Friday, November 21, 2014

Take the "Gap" Out of "Gap Year"


When Monica Arora decided to pursue her MBA, she wasn’t willing to settle for becoming just another business graduate.

“I felt like I needed to differentiate myself,” she says. Having spent a semester in Norway during her undergrad, Arora already knew the transformative power that studying abroad could have. That’s why she chose to enroll in Schulich School of Business’s International MBA program, where she completed a mandatory work term in India and a semester in Thailand.

“I wasn’t sure if I wanted to work internationally, but I knew that an IMBA would teach me how to thrive, be more open-minded and work with a diverse group of stakeholders,” Arora explains. Her decision paid off—after graduating, she was hired by Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children. “One of the major reasons they hired me was because I had international experience,” she says.

Arora, like many students, is part of a cohort that is realizing that time spent overseas is no longer a chronological gap on a resume—it’s value-added experience for students and prospective employers alike.

Read more on Verge Magazine »

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Contest: Win 2 Tickets to the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair

Steph at the Donkey Sanctuary near Guelph, Ontario
Now that the grey of autumn is setting in, it's a little bit harder to get out of the city for weekend excursions. (Or maybe not harder, but perhaps a bit less pleasant.) 

But the good news is that the country is coming to the city this week!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

RTW Beauty Backpacking Secrets

Fran (left) and Gemma ring in the New Year in Thailand.
I met Fran and her girlfriend Gemma in Ecuador this May. Their 10-day tour of the Galapagos was a much-needed splurge at the tail end of a year-long round-the-world trip that had taken them from their home in the UK, to Asia, and throughout South America. 

Fran is perhaps most notably one of the co-founders (along with myself, Gemma and Katherine) of the Commonwealth Candy Club (because clearly that is what grown adults do while on vacation; form international candy clubs). However, she also holds one other claim to fameshe may be the only self-described "beauty product-obsessed backpacker" that I've ever met in my travels.

I mean, it seems almost oxymoronic. How can you backpack and be obsessed with beauty products?

The question has been plaguing me, so as I prepare for my very first long-distance cycling trip (!), in which I want to a) pack the bare minimum and b) look like less of a "mess" and more like a "hot mess," I decided that it was time to ask Fran for her best beauty backpacking tips. 

Saturday, October 04, 2014

The Price of Travel


Last weekend, I was a speaker on a panel discussion at the Toronto Go Global Expo. Afterwards, I had a couple of students approach me. They wanted to ask me what it was like to like to have a mobile office, to have the ability to pick up and freelance from anywhere in the world.

“It must be amazing,” they enthused. And it is.

But in a lot of ways, it’s also very lonely.

Midway through June, I boarded a plane from Sydney to LAX, on route back to Toronto. On only the 26th week of the year, it was already my 21st flight.

That's why I vowed that it would be my last.

Thursday, June 05, 2014

Q & A with Daniel Baylis, Author of "The Traveller"


When I call Daniel Baylis at our scheduled interview time, he’s just finished breakfast.

“I’ve had some coffee and some eggs, so that’s provided me with some fuel,” he tells me, sounding pleased.

“It sounds like you have everything that you need,” I tease.

He laughs and agrees with me. “Everything,” he laments, “except a plane ticket.”

It’s hardly a surprise that Baylis considers plane tickets to be a basic need. The self-published author of The Traveller: Notes from an imperfect journey around the world, Baylis became a poster boy for adult gap years after he spent a year travelling around the world. At 30, he was early into his career when he decided to take a break. Although he enjoyed his job, he also lived with a constant yearning for travel—and to travel with purpose. So he decided that he would start out on his yearlong journey with only one real goal: to “engage in reciprocal relationships.”

Over 12 months, Baylis would visit 12 different countries on a limited budget, exchanging labour in return for room and board. He had previously backpacked through Australia and New Zealand, but his destinations (including Africa, South American and Europe) were new, as was his method of travel (through work exchange placements).

I wanted to speak with Baylis, now settled back in MontrĂ©al, to learn more about his gap year changed his life—and his career.

Read more on Verge Magazine »
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