Ten months, thirty countries, and countless memories

Sylvie Cao, Managing Editor

“I probably met more people in ten months of travel than I have in my entire life,” senior English teacher Bhumi Dalia said.
Dalia taught a total of two years of English at Liberty before leaving, originally to Macedonia with the Peace Corps.
Ten days into training, she was accepted into a program called Fullbright, which is a United States government organization. It’s intended to improve intercultural relations between other countries via exchange programs to teach, learn, and do research.
Being a part of Fullbright has been Dalia’s longtime dream since college, and without hesitation, she left the Peace Corps to teach English to Polish students at the University of Rzeszów.
“The entire experience was indescribably transformative. I knew very little about Poland going into all of this, besides the World War II associations,” Dalia said. “Being able to live in Poland and experience the culture first hand, as well as make lifelong friends who cared for me as if I was family there, was eye opening and broadened my view of the world.”
She also became a part of the university system in Poland and took advantage of all the opportunities she had from the Fullbright program.
“I was able to organize a conference in Poland to bring a greater focus to issues like mentorship, diversity, and inclusion. I talked to the locals about how to empower young students,” Dalia said.
Beyond teaching English, Dalia also served as a cultural ambassador and travelled to local schools and cultural centers in order to spread American culture to students of all ages. She quickly found that this was not a difficult task, because Polish students spend a lot of time studying British and American culture.
“I think American students can learn a lot, because we don’t teach culture to our students to the same extent,” Dalia said.
Dalia’s time in Poland wasn’t all work, however. The university scheduling in Poland is very different from America’s universities, because Polish students only meet once a week. As a result, she had a lot of time in her schedule to travel to other countries in Europe as well as to other cities in Poland.
“Europe is very well connected through public transit and the flights to neighboring countries are very cheap, so I took full advantage of that. I think the number of countries I visited in ten months is around 30. If not, then in the upper 20s,” Dalia said.
While some people may find it difficult to suddenly leave the comfort everything familiar, Dalia embraced the change and came back home with no regrets, satisfied with everything she accomplished.
“The personal growth I experienced by living and working in another country…it’s unparalleled. Unparalleled,” Dalia said.