It all starts with a question.
What does inspire you?
In a world in which we have access to tons of information and many other opportunities, we are still looking for inspiration.
Inspiration about what to wear, inspiration about where to go, but, above all, inspiration about how to be.
We let decisions pass us by,
till the moment when we suddenly know.
Knowing what you want in life doesn’t happen overnight, it’s not a rational choice, and it hits you right in the stomach.
This series is dedicated to us,
to us, that don’t know in which direction our train is going,
and to us that we only care about wandering.
Soňa (read Sonia), 28 (already! but still looking like a teenager ), Czech Republic.
I have a degree in Italian and English philology (I’m supposed to be a linguist I guess ).
My working experience is teaching English mostly (several part-times during my studies, after graduation 6 months full time in Kyrgyzstan and now I’m finishing another 6 months in Vietnam)
I like sleeping, travelling, eating,
and I hate running, being close to insect, and discussing politics.
I write in my page Greetings from the edge of my comfort zone .
Our generation is always looking for travel opportunities, but most of us can’t affort it, deciding, then, to work abroad. But the possibilities on the web are so many that make it all very confusing.
Can you tell us what decision you took, and how did you take it?
For me it was the same. I’ve always wanted to travel, but I couldn’t afford just travelling. So the obvious decision was to look for a job abroad, and I did it with the student organization Aiesec. The reason why I did this is because I’m kind of scared of everything, and this was the opportunity to go abroad, but still have a safety net.
The first time I did it was in Kyrgyzstan, a year ago.
I was so happy with it! I didn’t even imagine it could be like this.
And even though there always are some difficult parts, there are positive parts, too. When you come to another country, you have no one there. With the organization I chose, a network of other students were organizing my arrival and welcomed me when I arrived. I also met other foreign interns, with whom I already had something in common.
I am really happy I did it, even though I was not sure at the beginning.
I didn’t know how it was going to be – of course.
But because I was so happy with it, I decided to do it again.
The first time I loved it, the second time not so much. I had some burocratic issues with the firm I was working for. So, I had to move to another city, and it did change for the better.
It’s not what usually happens – and the AIESEC both in that city and in my home town are all about my case, as it never happened to them.
How many professional experiences abroad have you had so far?
My first experience was in Verona, Italy, as secretary of the Juliet Club, and English teacher in Kyrgyzstan and Vietnam. I also had some professional moments when I went to Chicago to help some Czech friends learning English, and went to some fairs with the father of the family.
Every experience is different from the other, and even if I’m still teaching, the approach, the working hours etc are not the same.
At the moment, for example, I’m living with my boss. It was a short-time decision. It’s been great living here, because we have a housemaid, and she’s cooking all the time. I’ve been able to see the culture – I’ve been eating their food, and I’ve learnt a lot.
What has been the weirdest thing about the whole experience?
In the beginning, I wondered why everybody was asking me if I had eaten.
I didn’t understand why they did care so much. But then I was told that they are literally translating the Vietnamese version of “how are you?”.
Another thing that is kind of weird for me is the amount of motorbikes. Everyone is riding a motorbike. If you haven’t been here, you’ve never seen this many in your life. And the way they ride it is another strange thing. Even the quantity of things they can bring is amazing.
Some of the food is still weird to me, too.
Here in the family I’m surprised by the number of greens we can eat. For me, some of them looks like the plants we have in the living room for decoration, or the grass of your garden.
They also eat rice every day. For breakfast they have noodles, for lunch rice, and for dinner rice again. The same rice, but with different ingredients with it. Sometimes I really miss bread, and I buy it. I cannot have rice everyday, especially twice a day!
What about your next destination?
My next destination – I want to be closer to home, I want to have the Western experience.
I need a change from this, and I have been thinking a lot about Europe.
This time I guess to search on my own for a job, and I will see what I can find.
It may be something totally different…
I think I’d take in consideration destinations out of Europe, too.
Is there a place you fell in love with?
I’m always trying to find a nice spot near the place I live in, cause sometimes you feel sad or distressed and it’s nice to find a place to relax. My bed is actually the best place.
All the places are different and have something special, but at the moment I’m very nostalgic about mountains in Kyrgyzstan.
Hiking, walking in the nature, the cold, and the breeze…
I’ve been hot for too long here, I guess!
Another thing that I miss right now is autumn – the colorful European autumn. In Vietnam it isn’t cold at all.
What advice would you give to anyone interested in following your path?
As you said, nowadays there are a lot of options.
I did not know what I wanted my job to be. And I thought “Well, you can just sit here and think about what you want to do, or you can go out there, try and see”.
It’s definitely better to choose one offer, it doesn’t need to be perfect, maybe you won’t like it at all. But at least you will know.
Just try and see – it’s the best advice I can give.
If you’re afraid like me, you can either travel with someone or try some kind of organization or agency. And before leaving, definitely do some research about where you’re going!
Have you ever been in the situation where people were telling you that you were crazy going alone, abroad, thousand miles from home? What did you do then?
Of course, a lot of people are telling me I’m crazy, and I’m saying “Yes, that’s true. I am!”.
Even sometimes I believe I’m crazy, and I ask myself why I am doing this, but then I remember that I wanted to see more than the few meters around my house.
Why do I do it? Because I can. I have this possibility, I can use it.
It’s not always easy, unfortunately, but if you go alone, you decide what to do, you are free. There are no compromises.
Sometimes, however I am sad I don’t have anyone here to share it with me.
It has advantages and disadvantages. I’m not regretting it – I can still share the experience with my friends when I go back home and through social medias.
Travelling with someone can be less dangerous, of course. But that time when I was at the airport and there was a bomb attack, I was happy to be alone. So that I only had to care about myself, no one else.
In that occasion I met other people travelling alone, my “bomb buddies”.
Having someone is always great, and if you travel alone, definitely make friends – someone sitting next to you, some staff…
Would you suggest the experience?
Definitely. For me it was the best school.
Even though you get some bad things happen to you, telling you that “what doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger” helps.
What I have been doing with this organization, I think is the best idea to do it after school. So you actually have the support, but still you get more independent and responsible for your own choices. So that you can later go by yourself.
If you have a story like Sona’s, get in touch with me. I would love to hear it, and possibly inspire many other girls!
Leggi la versione italiana: la serie – LE RAGAZZE VAGANTI | Soňa