Being a Woman Overseas

Story by Madlen Gubernick | gubernick.ma@husky.neu.edu

Earlier this week, a group of Global Journal Staff Writers, as well as the Editor in Chief, the Treasurer, the VP of Marketing, the Social Media Chair, and one of our editors, met to discuss study abroad experiences.

Our two panelists, Audrey Pence, editor of Global Journal, and Olivia Pickard, Social Media Chair of Global Journal, gave a brief run down of their study abroad experiences. For Audrey, it was both her dialogue in Jordan, and her co-op in Turkey, and for Olivia, it was her dialogue in Zambia, Africa.

“It was definitely a good experience,” Audrey said of her time in Turkey. Although Audrey faced issues with landlords, moving multiple times during her stay, and an overall difficulty transitioning into the Asian c, she said looking back, that it was worth it.

Olivia echoed that sentiment, “It changed me as a person. I would never take it back.” During her time in Zambia, Olivia said that although she had to fight over wifi, waking up at 4am for best chance to speak with her parents, she looks back on the dialogue fondly.

As the discussion continued, both Olivia and Audrey noticed a common thread in their experiences: how difficult it was to be a woman overseas.

“I was in charge of my own safety,” Audrey said to the heavily female-based audience. To Audrey, being a woman in Turkey was vastly different to her experiences not only in Boston, but in Jordan as well. However, she acknowledged that in Jordan she was with a group of other Northeastern students, whereas she was on her own in Turkey.

Olivia, who was with a group of Northeastern students, felt equally as threatened. “There was one guy on our trip, and we had him interact with strangers,” she said, admitting that it was easier to have a male represent their group, as opposed to the risk of female representation.

Both Olivia and Audrey agreed that the hardest part of being a woman overseas is the energy it took to protect themselves and remain safe. “It wore on me, the feeling of being subordinate,” Audrey said, to which Olivia overwhelmingly agreed.

To a group of women, who are studying international occupations, this was a bit daunting. Staff writer, Kristen Montana, asked the panelists, “Does the fear outweigh the rewards?” To which both Audrey and Olivia said absolutely not.

“It’s an unfortunate reality- you are going to face it, but don’t live in fear,” Audrey said to Kristen, and to the rest of the room.

Thanks to all that joined us in this discussion, especially our panelists!