Since my very first day at UNH, my life has become worldlier. Sometimes when I look back, I am amazed at how I've ended up where I am, but I know it all began when I chose to dual major in International Affairs (IA) and Political Science. The IA program was structured differently than other programs, but more challenging in the sense that it required cultural immersion and comprehension of a foreign language. My study abroad experience in Barcelona, Spain was the moment in my life when I developed a love for traveling, culture and language, as well as a passion for exploring the hidden gems of our massive, yet tiny world.
I joined Liberty Mutual Insurance as a sales rep in 2009 directly after graduating from UNH. After spending over 3 years in sales, I decided I wanted something more aligned with my IA degree and transitioned to the company's international department, where I've now been for the past 18 months. I am part of a team that helps guide and support senior managers and executives in our 19 country operations develop a strategy. Most of my projects have taken me on journeys through Asia as I've spent a majority of my time in Thailand and Malaysia. I've also been lucky to travel to Poland and Ireland for conferences where I'm surrounded by the friendliest people from all over the world. The Spanish that I learned as part of my degree has helped open tremendous doors to both my personal and professional paths in life. My husband is from the Dominican Republic where I often get the opportunity to practice my Spanish with his family during our vacations and my professional travels have even required that I speak Spanish in Malaysia of all places!
I am lucky to be able to embrace the sights, sounds and smells of foreign lands while immersing myself into unknown cultures. My life is a never-ending learning experience with memories to last a lifetime. And to think it all started with UNH's international affairs degree program when I was first encouraged to go abroad! The value of my IA degree has proved worthy in more ways than one and it will certainly last my lifetime.
My advice to IA students is to take that first step into an unknown place, live in the moment and meet someone new. Crossing over into someone else's story somewhere else in the world is the best gift an IA degree will give you.