I have been changed by my travels and international experiences. Dedicating my career to helping thousands of people travel the world, I have also seen the positive impact it has had on so many others. How did I get here?
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Early international travel experiences
I first traveled abroad as part of an educational tour in high school to Paris and London. This trip fueled my desire to study abroad during university where I spent a semester in Australia. More than falling in love with the country and its accents, I grew so much during the time. Leaving home, I was lost as to what I wanted to do with my life. Returning home, I had a fire in my belly. I knew I wanted to help others have the same eye-opening experiences that travel and interactions with different cultures had for me.
Once I returned, I involved myself immediately with an organization on campus. Its goal was to help international students immerse in the American university culture both through social and other traditional activities. I enjoyed learning about their cultures and I was happy to share mine with them. My studies altered slightly to focus on business psychology and cross-cultural communications. At the time, I thought my dream career would be to become a cross-cultural trainer to aid in the success of American expats.
Finding a career that fulfilled my passion
When the time came to job search, I soon came across an opportunity to promote educational tours around the world to teachers and their students. I looked at the opportunity in this way. If I could engage a young person through travel to open their minds to different cultures, different ways of thinking and doing things, maybe my dream career (cross-cultural trainer) wouldn’t be needed in the future. I chased after this job opportunity for nearly a year. I was ecstatic when it finally worked out, a career opportunity that truly fed my passion.
Working incredibly hard to build my career with the company, I was inspired by the stories I would hear from teachers about the impact their trips had on themselves and their students. I was more inspired when I got to experience this firsthand when traveling with the students or leading conferences for our teachers. Another great perk, while I was able to play a role in changing the lives of 1000s of people, I was continuing to grow and learn through the global travels the company afforded me.
My Expat life
I found love on one of those work travels in Puerto Rico. An Italian colleague working in Switzerland. After two years of international dating, having dates in some incredible cities, and countless hours spent on Skype dates, I was able to fulfill another dream of working abroad. I transferred with my company to begin work on the logistics of the trips I had been promoting. It was great opportunity to work with international colleagues, travel extensively in the UK, and to get a better understanding of what it took to make those dreams come true for the students traveling for the first time on our tours. During this time, we tied the knot in in the rolling hills of Tuscany, just outside of Siena.
I did, however, miss the interactions with the teachers and students. So when the opportunity presented itself to promote a unique international business undergraduate program across Europe, I took it. My work environment grew even more international, with colleagues from all over the world, and I was able to work directly with students again. So many of these students left me in awe. Most spoke multiple languages with a thirst to learn more. Many had incredible international experiences which shaped how they viewed the world and what kind of impact they wanted to have on it.
Then, our family of two turned into three. At first, I tried to balance it all but it was too much to have two people with travel intensive jobs, especially given we do not live close to our families. I decided to take a break from my career to focus on my family and furthering my education. I enrolled in a part-time Executive MBA program in London. I traveled there once a month. I also took courses in Dubai and NYC. This program allowed me to work intensely with people from over 40 different nationalities. Every weekend was a lesson in cross-cultural communication.
Now that I have finished my MBA, I am focused on a couple of things. First, helping my little man see the world. In his 3 years, he has already experienced 13 countries. We have so much more to explore together! Next, I want to continue to inspire others to explore and experience our beautiful world.