The story of how one Latin American studies major wound up working in China before moving to Chile to participate in an entrepreneurship program.

So there’s this awesome job, the sort of job you’d just die to land (and tell your friends about)! But the awesome job isn’t nearly like the job you have now. So how do you make it from current job to awesome job?

In our podcast series, we’re hoping to provide insights and answers to that very question. We talk to young people who have amazing jobs or are doing something really cool and interesting and ask them how they did it. So listen along for good information and some inspiration, too.

Today’s interview is an amazing story of how someone with no idea of what to do after graduation can grab hold of amazing opportunities, travel and learn a ton.

Leslie Forman talks about how she landed in China after graduating with a Latin American studies degree. She walks us through her journey as she ended up staying in China for longer than she anticipated, having lots of great professional experiences along the way. These days, Leslie is working in Chile through the Start-Up Chile program and making lots of interesting connections between China, Chile and her home state California.

If you want to know how to to find opportunities abroad, you’ll dig this interview! Some snippets from the interview follow, which have been slightly edited for context.

On having reverse culture shock when she returned to America after spending time in China:

Oh my god! The sky is blue. It’s so blue. Did you notice the sky is so blue? Wow! I remember I went to Bank of America. And I was like, wow, they have free coffee! Wow. They have free magazines? Wow. I can actually read them? Wow!

On job-hopping overseas:

Any experience in a new industry is really valuable because you learn the vocabulary of that industry. Working as an advertising copywriter, I learned you don’t call them words. You call them copy. I learned how to say all the advertising jargon terms in Chinese. I really learned a lot, a lot, a lot. Even if it was in a short amount of time.

Leslie Forman

Download the podcast or listen right now:

Jaclyn Schiff is managing editor of Brazen Life. When she’s not Brazenly thinking about careers, she can often be found writing or tweeting about obscure diseases or media trends.


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  3. Jrandom42

    How about joining the miltary, the State Dept or the CIA? 🙂

  4. Antonk

    Working abroad is a dream for some people. It was very cool for me. Your post is very valuable, very difficult for someone who just graduated to get a job, moreover working abroad. I asked permission to share this information on my blog. Thank you

  5. name

    What book is she talking about? I cannot make sense of it because of the echo.

    • Leslie Forman

      Hi! Thanks so much for your comment. Sorry about the echo… Skype tends to do that!

      The book I referenced is Delaying the Real World, by Colleen Kinder –

      I bought myself the book while I was still in college. It has hundreds of ideas for out-of-the-box-but-financially-feasible things to do, that don’t involve going to law school or sitting in a cubicle in your hometown.

      From this book I found out about CIEE Teach in China – – the program that brought me to China for the first time to teach English at a university. She also talks about fellowships, volunteer opportunities, internships, guide jobs, and so much more. Highly recommended.

      Full disclosure: Colleen is now a good friend of mine. I didn’t know her when I read her book, but I emailed her at one point to thank her for helping me make such a life-changing decision. She put me on her email list, and earlier this year she reached out to me and dozens of other friends in a Kickstarter campaign to fund her second book, about Americans living overseas. Coincidentally, I was able to contribute a few bucks toward her trip to Beijing, where I was living! We hung out a lot in Beijing, and I introduced her to plenty of friends to interview for the book. The world of twenty-something globetrotters is so small!

      You can read more of Colleen’s work at

      • name/amrita

        Thanks for the reply Leslie! I’m going to try for Teaching in China or Spain through the website for next year! And grab the book and start reading 🙂

        I’m 24 and consulting for a big finance firm. But I wanna be among those twenty-something globetrotters asap !! Thanks for sharing your story, I’ve also subscribed to your blog, motivational stuff 🙂

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  8. marriage registration

    you must have faced lots of problems because of the language barrier. It must have been good feeling to be back in america and your home town.

  9. Alexa Hart

    Wow, what an fantastic interview! So many great points made. Amazing to see a twenty-something doing so much abroad and getting involved in global opportunities. Leslie is an inspiration. I hope others will listen to her story and be inspired too!

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