My dreams are becoming a reality; I'm going to be a teacher in Africa! It’s been a dream for most of my life, in fact when I was five years old I told everyone I had a heart to serve in Africa! The dream has been fostered through mission trips, working with refugees, learning about other cultures through international studies, and befriending people from all over the world in college international groups. Even though I was mentally ready to move to Africa after high school, after much prayer and guidance, my dream led me to pursue an Elementary Education degree which would allow me to work in another country as a teacher.
After graduating from college last December, I realized the 3 1/2 years spent at the University of North Florida allowed time for maturity, amazing experiences, cultural opportunities, fantastic relationships with mentors I respected, and a strengthened my urge to teach in Africa. Due to my successful internship performance, coupled with my GPA and honors college involvement, I was selected as one of three to intern in Belize for 3 weeks last fall. After my experience in Belmopan, Belize, there was no doubt I'd pursue a teaching position abroad. Within a week of graduating, God literally dropped an offer into my lap.
After my resume was reviewed and a Skype interview conducted, I was offered an English teacher position at the International English Academy in Tunisia, Africa. Before accepting the position, I spent two weeks immersed in the culture, meeting the Board of Directors, fellow teachers, families, and students and even had an opportunity to teach a few days. There is no question in my heart that God led me exactly where I am supposed to be. With a heart filled with gratitude for so many blessings, I accepted the position and will move in late August. I have an annual contract with the school, so I am officially committed for one year; however, I feel I will be in the country for a few years.
I have been offered a salary for the teaching position, but it is a very small stipend that will only cover some of my monthly expenses. My career goals were never to be rich monetarily, but to live filled with the wealth of a purpose-filled life. Tunisia does not grant work visas, so I am required to leave the country through Europe every four months and I will need to gather financial support for the required trips as well as assisting with monthly living expenses. The cost of living is less than the US, and I’ve practiced living a minimalistic lifestyle in college by thrifting, saving almost all of my earnings, and sticking to a tight budget for food and necessities. I am estimating my expenses will be around $700 monthly. I would ask you to seriously consider either a one time or monthly donation to support me on my journey of sharing love in Tunisia. I need to raise a majority of my funds before August since the initial cost of moving will be the greatest expense.
Thank you again for letting me share my excitement with you. Your prayers and support mean the world to me and will be used efficiently! Even being dubbed “frugal Ashley” all my life is showing its purpose now too!
How long will you be in Tunisia?
I am on a yearly contract; near the end of the year I can sign again or decline to sign. Therefore, I will be in Tunisia for at least a year with the possibility of being there much longer.
Will you take trips home to the United States?
Due to the cost of plane tickets to the United States and the amount of time it takes to travel back and forth, I will only come home in June when my contract is up. I will still have contact with people in the United States through email and whatsapp.
Will you get paid as a teacher?
I will be receiving a very small salary however the salary will cover most of my monthly apartment fees but not utilities.
What do you need monetary support for?
Tunisia is a very inexpensive country to live in, but traveling to Tunisia is very costly. A round-trip ticket from the US to Tunisia is about $1600. Also, since Tunisia doesn't allow work visas, every four months I am required by the Tunisian government to make visa trips out of the country. The bordering countries to Tunisia are closed and I am not allowed access, so my visa trips will require me to fly to Europe or other parts of Africa. While my required visa trips and flights to the US are the most expensive piece of my fundraising, your monetary support will also go toward groceries, local transportation since I will not have a car, school supplies, health insurance, utilities and other living expenses.