- 16 Jul 2021 4:48 PM
She received her education degree from the University of Missouri- Columbia in 2012. Melissa taught Grade 2 in Chiang Mai, Thailand from 2013-2017 before moving to Hungary and joining ISB in 2017.
At ISB, Melissa has taught Grades 1-4. Additionally, she became the Curriculum Coordinator in the Elementary department, working with all the grade groups aiding in lesson planning and curriculum implementation. In her free time, Melissa enjoys travelling and exploring new places, outdoor activities, reading and cooking.
1. When did you arrive in Hungary and what brought you here?
I came to Hungary because of the Grade 2 Homeroom teaching position I accepted at ISB. I arrived in August of 2017, prior to the school year starting, to set up my new life in Europe!
2. Have you ever been an expatriate elsewhere?
I graduated from university in the United States and left for what I thought would be a six-month to one-year teaching opportunity in Chiang Mai, Thailand. I ended up staying for five years! It was there that I learned more about international schools and how I could combine my passion for education with my love of traveling.
3. What surprised you most about Hungary?
How extremely well positioned it is with its seven land borders! I grew up in Middle America, so I’m used to being landlocked. I’ve loved being able to explore the surrounding countries and the different parts of Hungary itself.
4. Friends are in Budapest for a weekend - what must they absolutely see and do?
I enjoy the thermal baths, ruin pubs, Margaret Island, Central Market Hall, and how easily walkable the city is, with something unique around every corner! But one thing I enjoy showing guests the most is the Embankment at night, with Buda Castle, Fisherman’s Bastion and Parliament lit up; there is nothing more magical.
5. What is your favourite Hungarian food?
Goose leg with red cabbage, stuffed cabbage rolls and cucumber salad are my top three favourites.
6. What is never missing from your refrigerator?
7. What is your favourite Hungarian word?
Cukrászda—there are so many delicious cakes and treats to try!
8. What do you miss most from home?
Currently it is who I miss the most from home, which is my family and friends. I haven’t been able to get back to the States since July 2019.
9. What career other than yours would you love to pursue?
I just finished a two-day “Start Yachting” course and thoroughly enjoyed learning how a sailboat works and would love to see where that could take me! It combines two of my favourite things—the sea and travel.
10. What's a job you would definitely never want?
Anything where I’d have to sit in a cubicle and stare at a computer all day. I enjoy teaching because no two days are the same. Days spent with primary students are always highly entertaining!
11. Where did you spend your last vacation?
I am lucky to currently be spending my summer holiday in Malta.
12. Where do you hope to spend your next holiday?
In America with my family and friends.
13. Apart of temptation what can't you resist?
Going out for meals, especially trying new cuisines. My dad is a chef which has led me to being very adventurous in trying new foods!
14. What was your favourite band, film, or hobby as a teen?
I was a competitive distance runner in high school, competing on both the cross country and track teams. I also ran a half marathon in university! I now enjoy running through Városliget, which is close to my flat.
15. Red wine or white?
White or Rosé
16. Book or movie?
Book. The best part of my commute is being able to read a bit before and after school—
it helps me to relax and get ready for or unwind from the day.
17. Morning person or night person?
Morning person, I’m usually asleep by 21:00!
18. Which social issue do you feel most strongly about?
The social-emotional wellbeing of students. I think it’s extremely important to encourage students’ growth mindset, instill confidence, allow them to make mistakes to grow, achieve through persistence and teach students how to believe in themselves.
19. Buda or Pest side?
I love teaching in Buda—we’re so lucky we’ve got such a beautiful campus in the forest. But I love the business and city feel of Pest.
20. What would you say is your personal motto?
I read about this story in book earlier this year and it has stuck with me:
Kintsukuroi is a kind of Japanese ceramic style. The word means “to repair with gold.” In the Kintsukuroi tradition, when a ceramic piece breaks, an artisan will fuse the pieces back together using liquid gold or gold-dusted lacquer. So rather than being covered up, the breaks become more obvious, and a new piece of art emerges from the brokenness.
Kintsukuroi embraces flaws and imperfection, but also teaches the essence of resilience. Every crack in a ceramic piece is part of its history, and each piece becomes more beautiful because it has been broken.