Hello, this is Karla Gonzalez, Founder and Director of Glezk Travel to Grow, a consulting agency that helps people study abroad. And today we are going to interview Felicia Boghiu, a young professional born and raised in Moldova, a small country in eastern Europe, between Ukraine and Romaine, and who’s now living in Canada. With a background in Communications, Felicia is investing time in freelance projects online and working on her first blog dedicated to those who are interested in gaining international study and work experience.
1-Karla: Hello Felicia, How are you?
-Felicia: Hi Karla, I’m delighted to talk to you. How are you?
2- Karla: When and how did you start having interest in studying abroad?
-Felicia: For the first time, I had an interest in studying abroad after graduating high-school. But I didn’t feel ready, yet so I postponed it.
3.-Karla: how long did it took you to actually make that dream come true?
-Felicia: After finishing Moldova State University and getting my Bachelor’s in Communications, I felt more prepared, with a degree in my hand that would open more doors for me.
4.-Karla: how was the process for you to apply and get accepted to do the internship in SFCO, USA?
-Felicia: I was researching online and found the website www.globalplacement.com, where are posted ads about internships, work placements, traineeships. And I submitted more than 20 applications. I was just curious to see what feedback I will receive. So one day, I was contacted by Collabriv, an agency that was offering a paid internship and Leadership training in San Francisco. We scheduled an interview, then another one and the next step was the English assessment online test, which I passed, and I applied for a US visa immediately. In less than two weeks I was already on a plane to California.
5.-Karla: How well did your family and friends take the fact that you were leaving them and your home town in Moldova?
-Felicia: My parents were the ones who supported me to take this opportunity and make the best out of it. So I won’t regret it later or wonder how would it have been if I went. I still am very grateful for their help, and I consider myself very lucky.
6.-Karla: Did you have any cultural shock at the beginning of your stay at SFCO?
-Felicia: Yes, I did. It took me some time to adjust to the new place, new work environment, but because everyone was so welcoming and helpful, the adaptation process was so much easier.
7.-Karla: How did you manage to feel better at your new home?
-Felicia: Me and Buyisile, an intern from South Africa, were hosted by a homestay family, which I think it is the best way of getting a better understanding about the life of the locals and continuously practice your English. We just felt like part of the family; we attended family dinners, spent time on Holidays such as Thanksgiving. The atmosphere was very warm, which made us feel as we were home.
8.-Karla: How different were your teachers at your SFCO Internship, from your teachers at Moldova?
-Felicia: Very different. The teaching style was so much more student-oriented, there was no right or wrong, you could express your opinions and thoughts without fearing judgment. Unfortunately, in Moldova, the educational system consists has issues, such as corruption, teachers are more cold, conservative, close-minded, and sometimes they act like they don’t enjoy their job. I understand that they might not have the salary that they want, but you cannot express your anger during classes. I was surprised to meet my teachers in the US, and Canada, and see them always smiling, being positive and friendly. That’s what makes us, students, pay attention, and enjoy the courses.
9.-Karla: How did it feel to have the opportunity to work and make teams with people from all over the world? How does it feel to work it that kind of environment?
-Felicia: That was the most challenging part, as all of us were having different cultural backgrounds. However, thanks to the courses about intercultural communication we engaged actively in practicing cultural humility, which is a process that ensures that professionals learn about other cultures and are sensitive to cultural differences. So we developed a respectful attitude in our team and became more inclusive.
10.-Karla: I know you had a Mentor in SFCO, how was that a big deal for you?
-Felicia: Having someone to mentor you it is vital to surviving an international experience. Why? Because you seek guidance, inspiration, and you need someone to believe in you and appreciate you for what you really are. I had as my mentor number one – Micheal Pope, who was the Chief Executive Office of ASEB, the NGO where I interned. Her powerful energy and support just increased our performance at the workplace. We became best friends and stayed like that no matter the distance.
11.-Karla: What happened to you when this internship was over, after that 6 months’ period?
-Felicia: I got depressed. Going back home seemed like everything stopped, and I missed all my activities from SF, I still miss my friends. It was like a post-internship depression that I overcame when I started to get involved in the development of our family business.
12. -Karla: How is it been for you the experience of studying in Vancouver, Canada?
-Felicia: Studying Business in Vancouver at SELC Career College has been interesting. This time the learning process was based more on theory, but after six months I had the chance to apply what I learned in the co-op placement, working as a Customer Satisfaction Host at the Mink Chocolates cafe. After that, I completed the program by submitting a report, and I got my Certificate in Business.
13.-Karla: What are the 3 things you are most grateful for after these years of living abroad?
-Felicia: First of all, I am grateful for my parents’ support and help, the people who crossed my path and inspired me to believe in myself. Also, I am thankful to those who created the programs, so we could “travel to grow”. 🙂
14.-Karla: After this experience, did your vision of the world change? Did you feel the uniqueness, the richness and the connection that everyone from different nationalities offers to the world? Did you change?
-Felicia: Absolutely, I feel like I have progressed, and learned so many new things. I became richer with knowledge, friends, and most importantly, I became more confident and open-minded.
15. -Karla: Felicia, I truly enjoyed talking to you today and I’m so happy that internet brings us together so easily with people that has similar professional interests and that collaboration gets easier and it’s been so much fun! Thank you so much for your time!
-Felicia: Thank you, Karla, I’m honored to be a part of what you do, and to those who are watching us, I hope you find the courage and confidence to take risks and make your dreams come true.
Please visit my website www.glezk.com and follow me at Facebook as @glezk.mx and at Instagram as @glezktraveltogrow
Thank you so much for watching and if you enjoyed this live video please like, share it and comment on what you enjoyed the most. Until next time. Bye-bye.
All the photos above were kindly provided by Felicia Boghiu.
Date of the Interview in Instagram Live: Sunday, October 14th, 2018. And as a memory of the lovely talk we had together the next picture.