With two study abroad experiences and dozens of countries visited, I wasn’t quite ready to settle down and begin my ‘forever life’ at home after graduation. Instead, I had big dreams of working abroad. I dreamed of living in an incredible European city, traveling to a different country every weekend and essentially living the dream. Essentially I was dreaming of being an expat.

Fast forward to over a decade later and…well…that’s not exactly what happened.

After graduation, I landed a great job in Chicago, but within a few weeks, the urge to return to Europe hit. So I did what any responsible, career-oriented person would do. I applied for jobs abroad and quickly learned that few companies were interested in hiring non-locals. So I did the next best thing, apply to US companies with a global presence in hopes that I could get sent abroad on an expat assignment. Sadly, I found out (within hours of starting my search) that companies were not interested in sending recent graduates abroad to represent their organization…and with a fluffy expat package on top of that!

I was crushed and felt like I had exhausted all my options.

After dozens of unanswered applications for jobs in Spain and elsewhere in Europe, and hours upon hours of job hunting online, I became desperate. How could I get abroad without a job?

LIVING STRATEGICALLY AND INTENTIONALLY

My first stepping stone was enrolling in a 2yr master’s program in Europe. I figured it was the easiest way to get myself 2 more years in Europe without totally sacrificing my career. While my intentions were far from scholarly or professional, it ended up being the best thing for me. It led me to my current career in international education. But it was temporary and ultimately led me back to the USA after my visa expired.

Luckily, during my time abroad, I was able to create several (paid) professional work opportunities in multiple European countries which help bolster my credibility as a capable, global professional in my field. So after nearly 4 years in Europe, I left with a master’s degree, a robust resume and a clear career path. More than learning theories in grad school, those years abroad taught me the strategies and practicalities of landing a job in Europe without having an EU passport. And it wasn’t as hard as you’d think. 

Since learning this secret, I have continued to take advantage of every global experience–and even created several career-relevant opportunities–in order to continue traveling the world and ultimately growing my brand.

Now, my husband and I are living our Euro dreams, legally and with a nice income!.…and before you ask: we don’t have EU passports, we do have debt and we’re not rich. But what we are is strategic in our choices and intentional in everything that we do.


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