Growing up in Florida, Tricia Bean (MATFL ’96) had her curiosity about other countries and cultures sparked at a very early age. “I knew a lovely Cuban lady who told me stories about her native country,” says Tricia, adding that as a young girl she developed a desire to travel and master the beautiful Spanish language.
When she was fifteen she went to Maracay, Venezuela as an exchange student with American Field Service (AFS) and “fell in love with the people, the country, the music, the tradition, and the language.” She happily shares that her Venezuelan friends often said she was born in the wrong country with the “soul of a Latina.” She completed her junior year of college in Alcalá de Henares, Spain where Miguel de Cervantes, author of Don Quixote de la Mancha, was born.
The international community at MIIS proved the “perfect fit” for Tricia. As a student she worked part-time for the Santa Rita School District in Salinas, and upon graduation she was hired as a bilingual teacher to teach English Language Development (ELD), Spanish, and Spanish for Spanish speakers at Gavilan View Middle School in the district. Her passion and enthusiasm for sharing her love of language and interest in other cultures is inspiring.
During her time at Gavilan View, Tricia took students abroad with the People to People Student Ambassador Program, was honored with the Fulbright Teacher Exchange Scholarship, and spent a year teaching English in Baranquilla, Colombia. Today Tricia is “proud to be among the talented faculty and staff of Carmel High School,” where she and a colleague designed and implemented a program to better meet the literacy needs of native Spanish speakers.
She collaborates regularly with the Institute, bringing students to the Institute’s International Education Day activities each year, participating in local language teacher discussions and hosting MATFL practicum students in her classroom. “I enjoy being able to give back to the institution that has given me so much.”