Travels

Welcome to my Travels page! I've been incredibly blessed with opportunities to travel to 31 countries and live on 4 continents since 2006.  Here are short summaries of some of the major trips I've taken.  Stories from these trips can be found in my blog archive or by selecting one of the topical labels, both of which you may browse in the right-hand sidebar of every page. 

Languages  


English: Native
French: Fluent
Russian: Semi-fluent (3 years formal study; 6 months immersion)
Spanish: Conversational (2 years formal study)

Finnish: Elementary
Nepali / Sherpa: Elementary (3 months immersion)
Italian: Basic understanding/Beginning (1 semester formal study)
Dutch: Beginning (1 semester formal study)



Adventures 


Aug. 2006 – Aug. 2007 // 
Youth For Understanding exchange program in Brussels, Belgium
Worked full-time and attended college full-time at the age of 15 in order to earn the $7,000 needed to enroll in the program. 
Became fluent in French through immersion in public school and living with French-speaking host family. - Also studied Spanish, Italian and Dutch in Belgian high school; reinforced exposure to these languages during trips to Flanders, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Italy. - Contracted as text translator for Belgian tourism company – short stories and brochure information 

March 2007 // England 
- Toured universities including Oxford and Royal Holloway University of London; explored study abroad options in Great Britain. 
Homestay with English woman; learned about English culture through participation in daily life 

July 2007 – August 2007 // Humanitarian Aid work in Neretva and Mostar, Bosnia 
- Worked with orphans from the Bosnian War in a summer camp 
Studied Bosnian language 
Met with former general of the Bosnian Army; toured military base and other historical monuments 
Learned about cultural, socio-economic and political structure of Bosnia and history of its former membership as part of Yugoslavia 

March – June 2008 // Worked abroad in Adelaide, South Australia 
- Assistant Bookkeeper for two Australian start-up companies: Vuja De Restaurant and Galda Co, a water tank and metal plate company specializing in helicopter hookups 

June 2008 // U.S. Congressional Youth Leadership Council’s Global Youth Leadership Summit in Beijing, Xi’an, and Shanghai, China
One of 400 college students from around the world hand-picked to participate in this two-week-long study abroad and summit 
Assessed China’s social and economic problems 
My group of 10-12 students was awarded first prize for developing most implementable plan to allocate several million dollars to a project to enhance infrastructure.  Our project included a self-sustainable, green housing development complete with a water treatment plant, solar panels, and other energy maximizing features. No actual money was awarded for this simulation.

July 2008 // Private exchange in Guangzhou, China
- 10 days immersed in Cantonese during stay with Chinese host family
- Visited urban capitals as well as small towns in rural China
- Learned about Chinese cultural values and customs

February - June 2011 // Internship in St. Petersburg, Russia 
- 12 week internship at the U.S. Consulate in St. Petersburg
- 3 week exploration of Helsinki, Finland; toured business schools
- 4 week enrollment in Russian as a Second Language program at St. Petersburg State University
- Bachelor thesis research (presented research to students in 3 universities; collected data; one-on-one interviews with young Russian entrepreneurs)

June - August 2011 // Intensive Language Courses in Odessa, Ukraine
- 8 week intensive Russian language courses (4 hours/day)
- Cultural trips to Yalta (Crimea), Vil'kovo (southern Ukraine), and Chisinau (Moldova)

March 2012 // NIBS Competition in Rotterdam, Netherlands
- The most prestigious international case competition for International Business students
- Earned 5th place as one of 4 members of the Belmont University team

April 2012 // Social Entrepreneurship in Guatemala
- Traced the coffee path from farming communities in remote Chel (Quiche region in Central Guatemala) to the Chajulense Coffee Cooperative, 
- Met with Guatemalan social entrepreneurs running education programs, a library, a honey business, and a self-sustaining K-12 school + trade school
- Met with SIFE students and professors Guatemala's premier university: UFM
- Participated in a seminar & discussion on the future of social entrepreneurship

- Explored the ancient Mayan ruins at Tikal
- Spent time in Guatemala City & Antigua

May - August 2012 // Taught English at Pema Chholing Monastery, Nepal
- Volunteered as an English teacher in a Tibetan Buddhist monastery in the Himalaya
- Lived in a Sherpa community for three months (elevation 2,900 m)
- Learned to speak conversational Nepali and read Tibetan
- Studied Buddhist philosophy and its influence in shaping Sherpa culture, government, education, and economy
- Trekked to Mount Everest Base Camp

- Spent time in all three major regions of Nepal: the high Himalaya (Solukhumbu), the central plains (Kathmandu), and the jungle (Chitwan)

August 2012 - TBD // Master's Studies at Aalto University in Helsinki, Finland
- Studying Strategy - a joint program between the Schools of Business and Technology
- Continuing entrepreneurial cognition research with American researchers
- Learning Finnish

February 2013 // Innovation in Action course in Barcelona, Spain
- Participating in a collaborative course with master's students at ESADE 
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