Dreams of travel and discovering the world dance in the minds of many, and during her final year at The Valley, Jessica Oliveri ’15 made the life-changing decision to board a plane for the first time to study abroad in Perugia, Italy.
“Studying abroad impacted my life in a way that I could never have predicted,” Oliveri said. “It’s fair to say that it completely changed the course of my life, showing me that there was much more out there in the world beyond my little Pennsylvania town.”
At first, Oliveri had been hesitant to apply for the trip, having never even flown domestically, but in the end, she took a six-hour flight from Philadelphia to Rome and has yet to look back.
“The main impact my semester abroad had that I’d like to convey to others is the power of choice it gives you,” Oliveri said. “It showed me that I didn’t have to settle down in Pennsylvania, or even the U.S., if I didn’t want to.”
Determined to chase this newfound dream, Oliveri moved abroad after graduation, this time to South Korea. Many Asian countries provide a sustainable living salary, and with her fluency in English, she secured a position teaching English as a Second Language to elementary school children.
“My LVC degree is in psychology, so I simply had to get an English teaching certificate to add to my credentials,” Oliveri said. “Every country is different, but you can get a teaching job with a decent salary with just that. Since living in Korea, I’ve saved more money than I think I could back home.”
In addition to finding a career she loves, she met her husband Deokjun Eum, and the pair will relocate to Vietnam, where Oliveri looks forward to continuing to teach English at the middle-school level.
“Don’t be afraid to consider living in a country you’d never expect to due to financial reasons,” Oliveri said. “I dreamt of moving back to Europe, but my financial situation forced me to look beyond Europe and consider places I would have never pictured. Even when I first moved to Korea in 2017, I never considered Vietnam a potential place to live. Now, it’s soon going to become my reality.”
— Angelica Fraine ’23, Marketing & Communications Student Intern