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How Traveling Can Propel Your Career

Updated: Jan 26

This month on the blog, I really want add more voices and perspectives than just my own. So, I asked some of the amazing travelers that I met during my adventures abroad to share their stories.


Throughout their stories, they will tell you a little bit about themselves, what motivated them to travel, a highlight and a lowlight from their travels, as well as offer some advice based on their own experiences.


My hope with this series is that you find something, or someone, you resonate with that motivates you to take a leap of faith, this year, towards expanding your horizons abroad!


For our fourth entry in the series, we have my partner Connor.

 
connor larsen

Hello! My name is Connor, Hannah’s partner. I am 25 years old, and an aspiring game developer.


In this article, I'll be discussing my upcoming trip to Los Angeles where I will be taking part in a 3 month long internship relating to my field of game design.


As of writing, I don't know when exactly I will be departing or where I’ll be staying in Los Angeles, I do know though, that I will be working down there between March 1st and June 1st. In those three months, my goal is to acquire valuable work experience and plenty of helpful references to help jump-start my professional career.


How did I get to this position? Well, I have wanted to work in video games for as long as I can remember. It was a no surprise, that when it came time to look into post-secondary education following high school, I would look for a program in game development.


Eventually I decided to apply for the Game Development program hosted at Niagara College Canada. Unfortunately however, the tail end of my program got completely derailed by the COVID19 pandemic in March of 2020, only 2 months before graduation.


connor in college

During this time, we were preparing our capstone projects, which would feature complete video games that we made over the course of 4 months.


However, since the campus completely closed down halfway through this process, it cut us all off from working in the same building as each other.


At the end of the final semester, none of us were successfully able to complete our projects to the standards we had hoped. On top of all that, we were also supposed to show off our completed projects at the Level Up convention in Toronto, where we would have the opportunity to meet industry professionals and network with them.


Not being able to attend this event to network, and also having the world be essentially closed down right after graduation, made getting a head start on my career in game development extremely difficult.

connor and frau hannah

That’s until I was introduced to this internship opportunity abroad! I first learned about the company that offers the internship, Global Work and Travel, from my lovely partner Hannah!


They offer plenty of travel opportunities including teaching placements, camp trips, volunteer work, and much, much more.


I decided to apply for their Game Design internship, where I would get placed somewhere in the United States for 2-3 months. In that time, I will gain work experience related to my career, make plenty of connections and networking opportunities, as well as have the opportunity to travel and explore a new area of the world! What could be better?


While the internship doesn’t have a guaranteed location, rather it’s somewhere in the USA with a job opening, I had hoped I would be placed in an area that I haven't yet visited myself.



Thankfully, I got accepted at a company in Los Angeles, California. Considering that I have yet to visit the state of California, I was very happy to find out that I would be placed there! I was also pleased to know that I will be spending the tail-end of the infamous “Canadian winter” in a nice warm southern state, where there won’t be a flake of snow in sight!


In terms of what I’m most excited for about my trip, I think it will be the opportunity to travel again on my own. I’ve only ever traveled by myself once back in April 2023.


connor in new york

I decided on a whim to take my tax refund of that year and put it towards visiting New York City for a week.


Until then, I had only ever flown on a plane with other people much older and experienced than me that were doing the planning and organizing.


I’m extremely glad that I took that leap of faith and took the trip as without it, I don’t know if I would have the courage to go for this international internship opportunity. I’m really looking forward to experiencing solo travel again, but this time for a much longer duration.


As for things I may not be that excited for, I think it might be the cost. To even apply for the internship, you need to make a payment of over $4000 CAD (~$2995 USD), and that’s only to get a position. The plane ticket and living accommodations, as well as other daily expenses like groceries are not included.


What will make things even more difficult will be the conversion rate from USD to CAD, which is famously terrible for us Canadians. I’ve been saving up for this trip since August of 2023, and as my departure date draws closer, I do worry whether or not I’ve saved up quite enough.

connor with coffee

Regarding advice that I would give to others who were looking into traveling on their own, be it for professional or personal reasons, I would say the most important thing you can do is have a plan.


Plan well ahead of when you leave on your trip, and make sure you have some sort of idea what to expect once you’ve reached your destination. It’s fine to leave some things for spur of the moment and on the fly adventuring, but having some sort of solid structure for where you’ll be and what you’ll be doing will help massively with the success and enjoyment of your trip.


There’s no worse feeling than heading back home before you had the opportunity to do something you were really looking forward to because of a failure to plan ahead.

 

Thank you Connor for sharing your story. It shows your motivation and dedication to your career path.


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