I was born in Heidelberg, Germany, and as a military brat I grew up listening to my father’s stories about his travels abroad. I enjoyed hearing about his time in South Korea, Saudi Arabia and various European countries. It taught me that the world is vast and full of endless opportunities to learn from different cultures.
I spent a majority of my childhood in Brooklyn, New York, and vividly remember when my schoolteachers taught lessons about geography and global history. Every textbook had a cover that grabbed my attention – whether it was Mount Everest, the Great Wall of China or the Great Pyramid of Giza. I enjoyed flipping through the pages searching for pictures of places around the world, often imagining that I was there.
During my sophomore year in college, applying to a study abroad program was on my to-do list. However, due to my inability to speak a second language, I knew my options were limited. While browsing my school’s study abroad catalog in the career office, I came across a Semester at Sea brochure. I remember reading that participants visit thirteen countries in one semester. My mind was blown. I wanted to find out more information on the Semester at Sea program. The minute I got back to my dorm I did what any eager student would do – I Googled it! After my research, there was no question that I would apply.
On August 26, 2011, I flew to Montreal, Canada to begin my semester-long trip around the world – a journey that I would never forget. I was blessed to visit Mauritius, India, China, Japan, and South Africa, where I met Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Each country offered its own unique experience. However, what they all had in common was the quality of people that I encountered. This is what made my trip a memorable one.
After I graduated college in 2013, I decided to visit a few of my middle school teachers. I spent a majority of my time speaking with Ms. Brown. As I sat in her classroom, I rambled on about the past eight years of my educational experiences. The main topic of discussion was Semester at Sea. Ms. Brown introduced me to her class as one of her former students. She added that I had the opportunity to travel the world through Semester at Sea and gestured for me to use the classroom globe to show the students the places I had visited. As I began to point to the various countries, I saw their faces light up with excitement. I remembered being that young and curious. I could only imagine how excited I would have been to engage with someone who participated in such a unique opportunity.
Weeks later, I spoke to my good friend Brandon about my experience. He too, had studied abroad on two separate occasions while in school. That very conversation led us to the idea of WellTraveled. We wanted to share our experiences with students. However, we wanted to take the idea a step further. We wanted to link students with professionals who had the privilege of traveling, working and living abroad with students in order to share their experiences as well? The notion that we could spark their interest to one day aspire to do the same gave us goosebumps.