From France to Boise - The Many Paths to Learning


by Matt Roesch, PTECH Coach

Moving is tough! And I should know, I’ve done it enough in my life. The first time I remember moving was in high school when my parents decided to move our family across town during the first big snow storm of the season. The power went out all over town, including in our new home, so as a family we made the best of it by lighting candles and unpacking the board games first. The physical aspect of the move was complicated by the snow and the lack of power, but we all knew that moving to a bigger house with more space was for the best.

Other moves followed similar storylines: physically demanding moments giving way to formative adventures. I moved across the state of Ohio for university, then moved to the big city of Chicago. Another return to school took me to Athens, Georgia, and yet another move gave me the chance to live in the eastern part of France for a year (Vagney, France, in the Lorraine region). After that adventure, I moved back to Ohio to pursue a PhD (where once again I moved to France – this time Rennes, in the Brittany region – late in my studies for research); and with the purchase of a house, a union with my beautiful wife, the acquisition of a dog, and the culmination of years of study, I assumed that I had learned enough and matured enough and that settling down in Columbus, OH was a foregone conclusion.

Matt and his wife, Annagiulia

Matt and his wife, Annagiulia

And I didn’t think that was unreasonable. Previous moves had the intention of helping me grow as an individual and as a professional, and so the short-lived physical demands of packing and transporting were dissipated by the reward for my personal wellbeing. Moreover, I believed that years of study, dedication, and hard work in a doctoral program had put an end to displacement and continual learning and growth – but life is funny.

This latest move from Ohio to Idaho was the most physically-demanding yet and it required the most patience, calm, and reflection of any move in my life. My whole being was affected: my body was sore, my spirit was tired, my emotions were spent, and my mind was overwhelmed. What pushed me through that trying time, and what still keeps me motivated to this day, was the goal that I kept in mind – having a direct impact on students’ lives – and the knowledge that I was joining a wonderful team – Idaho PTECH – who understood how to make that happen.

Only a unique organization like Idaho PTECH could have enticed me to further change my situational comfort and better comprehend that life is one continuous learning adventure.

As a Coach, I will bring an understanding of life’s complexities, an appreciation for the student’s viewpoint, a diverse cultural perspective, as well as years of actual experience teaching and advising students to the team, and I will put that knowledge to immediate use by helping students develop their soft skills (time management, effective communication, adaptability, teamwork) and by helping them explore their career options in an open and accepting atmosphere.

If moving across the country was the only obstacle to having an impact, then I’m glad I moved and can now call Boise, Idaho my home.

Gina Borud