When Todd Curro decided to leave the University of Maine a month after he was initiated into Lambda Chi Alpha, he was unsure if he would ever return. Curro thought it was best for himself to continue his education at a nearby technical college.
But the following spring, Curro received a call from the High Alpha, saying they wanted him to return to help build the colony into the Beta chapter it is today. A little hesitant at first, Curro finally agreed, and says that decision has helped shape the rest of his life.
“When I got up there, I realized I really missed being a part of the colony (Curro was a part of the recolonization efforts of the Beta chapter), and that I really belonged not only at the University of Maine, but as a member of the Maine colony,” said Curro.
From there, Curro’s confidence skyrocketed. He became the sole author of of the chartering petition to restore the colony to a chapter. Through his undergraduate experience in Lambda Chi Alpha, Curro says he learned how to become an effective leader, but most importantly, learned how to be independent.
Following graduation from Maine, Curro felt as though he was meant for something bigger and wanted to see the world. In an effort to fulfill his sense of adventure, Curro traveled to South Korea, where he stayed for 11 years teaching English as a second language.
Curro knew he had found his calling through the opportunity to teach and give back, but he still felt as though he could give back even more.
“I realized that I really needed to do a little more,” said Curro. “So, I went back to school and got my Master’s of Education. Soon after I graduated with my Master’s, I accepted a position here in Saudi Arabia teaching in an international school.”
Curro has now been teaching the fifth grade since 2012 and has even been promoted to lead teacher in the grade level. Even though the school is international, many of the students are Saudi Arabian. Through his time teaching, Curro has also completed a doctorate in education. His dissertation focused on the phenomenon of Saudi children who have lived outside of the Middle East for an extended period of time and what challenges they may face when they return home, such as reverse culture shock.
As one might assume, there has been somewhat of a learning curve for Curro as he adjusted to living in Saudi Arabia. He says that there are certain things that Americans take for granted that very much surprised him. One such example, according to Curro, is having to be aware of when you go shopping, since businesses close five times a day for prayer.
But while there have been minor changes to his lifestyle, Curro says he cannot imagine being anywhere else in his career or life. Curro admits he was somewhat nervous when he first decided to make the move, but he has held onto the lessons he learned all those years ago in Lambda Chi.
“I think it is always valuable for people to see as much of the world as they can,” said Curro. “There is a saying that goes, ‘Travel is fatal to all prejudice.’ I think a lot of people in North America misunderstand what Saudi people are like. Even myself, before I came, I was a little nervous.”
These nerves quickly faded as soon as Curro began teaching and realized that people truly are not that different from one another.
Curro says that he wishes to continue teaching but also welcomes the idea of branching out on his own. He hopes to start leading seminars across Saudi Arabia concerning the findings in his research. It is his goal to help implement programs that are designed to help students assimilate into their home country of Saudi Arabia as quickly and painlessly as possible after being away.
Curro has come a long way from the man who almost did not return to the University of Maine or to Lambda Chi. But now, he knows that his life took the turn it was always meant to.
“Through my membership in Lambda Chi, I learned to value the idea of diversity,” said Curro. “This has helped me immeasurably over the years that I have spent living and traveling around the world.
“People tend to have many of the same goals in life, regardless of what they look like or where they are from. At least at the Beta chapter, we were a pretty diverse group, with brothers from all different backgrounds and with different interests, yet all shared the common bond of brotherhood.”
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