Due to technical difficulties in Turkey, I’m having to go a bit off script for this Abroad Blog of the Week. I thought about highlighting a few blogs that I’m following but I would rather just make them an ABOW in the future. So when a friend suggested that I interview myself, I decided to take her advice. If you’re new to Global from Home, I am study abroad advisor who has decided to seek as much international culture as possible within 30 miles of my front door. If you’ve been reading for a while (thank you!), here a few facts I haven’t shared before.
What is the best part of being a study abroad advisor?
I love hanging out with students, hearing their adventures, and listening to them as they figure out their path and plans. There is something about the age bracket of 18 to 22 that I find energizing. Their lives are so dynamic and they have so many options and decisions to make. Plus the students I’ve worked with are incredibly creative and motivated. They amaze me daily and inspire me in so many ways. They are what make me want to go to work every day. Now that I’m currently not working in an office, they are what I miss the most.
If you could do it all over again, would you still have studied abroad in Italy?
Yes! As an Italian Studies major, Italy was really the only thing that made sense. Because I was so focused on the language and I went three times, I felt that I became acquainted with an Italy different from many study abroad students. It wasn’t so much about seeing the Coliseum or visiting the Vatican, but rather living like an Italian that was so important to me. The one thing I would change is that I would have gone for longer. I really wish I had lived in Rome for a full year.
How did you come up with the idea of Global from Home?
This past May I found myself a bit frustrated. I hadn’t been abroad in over three years and in all honesty, I was mad about it. Hubby’s job was really intense so he had little vacation time and because we had moved so much in the past three years, going abroad really wasn’t an option. I finally realized that I needed to stop complaining and look at what was around me. Living in San Diego at the time, international culture abounded. I thought that if I started a blog it would keep me accountable to seeking out culture. The blog has made me more intentional about going to festivals, cooking ethnic food, and building relationships with people from around the globe who just happen to live in my hometown.
Now that you’re in Oklahoma, what are your plans?
That is a bit up in the air but I have some thoughts. I do plan to keep up with Global from Home and continue to explore international cultures from OKC. I’m also applying for the PhD program at the University of Oklahoma in Higher Education with hopes to research the study abroad returnee experience. Currently I’m meeting with study abroad offices in the area to talk about starting a study abroad returnee conference. And finally, I’d like to start a Meet Up for people who enjoy exploring other cultures like I do. But in the end, I’m open to anything that comes my way that will allow me to help students have their own international experience.
What advice would you give someone who wants to be global from home?
Food is probably the easiest way to start being global from home. Google authentic recipes from a country you are interested in and try to make them. Research ethnic restaurants in your area and order the most traditional dish on the menu. Other easy ways to explore culture are to look for cultural festivals. The Greek Festival and Oktoberfest are pretty common ones to start with. If you are a reader, internationalize your reading list and add authors who are from a country you’ve visited. The same applies with movies. The most important thing is to just start and be intentional about adding culture into your weekly routine.