Co-Founder & CEO Live N Learn USA
I gave myself the best high school graduation gift ever: a trip to Spain!! I traveled around for a week and then lived with a host family for a week with a group from my high school. Those two weeks were life changing and aside from completely falling in love with the beauty and history of Spain, I loved living with a host family that had kids my age! Actually communicating in another language was like magic and it was amazing to make friends from another country and experience so many new things. After that trip I was determined to learn Spanish and one day live in Spain!
Fast forward 4 years and I was teaching English in Madrid and living my dream. Through my students I noticed a lack of exchange programs in which students could go abroad and have the chance to make local friends and truly be integrated in the culture. This led to the creation of Live N Learn, a company that would put creating friendships between Spanish and American kids the same age as the core of a more complete cultural immersion. For Pablo and I, our hope is that students live an authentic experience when they travel and make friends for a lifetime. We want students to view language not just as a school subject, but a useful skill that enables them to do cool stuff like travel and meet new people.
I love having Spaniards in the USA and showing them the glory of S’mores, celebrating the 4th of July and seeing how they react to their first taste of peanut butter or Cincinnati’s famous Skyline chili (that ones hit or miss). Showing American students around Spain is also definitely one of my all time favorite things to do! I love to open their eyes to a whole new world and culture, to enjoy gourmet three-course lunches that can sometimes last for two hours, to stumble upon an unexpected street performance and to visit things hundreds or even thousands of years old. What I love the most is running into students from years past whose lives have been completely changed by their experience of hosting or traveling and the impact that it still has on them.