How Living Abroad Has Made Me Rethink My Career Path

It would be wrong to say that before I came abroad I had a solid idea of what I wanted to do post graduation. Growing up, I was never one of those kids who always wanted to be one specific thing. Instead, I feel like I have always gone through phases and changed my mind every so often about my absolute “dream” job. And I do that annoying thing where every time I change my mind, I am POSITIVE that I have found the perfect solution. The end-all-be-all. I am sure that this is my most ideal, picture perfect, dream career and I will never change my mind.

And I’m always wrong.

I think that is okay though. I am still young and experiencing what I like and do not like. I want to be able to still have my eyes open enough to see and take advantage of other opportunities since I do not even know the extent of possibility that exists quite yet. I am not even sure of everything that is out there. The only thing I know for sure is the existence of a multitude of careers and possibilities I haven’t even heard of before. For this reason, I have not yet cemented myself into a particular track career wise.

Even though I never knew exactly what I hoped to be doing post graduation, I had a pretty clear idea developed before I came abroad. After my internship in creative content development this summer, I thought for sure that I wanted to work in this field of television for a network some day. However, as new life experiences are supposed to do, studying abroad has made me completely rethink my thoughts. Living in Italy and getting to travel to so many places I have never been to before, I have realized the extent of my passion for three major core values in my life: travel, fashion and writing. These are three interests of mine that I have always loved, but being here in Florence, I have been exposed to each one on a much deeper level.

Before going abroad, I had been to five countries outside of the US in my twenty years. In the last three months, I have visited nine more. I have now been to thirteen countries and seen twenty one cities, nine of them being in Italy - a country I had never even been to four months ago. The gratefulness I have felt being able to see all of these new places makes me inquire and wonder about the possibility of having a career that allows me to travel - a feat less easily attainable with television.  

I have also always loved fashion. I interned in fashion PR last spring and I am heavily involved in FAST at UCLA (the fashion organization on campus). I think in my mind, I separated my love of fashion from the idea of having a career in the industry, but now being abroad, I can’t really remember why I did that. I love and appreciate fashion so deeply, especially since being here in Italy, that I can no longer imagine working in an environment where others don’t share that value or care about that love just as much as I do. My two best friends who I am abroad with and I are constantly talking about clothes, making time to learn about fashion in the new countries we visit and trying to find affordable pieces from the cities we visit. I love fashion so much more now that I feel strongly about finding a job where I can be surrounded by people who value it just as deeply as I do.

The fact that my love for writing has only grown while being abroad is incredibly telling, I think. I have always loved to write since I was young. Being abroad, I thought this time might be the first time I took a step back from the craft to just kind of relax and “be” for a couple of months. But I quickly found this could never be the case. This experience has only made me more antsy to write, and it has shown me how much I value the practice in my every day life with the time I carve out for it each day. Everything I do, see and learn about myself I want to record. Making time to write my weekly article for Her Campus is part of my routine and my life here in Italy, and I cannot imagine anything else I would rather make time for than this. Writing allows me to share my thoughts and feelings not only with you the readers, but also with myself. It allows me to analyze the situations I have put myself in and understand how I have come out of each one changed. Writing allows me to process everything I do and see, and then break down how these new experiences have affected me, learn what I can do better and comprehend what that means about my character.

This exposure has fostered an ambition so strong that I now think I (may finally?) have a clearer idea of what I am looking for. One thing that involves traveling, fashion and writing, is journalism…a career I have been dabbling in the idea of for many years now. Even though I know things could change quickly, I feel really fortunate to know that this is a career path that I know could spark the serious ambition within me. I know it aligns with my values and my strengths (thanks UCLA Comm Department)!