Written by USAC study abroad alumni Mariah.
A shy two years after studying abroad in Bilbao, Spain in 2014, I found myself boarding a plane again – this time alone – starting my next adventure of a lifetime. But this time was different. Instead of being fueled by an apprehensive curiosity of the unknown, I was confident, courageous and ready to include three more European countries to my list of ‘Places I’ve Visited’. Hearing the flight attendant’s British accent while boarding my direct flight to London made me even more anxious to land and get to work. Work? Who’s excited to go to work?
As my college graduation date got closer, our career fairs became more frequent, and it became more apparent that the ideal jobs after college were going to be something I wasn’t going to favor. I had just spent an amazing semester in Spain, and knew that the traditional workplace wasn’t going to be my future. Can’t I just continue to travel my whole life? I found myself reading Buzzfeed and Huffington Post articles of “How to Quit Your Job and Travel Forever,” but knew they wouldn’t be realistic. Unless…
Unless I got a job in the travel industry! I was lucky enough to start working for Authentic Ireland, a travel company and tour operator for Ireland, Scotland and England. Although I currently work in our US office, I travel to these countries to record on-site videography and photography of our tours and travel packages (which you can see here). This job was exactly what I had hoped I could accomplish coming out of college, and would have never been a reality without my experiences with USAC and studying abroad.
Did I mention we are also currently giving away two FREE trips to Ireland, and you can enter to win here on our blog. (Winner announced St. Patrick’s Day 2016!)
Studying abroad changed my life. And not in a way that I can even explain today, but it has shaped who I am. It made me more confident in what I do, more appreciative of my family, friends and home country and most importantly more driven to learn about cultures around the world. I would have never thought to ‘think out of the box’ and stray away from the normal post-graduate employer. Studying abroad made me understand that I loved sharing the immense joy that I experienced abroad through making videos, which has led me to my post-graduate career. So thank you USAC (and Bilbao), for helping me become who I am today! 😀