It seems Courtney Lord, a May 2014 graduate of Alverno College, has landed exactly where she was destined. 

The 22-year-old Lord, an English Language Arts major, is now teaching in an American school in Guayaquil, Ecuador; although it was her grandparents, Connie and Bill Literski who planted the seeds that have flourished into a promising future.

“I always wanted to teach; and when I was in high school, my grandparents would leave newspaper clippings on my bed about Alverno,” she says. When it was time to choose a college, applying to Alverno seemed like the natural thing to do.

As a student in the School of Education, Lord enrolled in a study abroad program in the summer of 2013 and volunteered for World Teach in Tena, Ecuador. With a background in Spanish, creative writing and secondary education, she was an attractive and well-prepared candidate for the program. “There were 15 volunteers from the U.S. and my students ranged in age from 6 to 32 years old. It was a huge age range,” she says with a laugh.

Lord prepared curriculum for both her morning and afternoon classes, and admitted it was a valuable learning experience. “I was so fortunate that Jennifer Flamboe encouraged me to go.” Flamboe, her Alverno College World Languages professor, worked the experience so that it fit with Lord’s coursework.

When Lord returned home and was back at Alverno for her senior year, she couldn’t shake the feeling she found her path. “This was it; I was interested in international education.”

With this revelation in mind, she headed to Atlanta for the Association of American Schools in South America job fair. She described the three-day process as “a little like speed dating.” With 60 representatives from schools throughout South America and countless applicants in attendance, Lord passed out 10 resumes, received eight interview opportunities and got three job offers.

When the representative from InterAmerican Academy asked her why they should hire her, she pulled out her laptop to prove her preparedness and explain her experience. “I showed him the units I had developed and taught and explained why they were effective.”

Meanwhile, Lord was assessing the school representatives in attendance, too. “I was impressed with the principal from InterAmerican Academy. He had a presence at the school and he offered additional training.” It was one of the schools that extended a job offer, so the next day she accepted the offer and signed a two-year teaching contract. “The principal has interviewed thousands of applicants and told me that I had interviewed like no one before.”

After some reflecting, she figures it was her ability to effectively communicate, speak to her strengths, and know what to do to grow and be successful that got her the job. “I had so much field experience, even by that time,” Lord says of Alverno’s student-teaching program. “I looked at my teaching experiences and spoke to them.”

Now in Ecuador, she is teaching middle school English and AP English literature classes. “I’m surprised I chose middle school, but I knew this was the right time for me to do this. If not now, when?”

Lord hopes by the end of her two years in Ecuador she will have the opportunity to travel and see more of South America. “This is a great opportunity. My grandparents were as excited as I was about this adventure.”