Benjamin ChangBen Chang joined Nueva as an Upper School Spanish teacher. He holds a BA in American studies from Tufts University and an MA in Spanish language and culture from Middlebury College. While completing his degree in Madrid, Spain, Ben studied the symbolism of Republican propaganda during the Spanish Civil War and published a paper on the social messages of the work of 20th century Spanish playwright Antonio Buero Vallejo. After graduating from Middlebury, Ben lived and taught in Madrid for eight years. Since returning to the U.S., he has worked at Choate Rosemary Hall in Wallingford, CT, and Drew School in San Francisco, where he has taught Spanish, coached soccer and baseball, and served on faculty and student diversity and inclusion committees. In his free time, Ben enjoys traveling, playing soccer and golf, and cheering for his hometown Chicago Cubs.

1. How was living in Madrid?

Living in Madrid was one of the best experiences of my life. I moved there right after college and really built a life for myself, so it will always be a special place for me. After eight years I had lived in five different apartments in three different neighborhoods, and made friends from several different walks of life, so I really felt like part of the local community.


2. Is teaching in Madrid different from teaching at Nueva?

Yes and no. I had several teaching jobs during my time in Madrid, both in public and private schools. There are certainly some cultural differences when it comes to teaching practices and curricula, but in general terms I don’t think they’re that dissimilar. When I taught first grade in the Spanish schools the students would call me by my first name (which is not so different from Nueva), but when I taught at the American School I was “Mr. Chang.”


3. How did you end up at Nueva?

After leaving Madrid, I was working at a boarding school in Connecticut. My girlfriend had been living in Paris and was moving back to the U.S. San Francisco was on our short list of places to live, so we decided to give it a try.


4. Outside of Nueva, how do you like to spend your free time?

I like to spend my free time doing physical activity or relaxing at home. I like to exercise early in the morning before school starts. It really helps me start my days on the right foot. I love watching documentaries — anything to do with history or sports (or both), and I’ve recently started learning to bake. I like to cook, and my sister used to work as a private chef, so I’m excited about learning some new tricks.


5. If Nueva were a word in Spanish, which would it be? Why?

I have many Spanish words to describe Nueva, but if I had to choose one I think it would be “inenarrable,” which means “impossible to describe.”



 June 2, 2017



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