Originally from Atlanta, Georgia, Courtney now calls Dubai home. She runs A to Za'atar and is also the author of the following books (writing both as Courtney Brandt and pen name Ann Benjamin). Find out more below on Amazon.
Bio from Courtney
WHERE IN THE USA ARE YOU FROM? I grew up in the suburbs of Atlanta, GA, but I also spent time in Los Angeles after graduating college. When my husband I go home we try to make it to each coast at least every other year.
WHERE ARE YOU CURRENTLY BASED OVERSEAS AND WHAT BROUGHT YOU THERE? I am currently based in Dubai, UAE, but I've also spent time in Abu Dhabi and Doha. I am an author (both as Courtney Brandt and the pen name Ann Benjamin) and a food and travel blogger (as A to Za'atar). I also volunteer with K9 Friends, a local dog rescue organization.
My husband's job first brought us overseas in 2007 to Dubai and wow, have things changed since then. We always thought we would spend about 2-3 years abroad and we're currently in our 10th year with no signs of returning anytime soon.
DID YOU STUDY ABROAD BACK IN COLLEGE? I personally believe the US study abroad program (at least at the university I attended) don't really immerse or connect you with the culture you're a part of. Instead of doing anything formal, I decided to find an internship overseas and create my own version of study abroad (even if it wasn't for credit). I ended up directing a short film and am still friends with three of the people I met during my summer in Sydney, Australia.
ANY WORDS OF ADVICE FOR FUTURE YOUNG AMERICANS LOOKING TO GO ABROAD? My words of advice would be to anyone considering the expat life would be to go as soon as possible! It may seem like a risk to move overseas, but the payoff will be worth it. There will be more opportunities in your career, to travel, and to meet people from all over the world. I only wish we hadn't waited so long.