This is a particularly meaningful feature for myself and my family. This weeks Worldschooler of the Week is Yulia Berezovskaya and she and her family are the first people that we met entirely through Worldschooler Connect. We built this site to connect families like ours all over the world and all we really wanted to do was meet cool people and make real connections, so for us the site is already a success. Yulia has been traveling and worldschooling her two daughters for a couple of years and are currently living in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. Without further ado, 8 questions with Yulia Berezovskaya.
How long have you been traveling?
Me and my 2 daughters (12 and 11 yo) have been traveling for the last three years, since 2014.
At that point I was completely burned out at work, quit my job and was looking for alternative ways to give myself and my children the kind of lifestyle that served us best – physically, emotionally and educationally. I believed it was my duty to provide them a healthy environment and a nurturing education, so I worked hard to be able to afford fresh organic foods, an international school and seasonal trips abroad.
It turned out that when we started worldschooling the quality of our lives increased 10 times with an income that decreased 5. This is the magic of reverse equations you get into when you flip your world. I also learned that there is a dramatic gap between a short term and a long term travel. You are making just as much financial and emotional investment for a 2 week long trip as you do when you are moving abroad, although a long term move lets you immensely cut down your expenses and learn a lot by getting under the skin of local culture.
It was not easy for me to take that leap without a strong financial security net. These were my beliefs that I needed a lot of money to travel that was holding me back. It changed one day when we had a couchsurfer at our home in the Ukraine… from UK… by… bicycle…on this way to India… Ben stayed with us for about 5 days, showed breathtaking pictures, shared fascinating stories and told us about visiting 120 countries on a budget of about 700 pounds… a year. This is when my constricting convictions started to crack and crumble and out leaked my self doubt. Six months later I was on the plane with 2 children, who were not as excited about it at first as I was on the way to our most beautiful experiences.
What kind of schooling do you do?
Before we started traveling the girls switched from attending a local international school to an American online school called International Connections Academy. They studied there for 2 years while our blue google maps location dot was plying the world from Ukraine to Hong Kong, Bali, Singapore, Israel, USA and Mexico. It was thanks to this school that they learned many new digital skills and how to study on their own. They were international students, so we had to pay for this school, although it is free for some US citizens, whose states are paying for it.
This year after we moved to Mexico, the girls started attending an amazing local Waldorf school, that they love so much, that on Fridays they can’t wait until Mondays. Yay!
We have also always been supplementing school education with different after-school activities, such as sports, arts and languages.
What is your native cultures thought on world travel?
I personally have met just a couple of Russian speaking families who worldschool, although there are huge Russian speaking communities living in Asia, but mostly families with young children. It is the school issue, financial worries and a language barrier that I suppose keeps most people within their country borders. Here in San Miguel de Allende, I am Russian #7.
What is one travel hack you would pass on to fellow travelers?
One travel hack that I would like to pass on to fellow travelers is to take your time to do your homework. It takes me 3-6 months to study where exactly to take that big next step to. Talking to worldschoolers, reading blogs and forums, joining local homeschooling / unschooling community groups helps you learn where would be the most nourishing place for you to settle depending on your values. Do not be shy about contacting bloggers or sending personal messages to people you haven’t met, chances are you will most probably be met with a warm welcome. It was thanks to Brandon and Jennifer Pearce who agreed to meet up with me in Bali and shared a lot of treasures and advice that we landed so comfortably there. It was due to their replies, advice of my friends and several Russian people living in Mexico, who I was stalking on Facebook that we ended up living in a perfect place for us.
What does the term worldschooling mean to you?
Worldschooling for me means growing spiritually, emotionally, culturally and intellectually while living long term in fascinating places and meeting new very, very dear friends along the way. When we lived in Ubud, Bali Brie Lamer’s and Bjorn Leonard’s family felt like our own immediate relatives. When we traveled across USA staying with Rozlyn Sturtevant and Laura Willon made it a very fun trip. Here in Mexico having met many worldschooling families through Worldschooler Connect makes us feel connected to a big and beautiful tribe. Just makes us feel connected. It feels so warm and nice.
What words do you live by?
Respect and gratitude. Meet all the people, cultures and countries you travel to with much respect and gratitude.
Do you consider yourselves rebels?
I might consider myself rebel in a sense that I dared to make an escape from the well known lifestyle that was not serving me well into the unknown world that is so generously unfolding for me and my family.
Where can people find you?
I can be found on Facebook, in “Worldschoolers” group, that I am deeply grateful to, and in a little pink pin on Worldschooler Connect that is now showing us living in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico and will be later moving to Oaxaca and Guatemala.
Find Worldschoolers near you all over the globe for play dates, meet ups and adventure. Create a profile today and add your current location to our map. Direct message families near you to connect. Worldschooler Connect!