Life of a global nomad

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Last week, during my search of pin-worthy material for IIUSA, I accidentally came across the term perfectly defining who I am. I am what they call a “third culture kid”, also known as the global nomad.

third culture kid

It is not surprising then that I bonded with Ramon, a global nomad in his own right, and asked to share his amazing life story on our international internship blog, a story choke-full of travel, cultural exchange and study abroad experiences. Hope you get inspired by this truly beautiful, globally nomadic person.

Ramon, tell us where you are from, where in the world you are now, what you are studying and at which school.

I was born in Madrid, Spain, and here is where I am again. I just finished a Bachelor’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering at Universidad Carlos III de Madrid.

Which countries have you been to and which ones have studied & worked in?

For visiting, I have been to Portugal, France, UK, Ireland, Belgium, Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Italy, Malta, Slovenia, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Romania, Ukraine, Poland, Finland, Sweden, Norway, Estonia, Latvia, Russia, Morocco, and Cuba.

I have studied in Alaska (USA) for 4 months, in Lithuania for 5 months, and in South Korea for 10 months, where I was also working as a Spanish teacher and a researcher in university’s laboratory. I have also been working in Kazakhstan for a month as a Spanish teacher.

What did your study abroad experiences teach you about people and the world?

Absolutely everything I know!

I put having studied and lived abroad well above everything I have learnt at university.

In fact, I would not be where I am now in terms of career if I hadn’t proven myself as a very adaptable person in every possible environment or if I hadn’t had so much experience living abroad while pursuing my education.

Can you give us an example of an eye-opening study abroad moment that changed your life?

My Korean professor telling me I was not able to leave the lab even if I had finished my work for the day, until he was gone. It was a very awkward moment but it was my first slap of reality. This happened during the first two weeks I ever spent studying abroad and helped me a lot to adapt to a new totally different culture.

Did international education have an impact on your professional growth?

As I said before, I wouldn’t be where I am if it hadn’t been for my experience abroad as a student.

[Ramon was recently admitted to a highly selective graduate training program with a multinational corporation.]

I wouldn’t even have made the first cut! But they were surprised about how many countries I had lived in during this period and how I had managed to get credit hours in such different educational systems around the globe.

What advice would you give to aspiring global nomads?


Opportunities are not coming to you (in most cases), so you’ve got to earn them.

I went to Kazakhstan to teach in exchange for a room and a flight, and to Lithuania in a total random way without any agreement with my home university hoping to get credit hours when back home. If I hadn’t tried, none of this would have happened.

And the biggest advice someone can ever give is enjoy every moment when travelling, store it in your mind, and never, ever, be afraid to try new experiences. In the end, it’s all we’ve got.

Ramon, thank you! You are an inspiration.

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International education will change the world! J1 visas, F1 visas, OPT - been there, done that. Worked for a J1 sponsor, owned a technology business. Trail runner. Love search engines and Soviet history. Have a question about internship programs? Let's connect!

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