Student of the Month: Marisol Masso
Hometown: Mendoza, Argentina
Field of Study: Education
Each month we choose a student for the OISS Student of the Month that exemplifies and highlights everything it means to not only be a Spartan but an international Spartan. We choose these students based on their accomplishments and their participation in the community. For the month of October OISS chose: Marisol Masso.
Marisol is from the city of Mendoza, Argentina. Mendoza is located in the central portion of Argentina close to the border of Chile and is home to a little over 100,000 people.
For Marisol, cultures and teaching have always been great passions of hers. All throughout her life, she has wanted to experience the world for what it is and learn the tools to teach the next generation of global citizens.
This passion held true even throughout her undergraduate studies. Living all her life in Argentina, Marisol stated that her home country always felt isolated. Pursuing a degree in teaching exposed her to different theories and applications to teach a new generation of young people for a more interconnected world. What would naturally follow is the desire to teach and spread English around the world.
Marisol continued to explain how much sense and how natural it was for her to pursue a degree in teaching English. She stated how her passion for travel would become fully realized when she completed her first degree. True to her word, after finishing her degree in Argentina she spent a year teaching English in a secondary school in Rotherham, South Yorkshire, England.
After spending time in England gaining valuable teaching experience, Marisol decided it was time she went back to school. She realized that she needed to deepen her understanding of teaching methods in order to fully utilize her capabilities as an English language teacher. Since her time schooling in Argentina she realized she needed answers on the theory of teaching. When putting to practice those theories in both Argentina and England, she came across instances where the theory of teaching did not quite match up with what was actually occurring in the classroom. At this point, she knew she needed to learn from more leading minds on how to continue to be an effective teacher.
With this is mind, Marisol applied for the Fulbright Scholarship. In her home country of Argentina, there were very few opportunities to study abroad and travel. Especially in recent years, an economic crisis occurring within the country had made traveling and studying abroad nearly impossible for middle-class Argentine family. Therefore, for Marisol she thought the best opportunity to gain the most exposure to new ideas was to apply for the Fulbright Scholarship and study in the United States. Michigan State University was always one of her top choices to come study at in the United States. With MSU having the top ranked education program in the nation, this would be her best opportunity to be exposed to the leading methods in teaching.
When Marisol finally arrived at MSU adjusting to a new lifestyle and new home was difficult. She spoke to me about how isolating at times her first year was. The shocking thing to her was how many different challenges she had to face on her own. Finding a place to call her own, going to different buildings for classes, and familiarizing herself with an entirely new city. For her, adjusting to East Lansing was much more difficult than teaching in England. Another shocking thing that Marisol did not realize before she came to the US was realizing how different the British English accent was to the American one. Having to learn new pronunciations for words and change her English accent was something new to her and to me as well. Learning English is difficult on its own but being able to shift into an entirely new accent quickly in just a few months is incredible. This just shows Marisol’s passion to learn English and spread knowledge to be the most effective educator she can be.
That first year was very difficult for Marisol, but now by her second year she has stuck it out and enjoyed her time at MSU even more. She is much better at time management, which allows her to enjoy many more different resources and activities that MSU has to offer. Now that she has been better at coping with living in the United States, she has involved herself with clubs on campus. She dedicates much of her time to partaking in the MSU Salsa Club. Dance has always been one of the activities she has enjoyed the most in Argentina, so she is glad that there is an opportunity here in the US to retain some of the cultural ties from home.
Including MSU Salsa Club, Marisol enjoys being an active member of a group within the College of Education called LATTICE. The group aims at discussing how to make the curriculum more global and connects American teachers with international teachers through monthly meetings in the semester. While discussing the knowledge she has gained during her time here at MSU, Marisol gleefully told about the challenges and developments occurring in teaching. One of the biggest challenges in teaching English today is making sure students can stay motivated throughout the entire learning process. She states that educators today are sources of knowledge, and making yourself easily accessible to a wide variety of learning are some of the key points emphasized in teaching English.
With this in mind, Marisol states it’s difficult to think where her career will take her in the future due to her love of travel. However, she knows she wants to be a part of an education system that emphasizes the connections one can make throughout the globe. With a strong knowledge of English, Marisol firmly believes that it is the best way to connect to the rest of the world. As the language of business, she thinks it’s important that today’s youth has a firm grasp of the English language. So far, Marisol has had a fantastic learning experience at MSU and hopes to one day become a university professor. She hopes that maybe one day she can gain enough knowledge and skill to lead the next generation of educators.
We then spoke of any advice Marisol had to offer to any new international students at MSU. She then briefly explained the feelings of loneliness and being overwhelmed. For many international students, finding a place to be accepted can be difficult. Therefore, it’s important to take the initiative and find methods to become accepted within the community. You don’t have to take any of these challenges alone and by putting yourself out there you’ll find people who want to accept you for who you are. Things will get better and you will find yourself in a great position to achieve success and get to your goals.
As we wrapped up the interview, Marisol also wanted to remind international students to never lose those ties to home. In the craziness of the college lifestyle it is important to take a step back and remind yourself why you’re here: That your studies are absolutely paramount and that you’re in a prime position to make a real difference in the world.
Tyler Perl is currently a senior majoring in International Relations. He will be graduation in May 2019 with his degree in IR. He also is minoring in Political Economy. Tyler plans after graduation to work in economic policy in Washington DC.