Interview With Rome Assistant Program Coordinator
Martyna, Student Ambassador
January 6, 2017

Establishing yourself as a young adult in the professional world can be challenging, especially now that the pool of of applicants is bigger than ever before. More people are traveling abroad to study, work or just discover themselves, and even more people say they would like to do those things but they manage to come up with a reason not to. There is a way to make these adventures happen, and that is being open to opportunities, willing to make connections with people, and most of all be resourceful. An ideal example of a person that has has outstanding life experiences is Brie Longo, a current employee of the SAI office in Rome and a former SAI study abroad student.

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Searching for authentic Maltese food in Sliema, Malta

As a sophomore and international studies major, she was looking for a change and decided to study abroad. Unlike a lot of the other programs offered by Brie’s university, SAI was not connected to it in any way, thus she would have the opportunity to meet new people. “I wanted a different experience, I didn’t want to have my hand held” she said. She went to study without knowing anyone in Rome and Sicily for a year total. She said it was a great way for her to meet Italians and other international students. As many other students, she got addicted to traveling and the European lifestyle. “Ever since then, I have been looking for other ways that I can keep traveling, keep living abroad”, and she did just that, found a way to extend her stay in Europe.

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                     Camping in Poland

Upon returning, she applied for a state department internship at the United States consulate in Naples, where she worked for the year after studying abroad. She said she was able to connect her study abroad experience to the fact she wanted to work in the same place and it helped her secure the internship. However, she said that many students attend this internship to further educate themselves, rather than secure an actual job.

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Street art in the neighborhood of Testaccio in Rome

Post-graduation she continued in the same trajectory by working for the state department in the U.S. Soon, she realized it was not for her and she took it upon herself to change that. Brie quit her job and went to backpack around the world for a year.  Then, she continued to work in the Peace Corps for two and a half years in Indonesia. Lastly, before ending up working for SAI in Rome, Brie completed a year of teaching English in Puglia. After hearing of all her adventures and lusting over them, I asked her how she went about finding these programs and internships that would be ideal for resume building, while being exactly what she wanted. She explained to me that there are countless programs around the world that offer different range of opportunities for people to take on. Brie also pointed out that it is often easy to find alternative ways to fund your time abroad. Short term work which pays for housing or volunteer work are two options. It’s important to make the effort to ask questions, and go a bit further in finding out the best opportunities for you.

It is important to establish yourself by networking with other people and companies. Using your experiences to stand out among others and get that internship in Brussels or teaching program in Sri Lanka. Through these you can build your professional experience and enjoy living almost anywhere in the world.

Martyna is a Fall 2016 John Cabot University student whose home school is Suffolk University.

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About SAI

SAI is dedicated to providing academic and cultural learning experiences abroad that enhance global awareness, professional development and social responsibility. We concentrate our programs in Europe, with a focus on in-depth learning of individual European countries and their unique global role in the geopolitical economy, humanities, and in the arts.