Travels with Cultural Mad Scientist, Norm Schriever

This week, I had the wonderful opportunity of interviewing my favorite travel author, Norm Schriever. Norm is the author of South of Normal, Pushups in the Prayer Room, The Queens of Dragon Town and more! He is a self-proclaimed cultural mad scientist, and loves to share his travel advice and experiences. His stories are incredibly relatable, and hilariously crazy!

In this episode, we talk about his adventures around the world and reflect on a few of my favorite stories from South of Normal and Pushups in the Prayer Room. We also talk about Norm’s passion for connecting with others and meeting new people on his travels. He was uniquely impacted by COVID in the fact that he left the Philippines right before a strict lockdown. He hasn’t seen his girlfriend in 8 months!

Norm uses his writing to connect with people from all walks of life. His stories show the impact on how travel increases empathy and human connection. It was truly an honor to interview him!

Although we cannot travel now, this interview is a wonderful way to reminiscence on the power of travel! Tune in for a wonderful episode and stay tuned for part 2 in November 2020!

Pushups in the Prayer Room documents Norm’s trip around the world in 2000. His stories are crazy and extremely relatable for any traveler!
South of Normal documents Norm’s big move to Tamarindo, Costa Rica.
This is Norm’s newest book. His story is fiction, inspired by his own experience following a massive typhoon in the Philippines. His story follows an island girl, and the difficulties she has to endure to survive.

Diana Delbecchi: A Trailblazer in Education Access and Social Justice

This week, I had the wonderful opportunity of reconnecting with Diana Delbecchi. I know her as the former Assistant Director of the St. Norbert College Gap Experience. However, she wears many hats in the Green Bay community. She is the founder of United Resisters, a non-profit program for Somali women. She is currently a Schools Resource coordinator at the Green Bay Area Public School System, where she created a program for children to receive eye glasses. If there is a problem regarding education access in the community, Diana creates a project to solve it. As a graduate of UWGB, Diana created the FLITE (Future Leaders Inspired Through Empowerment) program to encourage and educate high school students about college!

Diana with her Somali friends. She is the founder of United ReSisters in Green Bay!
St. Norbert Gap Experience right before we left for the Boundary Waters in 2018.

Diana has a very unique international perspective and a love for traveling to new places. She received her Masters in Gender, Globalization, and Human Rights from University of Ireland, Galway. She also worked in a refugee camp in Greece during the Refugee Crisis of 2015.

In our episode, we explore her passion, her involvement in the community, our experience on Gap, and her experience abroad. We also discuss the power of experiential learning, and how it has shaped our growth as human beings. This interview is filled with positive energy and empowering stories. I highly recommend you listen!

You can learn more about Diana’s journey here.

St. Norbert Gap Experience on a Volcano in Guatemala. November, 2018

Navigating Neuropsychology with Will McBride

This week I had a unique conversation on Going Places with Will McBride. I have always been interested in the lives of STEM majors. Will is currently in a neuropsychology fellowship at University of Virginia. He works with people suffering from Alzheimers and Dementia. In our conversation, we talk about his journey through his field, his role in the society for Black Neuropsychology, and his goals for the future. Will is an extremely empathetic and caring person. He likes his role because of his ability to gain wisdom from his elderly patients. He has always been the person his friends came to for help, and this talent fueled his career choice. His story will resonate with anyone, including people with careers outside of STEM.

Laura Naylor Colbert: Soldier, Author, Badger

This week, I interviewed Laura Naylor Colbert. She is a veteran who served in Iraq in 2003 for 16 months, a UW Madison Alum, and now a middle school principal. Our conversation explored her book: Sirens: How to Pee Standing Up, as well as where her life picked up after book ends.

Laura’s book was recently nominated for a bronze medal in the Military Writer’s Society of America 2020 Awards Ceremony! Her self-narrated audio book will be coming out November 30th! The amazon link to her book is below.

Laura is a wonderful human being with a TON of stories from her time deployed in Iraq. She talks about her experience going to basic training, and then getting deployed to Iraq. She touches on her mindset and mantras she used during difficult times throughout her time in Iraq, and she discusses the many differences in Iraqi culture. She also opens up about the difficulties of PTSD coming back to the US. Her perspectives are extremely insightful and provide a unique perspective from a soldier.

Half-way into the interview, we discuss her book writing experience and her travels after coming home. She took a year of exploring called her “Year of Laura.” She also ended up living in England as a teacher! We also discuss her current role as a middle school principal.

