I have always been in educational institutions; after I started kindergarten I just didn’t stop. After high school, I went to the University of Buenos Aires and studied philosophy. It wasn’t a liberal arts school like Dartmouth – I never took chemistry or any hard sciences, just six years of philosophy courses. I was also interested in journalism, which wasn’t offered at the University of Buenos Aires, so I began taking journalism classes at another small, exclusive college. Fortunately I didn’t need to have a job while I was studying and I was able to focus on my school work.
After completing degrees in philosophy and journalism I had several jobs teaching high school in psychology and the history of psychology at the University of Buenos Aires. I also worked for a short time as a sports radio journalist, covering soccer games. When I first discovered journalism as a student, I genuinely thought that it was what I was going to do for the rest of my life. It was something I really enjoyed and allowed me to develop the communication and journalism skills I had acquired in college. Then 2001, Argentina faced a massive economic crisis and I found myself completely unemployed. Later my mother also became unemployed, and our family’s financial health became fragile. It was so distant from just a few years earlier when my family supported me financially. I needed another way to earn a salary.
To support myself, I began teaching literature classes at a local high school. I had never studied literature seriously, but I my experience teaching philosophy certainly helped. During this time, my girlfriend, now my wife, met a professor from the University of Michigan who encouraged her to apply for their graduate program in Romance Languages. We both applied and were accepted, and decided to immigrate to the United States together. While I was excited for the opportunity, I realized the money I made teaching was not going to cover the cost of a plane ticket from Buenos Aires to Ann Arbor. To make this possible, I quit my teaching jobs, and delivered mail and cleaned toilets for a year. What a job experience!