I’m not rich, and my parents never had passports until this year. I got my first passport when I was 20.
Here’s how I was able to live and work in India, Spain, China, and Vietnam.
India has a special place in my heart. I lived there from January – April 2012. I can’t explain it, but India opened my eyes. It was completely different from anything I experienced in the United States…everything was new…
The food, the traffic, the people, the music…everything.
I lived in Chennai with three other American girls. Besides the four of us, there were few “westerners” I met during my time there. I spent each day with the locals. Spending so much time with my Indian classmates gave me an intimate look at the culture…a view I might not have experienced if I did not have this opportunity.
In addition to my classes, I interned at Women in Need (WIN). WIN is a non-profit focused on helping domestic violence survivors and homeless women and children. I got this opportunity through my study abroad program.
While I was at WIN, I shadowed my supervisor who is a lawyer. I interviewed the domestic violence survivors and learned about spousal abuse in the Indian context. I tutored English and also led presentations about hygiene, alcohol abuse, and other health issues.
My study abroad program also took me and my American roommates to different cities in India. I went to the Taj Mahal, rode an elephant in Kerala, and visited the temples in southern India.
My semester in India (including the excursions) was the same price as if I would have stayed on campus. It didn’t cost me anything extra and I won a scholarship to go.
India was one of the best times of my life. It encouraged me to go to Spain.
When I graduated from college in 2013, my sole objective was to learn Spanish. So, I booked a one-way ticket to Madrid and taught English.
In the classroom, I assisted the teacher. Occasionally I made presentations about American culture.
I found this opportunity through an English teaching program in Spain.
I spent 16 hours per week in the classroom and got paid 1,000 euros a month.
For being straight out of college, and wanting to travel the world, it was a sweet gig.
While in Spain, I traveled to Portugal, Morocco (twice), the Sahara Desert, and spent a week in Italy.
After Spain, I worked in China. I found this job through my friend who was my classmate in college.
I worked at this small company that focused on international exchanges. My friend’s husband knew a girl that worked with the CEO.
In Chengdu, I wrote a lot for the company. I was the English-speaking point of contact. I helped draft memorandums of understanding (MOU’s) between the business and universities around the world. I also created presentations for the students studying overseas.
I worked long hours while I was in China. But, I did have a chance to visit the pandas in Chengdu and the Great Wall of China.
So, if you’re paying attention to my dates, you’ll notice there is a four-year gap between the time I spent in China until now.
Between that time, I was figuring out my life.
I spent time working in a study abroad office. It was amazing!
I also applied for the Rangel fellowship and got it! In 2017, I interned in the Senate as apart of my fellowship.
However, this year, I had the privilege of interning at the U.S. Embassy in Vietnam. I worked in the Public Affairs Section.
It was life-changing. I was treated like a first-tour officer. I did a lot of presentations in the American Center, prepared for visits for senior-level officials, and created content for the embassy’s social media.
I also traveled throughout southeast Asia. I went to Cambodia, Thailand, the Philippines, and Indonesia. I explored northern Vietnam as well.
Summer 2018 was a transformative experience.
Well. There you have it. That’s how I was able to live and work overseas.
I wanted to share my “travel story” to encourage someone out there. I want to let you know it’s possible. If I can do it, you definitely can too. Getting to each stage wasn’t pretty, but looking back, each experience was invaluable. Each moment developed me as a person, and I learned about myself and the world.