Meet Brittany, API’s Senior Experiential Program Manager. She works with Teach, Work, and Volunteer programs in Latin America, as well as with Internships in Latin America, Ireland, and the UK
I’ve loved experiencing other countries and cultures almost as long as I can remember. Both of my parents traveled internationally during college, and I grew up hearing stories of their experiences. By the time I hit middle school, I had already decided that I would study abroad.
I studied abroad in Granada, Spain with API during the spring of junior year in college. Honestly, Spain wasn’t my first choice (though I couldn’t be more thrilled I ended up there). I originally had my sights set on Ecuador or Peru, something that to me felt more “off the beaten path” since I had already been to Europe a few years before. API’s Granada program slowly rose to the top of the pile, however, as it afforded me certain classes I needed for my majors and fit my price range. It also helped that it was in the mountains, and boasted a rich cultural heritage marked by multiple people groups. I was sold.
Upon arriving in Granada, one of the first things I noticed was that it wasn’t a small town. Somehow I had gotten it in my head that Granada was going to be a quaint, almost village-style place, but nope. It’s a city – not in the scope of Madrid or Barcelona, but a city nonetheless. I had never lived in the heart of a city before, and the need to adjust to the smells, sounds and almost constant stimulation of city life took me off guard. Then I began to love it. I loved walking everywhere, loved the cobblestone streets and the hills, loved the breathtaking mountain views that seemed to pop out of nowhere, got a kick out of the dance of dodging umbrellas along the narrow sidewalks when it rained, met many beautiful and deeply caring people. I caught myself on multiple walks to school saying, “I can’t believe I actually live here.”
I wrestled with the question of career during college, and struggled to come up with a strong idea of what I wanted to do after graduation. Looking back, I remember standing in the API Center in Granada during my study abroad program thinking, “What a cool job! How do these people get to do what they do?” I never imagined I’d actually work for the very same company just over a year later! What started out as me following through on a longtime dream – studying abroad -ended up landing me my first job out of college and introducing me to a professional field of passionate lovers of learning and culture. I struck gold. Even now, seven years later, I still feel that way.
API’s Teach, Work, and Volunteer participants are true adventurers who inspire me to think outside the box and pursue dreams beyond my present circumstances. They come from all walks of life, from nations around the globe, from all different professional spheres and educational backgrounds. No matter where they are in life, each is braving the next step toward their travel goal. It is a privilege to walk alongside them!