This conversation is one you will not want to miss!

Dr. Jennifer Fraser: Healing the Brain After Trauma

I had a wonderful conversation with Dr. Jennifer Fraser, an author, educator, and consultant studying brain health and brain power. She is a wonderful resource for victims of abusive coaching, and works to change the way coaches interact with their athletes. She is currently writing two new books: “10 Fixes for the Bullied Brain” and “Brain Drain: The Loss of Adolescent Brain Power in the Workplace”. Jennifer was an integral part of my healing process after experiencing two different counts of abusive coaching, and I loved reconnecting with her for this episode. She also provides excellent resources on adolescent brain health and how the brain responds to entering the workforce. This episode covers a multitude of information regarding the brain and how to heal it. You can learn more about the wonderful work she does here.

Kristina Shelton: A New Voice for Green Bay

This week, I had the wonderful opportunity of doing a webinar with Kristina Shelton. Kristina is a candidate for the 90th Assembly District of Wisconsin. Her message is to amplify the voices of all community members. You can read more about her campaign here. We discuss the Green Bay community, her journey into politics, and what made her run for 90th Assembly District. Kristina values empathy and adaptability in everything she does. This is a powerful conversation that you don’t want to miss!

Joidon Jennings: Networking, Confidence, and the Green Bay Packers

I had the wonderful opportunity this week to interview Joidon Jennings, Digital UX Coordinator of the Green Bay packers. In my conversation with Joidon, we discuss the ins-and-outs of the professional sports industry. Her experience working in such a competitive field provides insights to all students about the importance of networking, self-marketing, and confidence. She opens up about her journey to finding her dream job. We discuss her experience with the Baltimore Ravens, and her job switch to the Packers during COVID. Joidon provides a plethora of insights for students in all industries.

Jacob Patrick: Experiencing Rome During COVID

Today I talked to Jacob Patrick for the second time about his experience studying abroad in Rome. We discuss the impacts of COVID, the classes he took, the food, and cultural differences between Rome and the US. He talks about his crazy trip home from the US: having to leave for the airport in the middle of the night without a ticket! We also discuss the positive experiences from his shortened time abroad! This was a great start to season 2 of Going Places

Here is a photo of Jacob and me at the “Wedding Cake” Monument in Rome!
This is where the interview took place in my apartment!

Going Places 2.0

I am looking a bit bigger this semester by including more voices outside of travel.

When I started Going Places, I was about to study abroad. The only thing on my mind was travel, and I wanted every nugget of wisdom I could find. Now, I want to hear more perspectives in different fields.

I want to reiterate: I am not done with hearing about international perspectives. I just want to learn more about people who are succeeding in their careers, in their studies, and in their passions.

This semester, you will find new voices with unique stories, and I can’t wait for my wonderful guests to share their experiences!

COVID-19 Abroad: How I Grew from my Unique Semester in Spain

My favorite picture on a lovely Valencia Day on the Flower Bridge

Studying abroad is one of the best ways for a student to immerse themselves in a new environment by exposing themselves to new cultures and experiences. I am very grateful for my opportunity to have studied abroad in Valencia, Spain this past semester as a student in University of Virginia’s program. I am also one of the students who was placed in a very unique situation: I had to leave Spain early because of COVID-19. I spent two months in Spain, and two months at home completing my Spanish semester. While being grateful for the opportunity, I was heartbroken that I didn’t get a “complete experience” like students from past years. I pondered over how this unique experience changed my life and made me grow. Ultimately, I realized that this experience was multi-faceted: not only did I gain a global perspective while abroad in an intensive program, I also gained adaptability from being sent home, forcing me to “think on my feet”. I realized my global experience and adaptability would greatly benefit my future in the business world.

I pondered over how this unique experience changed my life and made me grow.

This is a photo of me in front of the Spanish Steps in Rome, Italy. I was lucky enough to travel to Rome during my 2 months abroad.

