My name is Jim. I’m an English teacher at International Community High School on Brook Avenue in the Bronx. I was born and raised in a small town in Iowa, but I have lived in New York City for the past 14 years. A pivotal point in my life was when I participated in an exchange program in the 11th grade. I lived with a family for one year in Yugoslavia (Croatia). This experience got me interested in studying language so I majored in Croatian and Russian at the University of Kansas. I also have a Masters in International Business from Pepperdine University and a Masters in TESOL from Teachers College/Columbia University. Besides Croatia I have lived in Russia, Germany and El Salvador.
After I finished my masters degree I became a Peace Corps volunteer and served for two years in a small town in northeastern El Salvador. While there I worked with a Savings and Loan Cooperative (like a bank) because the town I lived in didn’t have a bank and the nearest one was three hours away by bus. I helped the manager and cooperative committees with the day-to day work. In addition, I taught English to some students and adults in my community and helped the elementary school construct a roof to cover their basketball court so they could use it during the rainy season. My Peace Corps experience made me realize how important it is to be in service to others and this is why I eventually became a teacher.
Outside of teaching school, I really love to travel. I try to take advantage of all the vacation time as a teacher to go visit family, friends and, most of all, places I have never seen before. I think I have travelled to more than 50 countries and I would like to get to 50 more soon. My last big trip was to India for three weeks. I studied Hindi for a week when I got there so I could at least read a few words on the subway. I got to see the Taj Mahal and experience a place that is quite different from New York City. I love the adventure and the “unknown” of going to a new place. It doesn’t matter to me if I don’t have a place to stay when I land or if I don’t know exactly where I am going or exactly what I am going to do. That’s all part of the fun!