weather using the Spanish I have learned to get a morning coffee, get a haircut, check out a thrift shop, give someone directions by bus, give another woman the time, meet up with a Colombian friend for a mid-day ice-cream, and make plans to hike a waterfall tomorrow.

I wouldn’t have been able to travel to Bogotá, Mesa De Los Santos, Chichamocha Canyon, Santa Marta, Armenia, and Salento, and I wouldn’t have been able to make plans to visit La Guajira, Medellín and San Gil in the next couple months. It’s not always easy. A challenge isn’t meant to be easy. It’s the hard times that make the beautiful parts that much more beautiful. So when you see photos, just know that the person had to work very hard (physically and mentally) for that one symbolic photo.


It’s not all traveling. You work and change people’s lives and these are my wonderful co-teachers.

Don’t be distracted by the excuses in life and live!

Photo compliments of Craig P.

Photo compliments of Craig P.

To learn more about the Teach in Colombia program that Casey is a part of, click here:
Applications for the January/February 2017 start are currently being accepted!

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