Currently based in Malta (at the moment), Amanda is an expat writer and blogger creating content for clients around the world. For more information visit her website here.
Q+A with Amanda
Name: Amanda Walkins From: North Attleboro, Massachusetts Expat in: Malta (for now!)
What I do: I'm a freelance writer and content creator, primarily for clients in the travel/tourism and relocation industries. But I love to learn, so occasionally I work with completely different brands to expand my own knowledge and to challenge my writing! I also blog on my own site to offer help and insights into expat life. From how-to articles to daily life glimpses, I've been an expat in several countries so the information just keeps building up!
What brought me overseas: I first moved overseas sort of accidentally. I booked a 6-week backpacking trip through Honduras and Guatemala, but on my first day in my first destination, I met a guy on the beach. I stayed the full 6 weeks with him and then flew home to grab the rest of my stuff to move back to Honduras full-time. We lived on the island of Roatan for about 3 years and then moved to Scotland, where he grew up. We were married there and lived in the Edinburgh area for over a year before moving to Ireland for a temporary stay. From there, we moved to the Mediterranean island of Malta, where we're currently living.
Study Abroad: I studied abroad for a full year in two locations: Bilbao, Spain, and then Quito, Ecuador. In Bilbao, I enrolled in a program called CIDE at the Universidad de Deusto. It was connected to my own university and was with other American and Erasmus students. It was a wonderful experience and I loved all the weekend trips I could take around Europe and North Africa, but I really didn't improve my Spanish too much. For my second semester, I directly enrolled in the largest university in Quito - I was the only American there, so my Spanish had no choice but to improve! I also found my own housing, taught ESL, and traveled all around the country for six months. It was an incredible experience that truly drove me to want to live overseas as much as possible. I cannot recommend highly enough that every college student in America go study abroad. Even if all you can do is a month or a summer program, it's an eye-opening experience!
Advice for Young Americans: Stop planning so much and just go. Whether it's studying abroad or working abroad or traveling...go. You can sit and plan and research and budget and plan and ask questions and plan...but you're still in the same spot. And, trust me, regardless of how much you plan, life will throw curveballs! If you want to see the world, you have to get up, step away from all the screens, and get moving. And while you're there, don't forget to look up and actually talk to local people - try to truly absorb your experience. It's through travel and connecting with strangers that we each grow and make this world better. Be the person who builds bridges between people. You won't regret it.