Meet Mente Participants: Jenny

Jenny participated in Mente’s Intensive Spanish and Yoga programs. We’ll miss her dearly and wish her the best in her return to the US. Here’s what she had to say about her experience in Argentina:

“On May 1st, I gave my notice that I wouldn’t be returning to teach the next year. I’ve been a 3rd grade teacher in Manhattan for eight years, and living in a studio apartment in the city for ten. I love working with kids, but the costs of living and lack of space in NYC were getting the best of me. So, without a plan, I just decided to take a chance and have an adventure.

I made lists to organize ideas. Lists of places I wanted to visit, personal goals, professional goals, general wishes. In examining those further, I decided I wanted to stay in a Spanish speaking country in South America and learn more about yoga. I do a lot with mindfulness and movement in the classroom, but wanted to expand my own experience. A Google search led me to Mente and the headline: Learn Yoga in Buenos Aires! With Optional Spanish Language Study. A little bit of research later, and I was booked: a one-way ticket to Buenos Aires to learn yoga and Spanish.

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Fast forward months later, and I’m just finishing up my ten weeks in Buenos Aires. I can’t believe how fast the time has gone. I have loved my adventure in Buenos Aires, and I think one of my favorite things has been the people I’ve met through Mente. Whether at the Spanish school I was at, in my yoga teacher’s apartment, or taking advantage of the different Mente events, I was lucky enough to meet people from all over the world. In my Spanish class alone, there were five of us representing not only four different countries, but four different continents! I met people studying tango and others learning computer coding; some with no Spanish experience (like myself) and others who were almost fluent; some staying for a year and others for a week.

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To me, this was the difference between feeling like I was alone in this journey and feeling like I had a team with me. Just this week, in fact, we were talking about the range of reactions you receive when you say you are taking a break from work and are going to study in a foreign country for a bit. It ranges from “Oh I wish I could do something like that!” to “You’re so brave,” to “You must be terrified.” But once here, you make friends with these other people of all ages and backgrounds, who have one thing in common: we all took a chance on an adventure and are here to experience and learn. As one of my new friends said, “I thought I was nuts but once I got here and met so many others like me I thought, ‘I found my people!’”

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So I’ll be returning home a little bit more flexible (physically and mentally) and able to speak conversational Spanish, but even more importantly, I’ll be returning knowing I have made real connections with people. It just gives me more excuses to get out there, have more adventures, and visit “my people” all over the world.”