September 26, 2013

Hamline Alum Teaches Abroad in Egypt

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Alumna Katie Young Holmes is currently in Egypt for her second year of teaching abroad. Despite some of the unrest that has taken center stage in the country in recent months, Holmes says that she’s glad to be there.

“There is so much that is surprising about Egypt,” Holmes said. “The culture is so complicated, and I love trying to pull it all apart and bring it together.”

This school year may be different. With recent unrest coming to light in Egypt, Holmes believes it will affect her school. 

“I am worried about what it will mean for my students and my school community. We have teachers and students on both sides of the conflict,” Holmes said. “Our school will act like a microcosm of the entire country. It will be interesting to see how things play out socially.”

Holmes, who was an English major and education/communications minor at Hamline, had never been in the region before, she says she is learning a lot about teaching and herself.

“As an educator, my goal is to always challenge myself, grow, and learn,” Holmes said. 

To prepare for this endeavor, Holmes credits Hamline professors who encouraged her to set and achieve academic and personal goals.

“Many, many fabulous professors guided me along the way,” Holmes said. “They challenged me as a learner, and therefore as an educator.” 

That guidance paid off in many ways, especially when it came to making major adjustments to her teaching style.

“Egyptians are loud and talkative and rarely on time,” Holmes said. “It took me over half the year to find the sweet spot between my classroom management style and their cultural expectations.” 

As for current students who want to jump into a study abroad experience, Holmes has some candid advice.

“To any other Hamline folks considering a move like this, I'd tell them emphatically to take the plunge. And keep an open mind,” Holmes said. “I'd never intended to move to Egypt in the midst of civil unrest, but my arrival here feels serendipitous."