My name is Wessam Awadalla and I am an English Teacher in the San Francisco Unified School District. School is OVER and so I’m finally able to get on here and talk to you! I hope your school year has ended positively and, even if it hasn’t, your trip to Constanza is a chance to let go of the restraints of your day to day reality and engage in something new. Let me begin by introducing myself and then I will speak to you about my hopes for our trip.

First things first: I am a teacher and I’ve been teaching for about seven years now through many different organizations, internships, and finally districts. I am interested in many things but I’ve often felt focused on the dynamics and sustainability of society, culture, and happiness. I have a big family and I’ve lived in the Bay Area my entire life, though I’ve traveled a few times out of the country as a young child. Something important to know is that I have a slow temper, I’m patient, and I have an open-mind. We will learn about each other more during our time together but if you have any questions, please let me know!

During this trip, we will be out of our comfort zone, and we will experience things that might be completely contrary to our own lives. We might encounter people who prioritize different things than you do or maybe their decisions are disagreeable. However, I will encourage you to think about this: just because something is different does not mean it is wrong. When you encounter difference, rather than pass judgement, please ask questions: How did something come to be? What is the history of this? How do people feel about this? Who is affected? This will help your experience in-country become personally transformative and more honest.

I look forward to meeting you on June 17th. Parent or student, you are welcome to contact me at any time. I will be calling half of you soon to check-in while my co-GGL will be calling the other half of you.

All the best,

Ms. Awadalla