How a Bettie goes global.

Meet Amanda Agate, she is the Program Coordinator of Global Curriculum in the University of Arizona’s Global Department. She’s also doing this while completing her MA in English Applied Linguistics in TESL from the College of English at UA. She graduates in May. And  this summer, thanks to her Fulbright-Hays Group Project award, she will participate in teacher training in China!

This is how you prepare yourself to have an international life.

Amanda is one of those women with chutzpah who always finds a way, so a few years ago when she was faced with a few choices post-collegiate graduation, she took to the airways and found herself in Prague where she became TEFL certified at The Language House TEFL. After having applied to a few programs and not getting into her program of choice she found herself at a total loss and feeling defeated. She found a job working with a family in Italy as a sort of in-home “help us with our English” au pair. When that gig was up, it was back to the states to get her Masters.

She’s our last installment for March where we are celebrating our International Betties. I I thought Amanda’s story would help motivate those looking to live and work internationally by showing yet another option of how to get there.

I’m so thrilled to hear that you’ve landed this job. You must be so excited!:

Yes I am! I actually love my job.

The University of Arizona has 25 “micro-campuses” around the world! It is actually amazing. We help bring different majors, studies, and educational options to people in so many places and it feels great. We partner with different institutes to help provide “American credited degrees” to 25 different countries almost. So all around, it is giving many life-changing opportunities to driven and motivated people, which makes my heart happy! ANYWAY, I am in charge of helping to create a curriculum for the work that they receive, EX: Checking over material and making sure that from an English Language Learner perspective its on point and to help curriculum become the most culturally sensitive as possible.

This semester I am also in charge of teaching three courses online for our Jakarta, Phnom Penh, and Qingdao students. So even though I am “stuck in one place” I am constantly interacting with people of different cultures. Over all, my heart is very happy.

We met in Prague, where you actually danced as the first group of International Brown Betties. (I remember you messaging on Facebook even before you arrived in Prague asking if you could be a Bettie.) Tell us about that whole experience?

I moved to Prague back in 2016. I had always loved to dance and had been a dancer my whole life. From the age of five I contributed to professional dance, competitive dance and different genres on companies throughout high school and college and I loved everything about it.

In college I wanted dance to be my major. So, after high school I moved to the third best dance school nationwide and worked towards that goal of having dance as my major. I worked for over a year in a half, spending a lot of time, money, and effort into dance. I continually auditioned and was continually told “No”. After several auditions I was finally told “Not to waste my time… my body type was just not made for what they were looking for in their program…. “ It crushed me at the time. That was my life plan… and now I had to find another one. I did not give up on dance as a hobby though. I had learned to improve my technique and continually discover myself through dance and experimental movement, but nothing gave me the confidence and power in being a capable, confident, and powerful human and woman like being a Bettie has…

When I was introduced to you and Nicole, I was hesitant about being a Bettie, I can’t deny. It was a different type of self-expression that I was not used to, even though I did feel as though I came from diverse experiences (little did I know). It can almost be viewed as intimidating to some — to see women so confident and comfortable, that is. But why was that intimidating? Maybe because we are not used to seeing women that confident? That didn’t seem right… And of course, I was drawn to it. The glamour, the sass, the confidence, the sisterhood, and everything in between. I wanted to be apart of that. I wanted to have that confidence and know myself that much to be able to so. Everything that a female wants, everything that a female needs to feel. What we all deserve to feel. Being a Bettie was a lifestyle, that I learned to love very quickly.

I continued to practice, rehearse, and perform with The Brown Betties for a year in Prague. Now you do have to understand, that someone living abroad is already going through so many natural epiphanies during their experimental time of living in a culture that is not their own. The Betties brought me such a comfort in being uncomfortable. No matter what happened — bad day, stressful day, great day — the sisterhood of the Betties was there at the ed of the day. It seemed like sisters, people, Betties all alike, would come together from right where they were, for one another. That really played a significant and positive in my experience living abroad.

I now continue to dance where I am geographically located in Tucson, Arizona. I graduate in two months with my master’s degree, which is not in dance. Which is also okay. I have found other loves as well as dance and to mix with dance. And I put them all together somehow in some beautiful way to make up who I am. Balancing your loves is what matters. Thank you for all the lesson that being a Bettie has taught me. Once a Bettie, always a Bettie.”

 

Follow Amanda and her global adventures here: https://www.instagram.com/shmanduh/

 

 

Main photo from UA Global.

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