MIF is has partnered with academic institutions and companies to bring you a variety of locations from which to select. Our goal is to find the best matched location for each of our candidates to thrive in. Below are some of our featured destination although more locations are available.
Status: currently open for Fall 2018 placement
The city of Changshu is located in Jiangsu Province, and part of the jurisdiction of Suzhou. It has a long history beginning in 540 AD, nowadays displaying characteristics of its development into a prosperous modern city, but also those of an older, developing China. Living and working in Changshu gives an expat a perspective on China's past, present and future. The most striking feature of Changshu is Yu Mountain, rising high above the flat Yangzi River plain. Yu Mountain Park is crisscrossed with hiking paths, tea fields, ancient temples such as the Xinfu Temple, an ancient Buddhist Monastery tucked away on the slopes of the mountain. The mountain and park cover a huge area to the west of the city, and features excellent views of the sprawling city skyline below. The city also features a maze of waterways, with two sizeable lakes and small villages just outside the city, perfect for a curious expat.
Founder & President
“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world” - Nelson Mandela
As the son of a Colombian Ambassador, Will spent his childhood divided between four different continents: Australia, North America, South America and Asia. It was this unique mix of cultures and experiences that shaped Will’s passion for bringing cross cultural understanding to the world. To this experience and passion, Will added a BA in education from North Park University and an M.B.A. from Aspen University. Uniquely armed with education, experience and passion, Will has developed an organization capable of bringing true peace and understanding between the most diverse cultures.
Previously, as a member of Gallup’s educational team, Will worked skillfully to apply their Behavioral Economics blueprint; which he used methodically to develop and improve educational opportunities in over 170 U.S. school districts. This endeavor improved the lives of thousands of students while consistently placing Will as a top performer in key measures of success by simultaneously growing multiple company’s financial metrics by over 300%.
After spending years in US based educational consulting, Will had a desire to incorporate the International passion back into his life, which led him into hosting international exchange students here in the U.S. While enjoying the benefits of many deep international friendships and hearing both the joys and struggles of students, Will and his wife Stephanie, decided to officially open My International Family. Now they enjoy setting students up for successful cross-cultural experiences and being available to help encourage and support international relationships. When not spending time at MIF, Will enjoys spending time with his own family, friends, and doggies?
"The stranger sees only what he knows" — African proverb
As the Office Manager at MIF, Stephanie is the clocksmith that keeps our day to day operations ticking smoothly and on time.
Born and raised in the suburbs of Washington, DC by a linguist mother and father who worked in government, Stephanie had the privilege of being immersed from a young age in the museums and political institutions of the nation’s capital. She attended a magnet Science & Technology high school program before moving to Chicago to attend college.
Stephanie graduated Magna Cum Laude from North Park University with a double major in History and English Literature where her love for cultural studies was nurtured by classes such as Mexican History, Scandinavian Studies, and Race in Literature. She spent a summer studying sociology at the University of Chicago and another studying Spanish at a local community college.
Stephanie has been fortunate enough to travel abroad for leisure and service and has been most impacted by her travels to Bolivia, the Philippines, and Italy. When not busy at the office you will find her taking weekend trips with her loving fiancé, Mike.
"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrowmindedness" – Mark Twain
Jessica Yee could be our poster child for international education. Her personal experience and growth are what we hope to bring to each and every one of our clients. Originally born and raised in Chicago, Jessica attended La Salle Language Academy and Lane Tech College Prep. Both prestigious National Blue Ribbon Schools; demonstrating the highest level of academic achievement. It was through La Salle Language Academy that Jessica joined the Chicago Children’s Choir. The choir, founded out of the Civil Rights Movement played a pivotal role in growing Jessica’s love for classical music, travel and social justice.
After earning her undergraduate degree, Jessica spent a year teaching English in China at Beijing University and then at a nationally recognized international school in Shenzhen. Realizing her passion for education, Jessica moved to the UK for five years where she began work on her MA in Education. Through work and school, Jessica has visited 19 countries and lived with dozens of host families.