My semester abroad in Valencia, Spain was the perfect opportunity to immerse myself in a new culture while practicing Spanish in an intensive academic environment. My experience, combined with rigorous academic courses of Spanish history, economics, business, and literature, has taught me the cultural and societal differences between Spain and the United States. Besides learning about Spanish culture in school, culture shock was something that hit me by surprise, especially during times of discomfort. I quickly learned unspoken cultural norms of Valencia, sometimes the hard way: credit cards are not commonly used for two glasses of wine at a restaurant, gratuity after a meal is rare, jay-walking is widely accepted, staring at strangers is common, and you ALWAYS have to double check that you are not standing in a bike lane when walking through the city. It went through a process of comical mistakes and awkward interactions, but I slowly gained my footing in the first city I had ever lived in, and the first country I had ever spent time alone in. But through the discomfort, the speaking mistakes, the quiz I failed (my first F of college!), the cultural cues I slowly picked up on, and the laughs I had when talking to my new peers, I learned to love the ins and outs of Spanish business and culture, and to love living abroad.

Having this global experience will help me in my future endeavors as an incoming business leader. An article by the global analytics and advice firm, Gallup, states the future will bring leaders “who tend to be increasingly globally oriented and eager to explore the world”. They also explain how globalization is flattening the world, forcing people of different cultures to collaborate and interact: “As the world gets flatter it also gets less homogenous. The world economy is already demanding leaders with an evolved understanding and appreciation of the true diversity that comprises the modern world. The demand for a global mindset will only grow.” My experience in Spain has propelled my curiosity of different cultures and allowed me to experience business in a different environment. My curiosity of global experiences will allow me to grow as an individual and will propel my career as a leader who wants to understand different cultures in relation to their business norms. I am excited for the opportunities my global mindset will bring.

“As the world gets flatter it also gets less homogenous. The world economy is already demanding leaders with an evolved understanding and appreciation of the true diversity that comprises the modern world. The demand for a global mindset will only grow

Gallup Article

 COVID-19 has also allowed me to grow another vital skill: adaptability. In the TED Talk “3 Ways to Measure your Adaptability — and How to Improve It”,  tech investor Natalie Fratto outlines a new way to determine potential in founders: “I look for signs of one specific trait, not IQ or EQ, it’s adaptability. How well a person reacts to the inevitability of change, and lots of it.” Instead of looking at a person’s intelligence — what school they went to, their past visions in other companies—and their emotional ability to connect with others —building teams and communicating with coworkers and clients — Fratto looks at a person’s ability to be flexible and innovative during uncertain times. Adaptability is one of the biggest strengths I gained from my semester abroad, specifically when I was sent home early. I was forced to change my mindset and think about how to get the best out of my experience. I can now use this trait in my future career.

“I look for signs of one specific trait, not IQ or EQ, it’s adaptability. How well a person reacts to the inevitability of change, and lots of it.”

Natalie Fratto

My adaptability muscles were stretched pretty thin in Spain as I set the date and bought the ticket to go back home. Suddenly, every important experience and goal was heightened into a “bucket-list frenzy”. I was navigating the hardest classes of my college career, with speaking only Spanish, taught by native Spanish speakers, all while cramming every possible experience into my time left in Spain. I think every student studying abroad during Spring 2020 knew the inevitable fact that we would have to go home. It was a looming cloud that was pretty hard to ignore during an otherwise wonderful experience.

My adaptability muscles were stretched pretty thin in Spain as I set the date and bought the ticket to go back home. Suddenly, every important experience and goal was heightened into a “bucket-list frenzy”.

Posing with the Valencian flag, a week before my return home

 I was to leave Spain on Monday, March 9. Unfortunately my birthday was March 6. I was devastated to leave, but I wasn’t going to let COVID ruin the time I had left. I made a bucket list that included going to a lagoon, experiencing a few Fallas festivities (before that was inevitably canceled as well), eating at my favorite restaurants, and of course, savoring the walks through the city. My best memories were from this short weekend, because I was mindful of my impending trip home, and I chose to enjoy the time I had left. Adaptability is not only responding to an emergency situation, it is making the best of the situation at hand. Had I not studied abroad during COVID, I would have never strengthened this important skill.

Adaptability is not only responding to an emergency situation, it is making the best of the situation at hand. Had I not studied abroad during COVID, I would have never strengthened this important skill.

My semester abroad was far from perfect, but I gained two important skills that will ultimately help me after graduation. My global mindset and curiosity of new cultures will propel my career forward as an up-and-coming business leader in an increasingly globalized world, and my ability to adapt to unforeseen circumstances will allow me to thrive in any new environment. I am grateful for the experiences I encountered during my unique semester, and I can’t wait for my next adventure.

This is a photo in front of the torres de serranos gates, a monument of the old Valencian city walls

Resources:

https://www.gallup.com/workplace/246551/future-leadership-development-global-mindset.aspx