I work at ITA as an Admissions Advisor.
I was born and raised in a small town which often brought out an urge for me to discover what the rest of the world had to offer. I constantly sought out travel opportunities or the chance to spend time with people from other countries; whether it was by joining a language exchange event or hanging out with international students.
My biggest travel abroad experience began after college when I moved to Madrid for what turned out to be a four-year-long stint abroad. Despite having already studied abroad twice in Spain, I still couldn’t kick my obsession with this country, and I felt like I need one last giant “hurrah” with Spain to get it out of my system. What I found during this long-term experience living abroad was a sense of independence and confidence in my ability to conquer any challenges that came my way. Moving to a new country isn’t easy, especially when your decision to make the move as a solo act means that it will be completely up to you to solve any trials and hardships that come your way! But none of that compares to how rewarding it is to form friendships with people from all over the world who will eventually feel like family to you, while also creating your own travel stories that will eventually help you inspire friends to embark on their own travel adventures!
I am from Hamilton, MI. I went to Grand Valley State University and I graduated with a double major in Public Relations and Spanish.
I became slightly addicted to Spain and Spanish culture in college. I spent my spring semester in my sophomore year on study abroad in Malaga, Spain. I then returned to Spain (this time to Madrid) for a summer internship before starting my senior year of college. My last live abroad experience in Spain began with a 1 year teaching abroad contract that turned into a four-year stint living and working in Madrid.
England, Spain, Portugal, France, Ireland, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Italy, Austria, Slovakia, Poland, Turkey, Cuba and the Dominican Republic.
When I was in high school, I went on a three-week-long student exchange to London with some classmates. The benefit of this experience is that it was led by our teachers who made sure that we didn't miss any important steps when planning for the trip. The trip preparation was smooth and seamless and set a great first impression of how well a trip abroad can be run. The teachers also organized an EPIC itinerary for us that mixed sightseeing with hanging out with local students who were our own age. The great thing was that spending time with the other students who lived there made us realize just how much one can have in common with someone who's been raised thousands of miles away.
When I did my college summer internship in Madrid, I had run my funds pretty much dry by the end of the summer, but I still wanted to cram one more trip in before returning to the USA. A friend of mine who was in the same financial shoes as me asked if I would make a low budget four hour journey to the beach town of Valencia, Spain with her. I quickly accepted and we booked a ticket on the cheapest bus line available and left Madrid at 2am, arriving to Valencia at 6am. Once we were in Valencia, we walked almost two hours to the beach (since we didn’t want to spend money on a bus or taxi), went to sleep on the beach for a couple hours, and then spent literally the whole day there just lounging out and walking around the beach area of the town. We had packed some food to take along so that we only had to buy one meal in Valencia. We then headed back to Madrid at 2am the next day, arriving back to Madrid at 6am. Despite the sleep deprivation, we were pretty proud of ourselves for traveling across the country on a beach excursion that ended up costing us about 35 euros. And then we returned to our home countries the following week.
Oh my goodness, I have WAY TOO MANY. But if I had to pick my absolute favorites, it’d have to be the following: Italian for the amazing pizza and gelato, German for all the hearty comfort foods, and Belgian for their waffles alone.
I love being surrounded by colleagues who have traveled the world, and I am constantly fascinated by their stories. Each one of them has mastered their expertise on different parts of the world and if there’s ever a certain country I’m interested in going to, I know that at least one of my colleagues will be able to give me advice about what to do there. I also find that I spend a lot of time encouraging people to go abroad, so it nice to get to do this for my profession too.
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