March 8, 2023

By Eric House

This International Women’s Day, World Learning is spotlighting several program participants who are forging new careers, elevating research, furthering social justice, and inspiring new teaching methods. Through their dedicated efforts, they embody the spirit of International Women’s Day and its focus on the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women.

English language teacher motivates students to get outside their comfort zones

Pathan (left) working with colleagues in a training-of-trainers in Kolkata.

When Sadiya Anjum Pathan completed her training in the Madrassa English Language Teacher Training (MELLT) program, she was empowered to go from being a teacher to an academic head and counselor at her school. She’s also earned her master’s in counseling psychology, a post-graduate diploma in school leadership and management, and will be pursuing a Ph.D. in psychology. Above all, she’s inspired students to go beyond their comfort zones.

“If we want to achieve more and move further, we have to be comfortable with being uncomfortable,” she says. “My favorite part of coaching is when I motivate my group to stretch toward the completion of a goal. The shine that I see in their eyes while achieving something really amazes me, and I start working harder for them.”

World Learning program officer and SIT alumna advances sustainability in the study abroad field

A student examines a coral reef in Australia.

Megan Zacher, a senior program officer with World Learning’s IDEAS program, completed her MA in Sustainable Development with SIT Graduate Institute in May 2022. For her capstone research, she dove deep into the topic of sustainability in the study abroad field. Her work offers tangible next steps to engage with sustainability in substantive ways and to ensure the study abroad field has a positive impact on the environment.

“It is essential that the field takes this opportunity to think deeply about its engagement with travel and learning and seeks to transform the practice of studying abroad into one that is regenerative, mutually beneficial, and seeks to do no harm,” she says.

Visit the SIT Capstone Collection to read her full findings.

Experiment alumna uses new role to further positive social change

Dr. Anita Gonzalez

Theatre professor Dr. Anita Gonzalaz is a co-founder of Georgetown University’s Racial Justice Institute. When the role was presented to her more than a year ago, she saw an opportunity to draw upon her international experience using the arts to create stories that promote understanding in the fight for racial justice. This international experience began when Gonzalez was 16 years old and spent eight weeks in Mexico with The Experiment in International Living.

“For me—because of The Experiment—the arts have always been about bringing communities together to make collaborative work,” she says. “I’ve always seen the arts in terms of their communicative powers. They are the public face of social change.”

TESOL certificate alumna puts a new lens on teaching English

Emma (bottom right) with some of her students — Annie, Abdul, Daviana, Iara, Lilian, and Catherine.

Emma Symanski found a new passion for teaching language learners when she enrolled in World Learning’s TESOL certificate program. An avid photographer, she self-designed a course on using photography as a tool for learning English, and then turned that course into a published book. That experience not only transformed her passions, but it helped her students connect with each other while learning a new language.

“Not only was I able to hear individual stories, but they were able to share them with each other. They used their photos … to learn about each other,” she says. “When you include photography in language learning, it becomes something you’re actually passionate about — not just some other activity.”