As I sat here on my couch back in December watching the snowfall turning Sweden into a winter wonderland, I came up with an idea. I thought it would be special to share stories through the Vail Daily about some of Vail Valley's young adults exploring the world. I knew there was a significant number of people living abroad and having amazing experiences from studying, working, volunteering, traveling and playing sports. I felt readers in our community would enjoy learning about their journeys.
Over the past two months, my stories have taken you all over the world with nine incredible people that have shared their journeys and illustrated inspiring experiences.
Our first stop was in Piura, Peru, where Kaeli Hosler is still currently working as a Peace Corps volunteer. Hosler has come to appreciate this beautiful and diverse country after adapting to the overwhelming culture shock and challenging work. I admire her positive attitude and strength during this adventurous yet rewarding experience.
Our second story took us to Thessaloniki, Greece, where Christian Nichols completed a semester abroad through Northeastern University. Nichols was a part of the NUin Program, which allows first-year students to develop maturity and independence along with growing confident in a global environment. Nichols was nervous about moving from Vail to Boston, but after his life-changing experience in Greece, he laughs now, thinking, how hard could it be?
Our third journey involved Christopher Woodruff who moved to South Korea to work for Samsung. Woodruff has always been an impressive person that I admired while growing up. I was not surprised when I heard Woodruff was moving abroad to pursue a career in a foreign country.
Next we went to England to the University of York with Michael Scigliano. Scigliano studied abroad and graduated with a master's degree in politics. Scigliano felt he gained so much knowledge studying abroad by experiencing the history and culture up close while traveling all over Europe.
Our fifth story took us to Rotterdam, Netherlands, where Sydney Miller did a semester abroad with San Diego State University. This experience for Miller was a personal transformation, teaching her a lot about her own capabilities. With her desire to work in the music industry, picking the Netherlands, where the world's best DJs are from, provided an experience of a lifetime.
Our next story was featured in Cape Town, South Africa, where Devon Abbott worked for the Commission on Gender Equality. Abbott's experience was described as "more rewarding than I deserved and I returned with a full heart and openness to the future." I was so proud to see Abbott involved with such an amazing opportunity and look forward to what she will do in the future.
Our seventh story featured Sydney Idzikowski and her study abroad journey to Cuba. Idikowski broadened her perspective on the social welfare systems and the accessibility of agriculture in Cuba. She gained a deeper understanding of the needs of the community by getting involved with service work while in Cuba.
Our final story on our world travelers came from Brooke Segerberg. She is currently studying abroad in Botswana, Africa. Segerberg's experiences consisted of many wild animal encounters including giraffes, zebras, kudu, warthogs, ostrich, baboons and rhinos. Halfway through her study abroad Segerberg describes her work as an experience of a lifetime.
Last week we featured a story about opportunities within the United States. The purpose of this story was to make readers aware of how to get involved within our own country. Vail Valley native Jacque (Parker) Cafaro will run in the Million Dollar Marathon this June to raise money for a cancer cure. After participating in marathons across the country Cafaro said that "I've learned that there is a lot in life that we cannot control, and our attitude is crucial in conquering the toughest challenges."
Competing in Europe
Exploring the World has shared some incredible experiences from alumni of the Vail Valley. We hope these inspiring journeys have opened the eyes of young students in the valley contemplating taking similar adventures in the future. We also hope our adult readers got a glimpse of the incredible journeys available to the youth of our community.
I know I can relate to many of our world travelers on not only the challenges you face when abroad but the amazing opportunities that come with it. I have been in Lindesberg, Sweden, for almost eight months now playing professional volleyball. We are heading into the playoffs this weekend after placing third in the regular season. This experience has been a great adventure for me after growing up in the Vail Valley and attending college in Boston.
Playing professional volleyball in Sweden has provided me the opportunity to travel all over Europe, compete at an Elite level with athletes from all over the world, learn a new language, and experience a new culture. Being a part of a foreign culture has taught me a new level of patience, understanding and acceptance. Living in a new and different culture has broadened my perspective of the world and the people in it. I have met some very unique and wonderful people during my time overseas and I am so grateful for this opportunity.
I am sure all of our world travelers were skeptical of taking the risk of traveling abroad but the experience for most was life-changing and one they will always remember. A big thanks to all our world travelers out there that shared their stories with us and made the series Exploring the World possible.