It is through her wealth of international experience that she is able to bring empathy and compassion, grounded in pragmatism, to her role at My International Family. In her spare time, Jessica enjoys spending time with her family, visiting museums and local nature reserves. And as a valued team member, Jessica enjoys contributing to My International Family as a Regional Coordinator and developing our teaching abroad program.
“If you really want to make a friend, go to someone’s house & eat with him… the people who give you their food give you their heart” -Cesar Chavez
Bucky’s love of culture came from his love of food! Growing up in Louisiana, Bucky was raised on gumbos, etouffees and crawfish boils. Moving to Chicago, shortly after high school, opened his mind, and his palate, to an entire world of flavors and people. Like many contemporary recipes, My International Family specializes in fusion. We make something new and amazing out of things and people that wouldn’t necessarily be together without purposeful thought, expertise, and a sense of adventure.
As the Outreach Coordinator, Bucky’s part in this recipe comes from a lifetime of experience in education. With an undergraduate degree in music education, he has taught musicianship at the Music Institute of Chicago, DePaul University, OLPH School, as well as a number Suzuki Institutes across the U.S. After seven years as a music teacher, Bucky decided to go back to school for his masters in school administration. In that role, Bucky served as a school administrator for nearly a decade at the largest Catholic School in the Archdiocese of Chicago. It was during that tenure that he published his first children’s book…which was based on a personal family experience.
Because education is both a hobby and a calling of Bucky’s, he went back to school in 2006 where he received a third degree from the Moody Theological Seminary. This degree allows him to combine his calling and his passion through ministry to the Northside of Chicago. Currently Bucky serves, in a part-time capacity, as a Pastor and Program Director for Northside Community Tutors where he coordinates qualified volunteers to help struggling and disadvantaged students in the Chicago Public School System.
Although Bucky is no longer in the music world, it continues to be a passion of his. He has supplied background vocals for a couple of recently released albums…and still enjoys singing with his beautiful and talented wife, Maria.
Director of Social Media
I have never let my schooling interfere with my education” - Mark Twain
Elizabeth grew up overseas with her parents and 5 siblings. Growing up in an international community allowed her to see the world through a multi-cultural lens. From a young age Elizabeth began working alongside her parents at an English camp in the suburbs of Tokyo where she eventually oversaw the kids’ summer camps program and taught English.
After finishing her culinary studies at the Apicius Culinary Institute in Florence, Italy, Elizabeth moved to the United States and began working in the culinary field before eventually making her way to Chicago to work at MIF.
Elizabeth remains a big foodie and continues to explore the world through flavors and food. On any given weekend you can find her at foodie gatherings throughout Chicago, in her local community garden, walking the beaches of Lake Michigan beach combing, taking her two dogs on bike rides or to the nature preserves for walks in the woods.
At work, coffee keeps her going. She loves the opportunity her job has given her to work with the international community on a daily basis. It allows her to feel “at home” while living here in the US.
“Love fiercely while holding loosely" – Unknown
Stephanie Mejia comes to the table with quite an international story of her own. Born in Canada to American natives, Stephanie has dual citizenship between the two countries. Additionally, she spent most of her childhood in Asia where her parents served in the mission field. Currently Stephanie resides in Chicago with her Colombian husband and four children, two foster children, one dog and four grand dogs.
Stephanie holds a bachelor’s degree in Bible and Elementary Education from Prairie Bible College and has taught ESL classes to both children and adults since 1997. Wishing to provide their children with a global perspective, Stephanie and her husband chose to welcome international students into their home over the past 10+ years and to date have hosted over 160 students from 4 continents for varying lengths of time (2 weeks to 2 years). Stephanie’s international background coupled with her communication and natural empathy bring a richness to her role as Regional Coordinator that carries great value to the MIF team. In her infrequent spare time with the puppies and children, Stephanie enjoys cooking, reading, coffee with friends, and leisurely strolls on sunny days.