Ryan Gomez will be will be headed to a small pueblo in southern Spain in late September. He and I met by chance. He called my office at FSU looking for information about one of the documents needed for the Spanish visa application. We got to chatting and voila! After a great chat, Ryan decided he’d like to be one of our newest Teach Abroad contributors. We are thrilled! So far, we haven’t covered aanything about preparing to work abroad, so we are excited to share Ryan, or as I like to call him, Mr. Gomez, with you!
What has been the biggest obstacle so far?
“Money! I have two incredible parents who are very supportive of my siblings and me. They raised the three of us into adulthood. At this point in my life, I refuse to let them pay for me. I have self-funded every adventure since college. This move to Spain is no different. Over the past two years, I’ve been working two other jobs while also being employed full-time at Florida State University. It has been a daunting task… paying my bills and student loan debt each month while also putting money aside for a move to a new country is hard work. I’m selling my truck before I leave and will still be working part-time via computer for FSU.”
What are you looking forward to the most about leaving on your journey to Spain?
“I am a proud American. I’ve devoted my life up to this point studying, teaching, and discussing our country’s history, form of government, and economic system. I think I have a pretty balanced and global outlook on life, but I’ve only ever lived in the state of Florida. I know there are different ways of viewing the world. I’m most looking forward to walking in someone else’s shoes. When Spanish people wake up in the morning, what is their first thought or worry? What does it mean to be “successful” in Spain? In a Spaniards eyes, what is happiness? Are they “happy?” Are they proud of their history? Or their leaders? How are these thoughts/feelings different from my own? Why?
Discovering the answers to these types of questions is what I’m most excited about. At the same time I’m really looking forward to being an informed, educated, and fun ambassador of my country to the European continent!”
In one sentence, why Spain?
“I am embarking on this journey Spain to find my ancestral roots and rediscover myself (…as clichéd as that sounds, lol).”
How would you describe what you are feeling right now, pre-Spain?
“I feel like I’m standing in the north tunnel at Doak Campbell Stadium just before running out to the field for an 8pm FSU/UM kickoff, which is one of the university’s bigger football rivalries. It’s a packed house and the entire place is going nuts in anticipation. I can’t keep my hands from shaking, but it’s more from the excitement of the moment rather than fear of losing the match. All the preparation has been done; there’s nothing left to do but get out there, look the opponent in the face, and play the game hard. I don’t know what the result will be but it’s sure to be a spectacle!”
What did you not know before talking to Dreams Abroad? What has helped you the most so far?
“For something as monumental as moving to another country for an extended period of time, there really isn’t a lot of information available on the Internet for how to even go about doing it. I don’t have any friends or acquaintances that have taught abroad in Spain who could point me in the right direction. The Auxiliar website didn’t provide a lot of information other than the application and visa information. Meeting Leesa and the Dreams Abroad team has introduced me to an entire community of people who have already lived through what I’m about to go through or are in the same position that I’m in. I finally have someone to answer questions! The networking I’ve found through Dreams Abroad is what has helped the most so far.”
If you had a crystal ball, any idea where you think you will be a year from now?
“I’m hoping everything clicks for me and my journey to Spain. Assuming it does, in a year I think I’ll be living with my cousins in Orduña-Urduña (northern Spain), saving up money, and planning out my next chapter. If/when I return to the United States, I am totally taking the long way home!”