I get asked all the time from parents, “Will you talk to my daughter or son, they want to work internationally and help people?”  It is important to share our knowledge and lessons learned and hopefully we can make the path a little easier for the next person. I love that there are young people in the world that still dream of making a difference, BEING THE CHANGE THEY WANT TO SEE IN THE WORLD….I am impressed that parents are involved and trying to connect their children to “mentors”.  I would be more excited if the kids themselves would come to me, but this is our over involved parenting culture now, I am guilty of it myself. Knowledge is power and the kids that dig in, get curious, learn as much as they can, ask questions, network and hustle will probably be able to create whatever they dream of. So, parents if you are reading this please forward it to your young person…The rest is for them.

Young people…. I know I can offer you many different perspectives especially during this time in your life. Some of you are trying to figure out what is next, you are getting ready to go to college or trying to figure out what the heck to study in college or what are you even going to do with this expensive liberal arts degree that you worked so hard for.  I have been and done what you dream of doing. It looks way sexier from the outside, the reality of international humanitarian aid work as an actual career is very different from your fantasy.  If you are interested in this path it is because you have probably done a “mission trip” through your church to an impoverished part of the world, you may have helped build houses in Mexico or maybe you went to Haiti for a week to “help” orphans. These are all experiences that stretch us and give us a taste of “international work”.  I do believe there is great value in that. Do I think they “help” the people they are intended to serve? Well that is for another story…. But I do believe any personal experience that takes us out of our comfort zone, pushes us to grow, and brings awareness to things we didn’t know before, is awesome. I believe it makes us even more curious, gives us courage to keep exploring and connect to a life and purpose bigger than ourselves.  That is a good thing!

I am a straight talker about this stuff and not all people will love what I have to say… Young people you need to start really thinking about what you want the next 5, 10 years to look like… It is extremely valuable to think about, get real and answer these questions for yourself before you consider a career in international humanitarian work.

1. INTENTION: Why do I really want to help impoverished people?
What do I personally gain from it? What do they authentically gain from me?

 2. VALUE:  What expertise or knowledge can I offer that improves lives?
Or what knowledge or expertise would I want to learn to then be able to share and why?

3. MONEY: Do I need to make money?
Am I OK being poor? Do I want to make “real” money?   What is my ideal livable salary?

 4. LIFESTYLE: Can I be gone for extended periods of time?
Do I have a partner, friends, family etc…that support me having an unpredictable, possible dangerous job?  What do I want my work/family life to look like? Can I be physically uncomfortable?

5. EDUCATION: How much more school am I willing to do?
How much debt or how much will it cost my family? Will my actual job ever even be able to pay these loans back….do I care?

6. FULFILLMENT: I am happiest when…..
What activities bring you joy?  What do you love doing?

7. DRIVE: My passion is….
What issues in our world really get you going? Be specific! You could have a few but start identifying them.  Childhood cancer, malaria….etc…specific issues you would want to dedicate your life to improving.


Here is what to do after you answer these questions.

  • Start looking at jobs within the WHO and the UN
  • What looks interesting and what are the requirements needed to get these jobs? Get those requirements done!
  • If you are serious about international “aid/development” work join the Peace Corps after college. Look into now.

Thank you for wanting to make our world a better place! DO IT! We need you! Live a Life you Love! Live it Powerfully! Contribute Authentically!

I am hear for you…Let me know how I can help and support you.

Much love and respect,


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Book Now