Alycia did not learn much geography growing up. She recalls her brother teasing her when she had to memorize the countries that made up the former Soviet Union and Yugoslavia, because he had 7th grade Social Studies before the fall of communism but not much else. She tried to fill in the blanks with outdated almanacs, Seventeen magazines, and kindly interrogating foreign exchange students. These embarrassing exchanges completely reinforced the stereotype that Americans have no clue about the rest of the world and Alycia knew she had to get out of South Jersey. After graduating from Rowan University with a History degree, she lived in Wisconsin and Philadelphia, where a friend said she would make an excellent ex-pat. This comment, along with the Great Recession, led to a move to Chile to teach English at an elementary school in Patagonia. Three hours by bus from the nearest airport or mall, Alycia knew she wasn't in the Delaware Valley anymore!
Upon returning to Philadelphia after shorter stints in California and Kentucky, Alycia focused on helping immigrants and refugees adjust to their new homes, remembering how isolated she sometimes felt while living abroad. From adult English to after school homework help to kitchen tutoring, she has been fortunate to build relationships with her students and learn about their countries and cultures.
When Alycia is not presenting programs or planning trips to visit her best friends in Indonesia and Appalachia, she is usually at home reading, baking, or cutting up fabric and paper with her husband in South Philadelphia.