HOUSTON, Texas — He's more than 2000 miles from home at Aldine ISD's Ogden Elementary.
“I’m from Colombia,” said teacher Omar Yanguma.
His third ever trip to the United States may be three to five years long.
“I teach three subjects," said Yanguma. "English language arts, Spanish language arts, social studies.”
He’s one of 42 teachers from nine foreign countries screened and vetted by Aldine ISD to temporarily join the district using exchange visitor visas.
It's an effort expanded under Aldine ISD Talent Acquisition Director Lauren Petrea.
"It is very hard to find French teachers and also bilingual Spanish teachers," said Petrea. "And so we knew we had to target certain countries.”
Unlike other districts that may hire internationally, Aldine pairs foreign teachers with retired principals, known as ambassadors, who serve as mentors.
"We also help them find an apartment, we help them find furniture, items that they need," said Petrea. "We help them get a car.”
International teachers also provide cultural insight to Aldine's diverse student body while improving their craft.
"And I think this is a great opportunity to advance my goals as a teacher," said Yanguma. "To help students and, of course, help my Colombia students when I come back to my home country.”