My Global Life: How Vicky Le Lives a Global Life After Studying Abroad

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My name’s Vicky Le and I just love life! Traveling and staying active are my two main hobbies and in both – there’s always more to see and more to learn. Curiosity won’t kill this cat! Find me on LinkedIn and Tumblr

Hi Vicky! What does “living a global life” look like for you at this stage in your life?

Still young, with the memories of being abroad still fresh, the idea of living a global life to me is being able to continue to plan my next time adventure and experiences abroad. This thirst and reality has continued and thrived successfully throughout my undergraduate career with the help of scholarships and professional programs that believed that my curiosity could be academically engaging. Unfortunately, a different reality approaches as my graduation is impending.

How has your global life changed over time?

Throughout my undergraduate career, and after my many times abroad, I realized having a “global life” didn’t restrict to just my times abroad.
After my Australia trip, I became a marketing intern for the program.  I recruited students and other peers to experience what I did in the land down under.  Through this experience, I realized I loved talking about my time abroad.
Not only did I add a minor to my degree, Parks, Recreation and Tourism, I took a class that I never would have – Tourism, Poverty and Health. This class has actually been my favorite of all time.
In short, it was about People’s First Tourism, how microentreprenuership can help small developing communities live a dignified life in a sustainable way. It tied the “tourism” part of studying and volunteering abroad to some of my other interests. I learned about my impacts as a global citizen and how to minimize them or change them to more positive impacts.
My global life also included my involvement with the Asian Students Association – we shared our culture to other students in the community. The United States has a very rich and diverse culture – we don’t always have to go abroad to learn something new about different groups of people.
Anyway, I went abroad a couple more times and began giving presentations about general studying abroad.  Finally, I accepted a paid internship at the Study Abroad Office and ultimately realized International Education was where I wanted to be.
I want to integrate curriculum, plan the trips and itinerary, work with engaging and marketing to students, work with partnerships abroad, and create outlets and markets for students to interact with each other.  I continue to want to explore the options within International Education, so decided that getting my Masters of Arts in International Education was my next step.
What do you find most fulfilling about living a global life on you own terms?
One of the most fulfilling things about living a global life, was simply the connections I was able to make with other people.  This doesn’t mean that I could connect simply on the experiences that I may have shared with someone who went on the same country, but I could always connect with someone who has gone abroad or who has curiosities about different cultures.
Engaging in these meaningful conversations about the differences in mannerisms, architecture, food, view on sustainability, etc always reinforced my love for the global world and only drove my thirst to continue exploring. The connections with these people always leads to networks and makes me feel like I am a part of a group of people that love the same thing.
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What are some challenges you’ve faced in living a global life?

More specifically about my path, I’ve learned that the field of International Education is so new that it was difficult to not only find programs, but it was also hard to find people to give me advice. I felt I was exploring the field myself and am continuing to do things by trial and error.  The program at Chapel Hill is nearly a year old and information is sparse.
Furthermore, funding for the field is even more scarce.  I’ve learned that if I could have picked another field, I would maybe not have to pay for it on my own.  But, as I’ve told my family and friends, not everything in life is about the dollar sign. I’ve felt that the experiences and the atmosphere that this field has given me, is completely satisfying and worth it.

What are your tips for others who want to create a satisfying and meaningful global life?

“You may not know where you’re going, but that doesn’t mean you’re not going anywhere.” A goal forms over time and it’s okay to have smaller goals. It doesn’t make you more or less ambitious. Some of the most successful and brilliant people didn’t have a complete plan until later on in life! With each adventure (whether that relates to travel or not), you grow a little more and realize more what you want to do and ultimately, more goals form. Trust that this natural path will form.
The past piece of advice as well as this next one, is actually really hard to follow until you’ve gone through it yourself but: stop thinking about the costs and how expensive it is (to a certain extent)!  You’ll pay for it in the end somehow.
You won’t believe it, but you’re very capable of finding a solution.  Life is short and take some risks while you can (before having a family and settling down).  Take your dream volunteer position – don’t be afraid to take a year off and ~do you~ instead of taking that real world office job. I’ve heard way too many people say, I wish I studied abroad or I wish I took the Fulbright or say I shouldn’t have been worried about such and such and did the Peace Corps.

Take risks – it’ll all work out in the end. (:

Thanks for sharing your #MyGlobalLife story, Vicky! 

About the Author: Cate Brubaker

Cate Brubaker, PhD is the author of the Re-Entry Roadmap creative workbook and founder of SmallPlanetStudio.com. A former expat and current part-time nomad, Cate has worked in international education for 20 years.

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