Americans are really proud. Proud of who they are, proud of where they live and proud of what they do. They also want to share it to others, which creates a very strong community spirit. This is very interesting for me as a French exchange student, because it is considered very haughty to be proud in France. Let me illustrate this thought with three examples!
I’ve been traveling internationally for the past 10 years and one question that I’m consistently asked is “how can you afford it?” As a full time student and restaurant server paying her own way in life, most people cannot understand how I could whisk off on an extended vacation every summer. Well, the answer lies in the bag of tricks I’ve accumulated along the way and below are a few of my best tips!
Ahhhhh … inner city transport. Most people describe this means of transportation as: crowded, loud, smelly and at least once a week a drug addict will be itching to explain the ways of the universe to you. But I adore my underground journeys for two reasons.
I thought before I came to Quito that I would have to step back in the closet. My biggest fear was not travelling to a new country and learning a new culture, but it was the unknown of how the people would accept and perceive me. One week after arriving, I realized that you cannot have the experience of a lifetime if you are not true to who you are.
Interning abroad is a completely different experience than studying abroad, obviously. You can’t hide in the back of the lecture hall because you’re bored or slightly hung over. You will be constantly kicking yourself for not having paid more attention in second year German. You will be giving your best efforts to produce quality work by another culture’s standards (most likely for free). You’re handed tasks that range from doing dishes to doing things beyond your job title, often resulting in confusion and anxiety. However, if the first week jitters subside and your internship is falling short of your expectations, it helps to know how to turn the tables in your favor.
In an interview for a marketing position many years ago, I asked my prospective employer, “Whether or not I receive this position, what do you think it takes to succeed in this field?” His response was one that I have always carried in the forefront of my work ethic. He said, “Whatever you do, always think five steps ahead. If you think you have a great idea, you should already be thinking of the next one … always think in terms of the future.”
It’s been one week since I landed in Quito – the capital city of Ecuador which is nestled 9,000 feet high in the Andes at the foothill of Pichincha Volcano. Since the moment I arrived, Quito felt like home; there is an air of familiarity here and I cannot seem to unravel why. It just feels as if I was always meant to be here.
A month into living in Costa Rica is as good a time as any to explain why I’m here and to give my initial impressions.
I am doing an 8-month internship for Global Leadership Adventures (GLA). GLA is a B Corporation based in San Diego and that sends high school students from around the world on service learning trips in Asia, Africa, Latin America and Europe. B Corps are like the meeting point between a non-profit and a tradition corporation, they use business as a tool to solve social and environmental issues. Continue reading “Working My Way Through Costa Rica”
I embarked on my journey to Madrid in mid-January and, although leaving my friends and family was a little bittersweet, that feeling was soon overtaken by the excitement of what the next few days had to offer.
Right away I could tell I was in a foreign, yet familiar place when I got into the city and saw the vibrant life that filled the streets. There are these towering modern buildings right next to historic older establishments coexisting along with the masses of people walking up and down the streets off to their various destinations. People are chatting along and filling up the shops and cafes as they go about their day. Continue reading “Siestas and City Life”