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About Me

About Me

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Hi, I’m Elaina and I want to help you live life on your terms, find a career you love, and travel as often as you want. 

 

I’ve lived, worked, and traveled to more than 60 countries, including some pretty off-the-beaten path destinations like Mongolia, Ethiopia, Nigeria, and Paraguay. I’ve also lived out of a suitcase as a full-time nomad for the past 4.5 years, ever since leaving my management consulting gig in New York back in 2013 when I landed an international role at a media company that sent me all over the world to work. You can read my full story here

 

What makes my story unique is that I’ve traveled AND built a professional career, working for companies like IBM and Uber over the years. I’ve also spent long stretches of time freelancing and traveling adventurously through South America, Asia, and Africa. I’m currently freelance writing, coaching professionals through career transitions, and working on a few small business ideas while splitting my time between Berlin, the US, and India. 

 

I write about self-development, digital nomadism, charting unconventional life paths, finding REAL jobs overseas, pursuing long-term travel, and living more purposefully in a fast-paced, confusing world. There’s simply no one-size-fits-all model for creating a life you love. I’m not a full-time digital nomad and I’m not a full-time corporate professional: I’ve done things a bit differently and I think it’s feasible for more people to live “off the beaten path” this way. I hope my blog lets you see that it’s both possible and practical.  

 

I started this blog because I want to help you find an exciting career, travel the world, break the norms, and develop yourself both personally and professionally. Read on or get in touch to set up a 1:1 session with me: elaina@lifebefore30.com.

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3 Things You Must Do to Build an International Career

Posted on October 13th, 2016

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I once found myself on a flight from Washington, D.C. to Addis Ababa, sitting next to a bright-eyed university student on his way over for a two-week volunteer trip. When he heard I’d be working in Ethiopia for the next several months as a project manager for an international media company, he was visibly taken aback. “Working?” he marveled quietly, like he was considering the word for the first time. 

 

Like many Americans, it wasn’t often he heard the name of a country in Africa and real-world business experience together in the same context — and it wasn’t the first time people reacted that way when they heard I’d been on work assignments in places like Mongolia, Nigeria, or Paraguay. 

 

Fortunately, awareness is now spreading that travel to emerging market countries is no longer limited to volunteer work or diplomacy. Opportunities to work full-time in finance, technology, marketing, and real estate in Africa, Central Asia, and Latin America abound for the savvy professional with relevant experience and an appetite for challenge.

 

Since 2008, I’ve traveled to over 50 countries and worked in a professional capacity in at least a dozen. Now I help young people from all over the world move their careers abroad, translating the vaguest notion that they’d like to live overseas into a specific, meaningful role that actually moves them from Brooklyn to Beijing.

 

If you dream of having an international career, here are three key principles to accelerate your transition abroad.

 

1. Craft your skill set for the international market.    

 

Many people I work with study international relations, business, or a foreign language, which can academically be very interesting, but professionally limiting. To secure a work visa in most countries, you have to prove you have a skill set no one else in that country has. Foreign languages are nice to have, sometimes even a must have, but speaking the language alone will not usually land you a job. 

 

Connect directly with expatriates in the countries where you’d like to work, study hundreds of job descriptions, read reputable economic reports, and assess emerging trends. Then, complement your intellectual curiosity with a specific, concrete skill that will put you in demand in that part of the world.

 

It also helps to focus on frontier markets, developing firsthand knowledge of places like Kazakhstan vs. China, Poland vs. Germany, Angola vs. South Africa. It helps place you at the top of an exciting marketplace and leads to the old “being in the right place at the right time” phenomena. 

 

2. Get international experience early on. 
 
I always say, “international experience begets international experience.” The sooner in your career you can get international experience, the better. Going abroad for the first time may even come at a cost, whether it be quitting another job or shelling out for a paid internship experience, but having those lines on your resume pays off in the long-run. 

 

Another rookie mistake is to get hired at a large multinational with hopes of being relocated overseas. While this kind of move is possible, it’s usually not probable. Take the brand name experience, but don’t count on getting an international placement unless you were explicitly hired for one. Focus on sharpening your skill set and leveraging that Fortune 500 experience to impress employers who will hire you directly for an international role. 

 

3. Nurture a global network in your field.

 

Moving from Westchester to West Africa doesn’t happen by chance; it happens by connecting with real humans who work at real companies in that region. Use your Facebook stalking skills for good, and set up informational interviews with locals and expatriates in your field of interest. You can even take a networking trip to put in face time at prospective organizations abroad. 

 

This is why it’s important to develop a focus both geographically and professionally — so you can tailor your network accordingly. Saying you want to “work in Latin America” won’t lead to a job; knowing you want to “work on the finance side of agricultural development programs in Peru” (and having a corresponding professional background) puts you in the game. 

 

The key words to drive an international career transition are: synergy, focus, and real connection. Synergize your interests and talents with the international marketplace, focus exactly on where you want to be, and develop real relationships with real people in that field. And most of all, never be afraid to simply pack up and go. 

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About Me

About Me

IMG_5937

Hi, I’m Elaina and I want to help you live life on your terms, find a career you love, and travel as often as you want. 

 

I’ve lived, worked, and traveled to more than 60 countries, including some pretty off-the-beaten path destinations like Mongolia, Ethiopia, Nigeria, and Paraguay. I’ve also lived out of a suitcase as a full-time nomad for the past 4.5 years, ever since leaving my management consulting gig in New York back in 2013 when I landed an international role at a media company that sent me all over the world to work. You can read my full story here

 

What makes my story unique is that I’ve traveled AND built a professional career, working for companies like IBM and Uber over the years. I’ve also spent long stretches of time freelancing and traveling adventurously through South America, Asia, and Africa. I’m currently freelance writing, coaching professionals through career transitions, and working on a few small business ideas while splitting my time between Berlin, the US, and India. 

 

I write about self-development, digital nomadism, charting unconventional life paths, finding REAL jobs overseas, pursuing long-term travel, and living more purposefully in a fast-paced, confusing world. There’s simply no one-size-fits-all model for creating a life you love. I’m not a full-time digital nomad and I’m not a full-time corporate professional: I’ve done things a bit differently and I think it’s feasible for more people to live “off the beaten path” this way. I hope my blog lets you see that it’s both possible and practical.  

 

I started this blog because I want to help you find an exciting career, travel the world, break the norms, and develop yourself both personally and professionally. Read on or get in touch to set up a 1:1 session with me: elaina@lifebefore30.com.

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Currently in: Malawi

 

 

Previously in: Berlin

 

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Five years ago, I changed my whole life in 30 days. I scored the job of my dreams, quit my job in New York, sold everything I owned, moved to West Africa, and never looked back. Read about it here.

 

Now I use Office Hours to help my clients do the same.

 

Do you want to travel but are scared to quit your job?

Do you want to find a job overseas but don’t know where to start?

Do you wake up in the morning dreading what’s ahead?

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Currently in: Malawi

 

 

Previously in: Berlin

 

img_6015

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What’s Hot

Recent Posts

Coaching

Coaching

Step into my office!

 

Five years ago, I changed my whole life in 30 days. I scored the job of my dreams, quit my job in New York, sold everything I owned, moved to West Africa, and never looked back. Read about it here.

 

Now I use Office Hours to help my clients do the same.

 

Do you want to travel but are scared to quit your job?

Do you want to find a job overseas but don’t know where to start?

Do you wake up in the morning dreading what’s ahead?

Read more

Like Me on Facebook

Like Me On Facebook

Follow me on twitter

Follow me on twitter

Instagram

Elaina on Instagram