The foreign chance

Spanish teacher Halvorson shares her opinion of traveling abroad


Destiny Hileman

Sarah Halvorson discusses the country of Spain with a student.

Destiny Hileman, Contributing Writer

Ushering her buzzing students onto the boarding plane, Mrs. Sarah Halvorson can’t help but smile at the excitement they express to her. Traveling abroad with her students allows Halvorson to reach a deeper level of trust and friendship with her class. With past and future experiences in Spanish-speaking countries, she hopes to help others learn of the cultural differences and amazing foods using a foreign language. Diving deep into the memories and fun times, Halvorson shares her opinions and experiences as a well-traveled foreign language teacher.

Halvorson, a Spanish teacher at McHenry Upper Campus, has gone on to explain her views on traveling abroad with a class.Getting to travel all over the country…seeing it through [my student’s] eyes, it’s a very fun experience.” explained Halvorson. Making an effort to get her students excited both in class and out of class, her goal was always reached with her trips abroad. “My favorite thing is a student being surprised by enjoying something. That’s really fun for me,” she mentioned. Being a student abroad at one point, the foreign language teacher loves to share the delight of traveling.

Utilizing her abilities of speaking in Spanish, she shared her time studying before coming to MCHS. “I’ve spent more time in Costa Rica [because] that’s where I studied. Just being able to travel around the country and experience a different life… being able to use Spanish all the time, it’s a different mentality.” Halvorson expressed. Despite learning Spanish from a young age, she had never really fully experienced being in a foreign country surrounded by their language. “Even when I was very comfortable in Spanish for a long time because I worked with people [who] spoke Spanish, it was really the first time [I started] to think in Spanish. When you start to think about Spanish, you start to dream in Spanish. That happens too.”

Beginning to learn Spanish at the age of twelve, Halvorson was sure that she wanted to use her learned abilities in the future. “Originally I wanted to use Spanish but I wasn’t sure how I was going to use it. A lot of my family are teachers and I think I rebelled against it for a long time…but then I took a couple of education classes and I really liked it,” Halvorson explained. Taking her place in a school, she couldn’t help but realize how quickly she adapted and grew to love the idea of being a teacher.

After finding the career path she enjoyed, she quickly took to the lifestyle of an educator. “I’m not really a good fit for an office. I’m a little ‘zainy’ for that. I don’t sit quietly and work. It’s not usually how I like to spend my day.” Never really finding a fit in a small space, she shared her favorite part of teaching, “I really like the interactive part [with students and] being able to have some good small group experiences.”

Given the opportunity to teach the language of Spanish, Halvorson was given the chance of traveling abroad in hopes to share even more of the language through cultural lessons and she hopes to share with more students.“I think travel in general– if you could go to a place that’s different from yours and experience people that grew up in a different way and with cultural differences [it can be] very eye opening.” Halvorson affirmed. 

Halvorson believes it may be very important for a person to travel even if not in a foreign language class.We get very stuck in seeing what’s only in front of us and we think that’s the way the world is. It can make us more empathetic in certain situations. I do think there is a lot of value there in terms of seeing things outside of your comfort zone.” As a teacher at MCHS for seven years, she continues to hope students will take the time to travel and feel the different feelings of other cultures.

Traveling is never an easy adventure but the Spanish language teacher hopes to make things easier by guiding students to take the trip through her past ventures and stories from abroad. Chosen as a foreign language teacher at MCHS, Halvorson spends her time bonding and leading her students onto the right path using new experiences and adventures of culture. Taking the risk and stepping out of a comfort zone may seem scary at first but with the help of a teacher, it may be one of the best memories possible.