Shirley Yeh is living abroad in Cleveland (USA).

I am a Girl Gone International because…

I am a dedicated and focused individual who is committed to traveling the world and making great memories with others around the globe. I was born and raised in Ohio but spent the last six years teaching ESL in Germany, Costa Rica, and the bulk in South Korea. I discovered GGI in South Korea and was able to meet an array of amazing people. I would like to contribute and keep being a part of this wonderful community.

Where do you live or where are you right now and why?

Since my last contract did not pan out well in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia I came back home to Cleveland to get some things in order. I attended a few education classes and now am in training to be a fully licensed teacher in the US.

What makes your GGI so special?

Even though our group may not be the largest we are starting to get a close knit group community of women who are open, full of suggestions, and want to help each other out. It is a mix of members who all come from different places and are at different stages in their lives. Through our events we essentially are creating great friendships where we can be there for one another, whether it is by giving emotional support or great tips.

How has GGI affected or impacted your life or the lives of others?

It has really helped me transition from being overseas to coming back to the US. Just being able to find other women who enjoy embracing cultures different from our own and helping each other really has been a breath of fresh air.

What it is like living in your city as a GGI (ups and downs)?

The midwest can be a tough place to connect with others since the majority of people who are from Ohio generally spend their time with family and close childhood/work friends. Not many people will go out of their way to meet people they have no link to. This can be tricky which is why having GGI available really helps those who are new to Cleveland or want to branch out and meet others.

Knowing what you know now, about this lifestyle, about the world and yourself. What would you go back and tell your younger self?

I could say that I wish I would have known all of the things myself now knows but it wouldn’t get me anywhere. We make decisions based on what we believe is best for ourselves at that crucial moment in our lives. Ones’ experience whether they are good or bad help shape and mould us therefore I believe it’s best to concentrate on the present and our future.

What does ‘community’ mean to you?

“A group of people living in the same place or having a particular characteristic in common” OR “A feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals.” Basically the opposite of living like a hermit by yourself in the middle of nowhere only relying on yourself with no support of any kind what so ever.

What keeps you living far from where you started?

Seeing where I started versus where I am today with all of the great experiences that I have gained really does indeed keep me pushing forward. Through traveling and meeting amazing people.

How do you get involved in the local community you find yourself in?

When I’ve moved into a new area I usually do some research and prepare myself before I arrive. I will either contact some friends or forums where I can chat with people who are already living in the city. Once I’m in said city I then like to explore and learn about the community while trying to find groups that have the same interests as myself. This can be a meetup, gym, or club of some sort.

What are your thoughts on ‘settling down’?

Settling down can mean to become quiet, calm, or orderly or to begin to live a quiet and steady life by getting a regular job, getting married, having children etc. I am nowhere near in my life ready for quiet. It should be obnoxiously loud and exciting.

What does ‘home’ mean to you?

Home to me is not a place but with people. My home is my family and friends who are sprinkled across the globe in different cities.

How can you make a ‘home’ wherever you find yourself?

Get to know the lay of the land, language, customs, and as soon as possible be involved with a community/club that has similar or the same interests as you. I also learned from a friend who commented once that an apartment should have a few pictures somewhere that can be seen otherwise you look like a psychopath.

Any thoughts on friendship and making friends as a Girl Gone International? 

If you are looking for a platform to meet other women who have amazing experiences to share and create long lasting friendships from around the world, Girl Gone International is a great community to be a part of!

Where do you hang out in the city of cleveland?

West Side Market, Chinatown, Little Italy, Coventry

What piece of advice would you give a girl wanting to go international?

Do it! Don’t hesitate just dive right in. You will thank yourself and it will be a great learning experience.

What is your life’s motto?

“Live and let live.”- Snehal Chokandre “Be happy!”-Anne Koelewijn! “Life is an adventure. Live it!”-Shirley Yeh “Pura Vida”

Any love stories?

A lot of them involved running towards soft sandy exotic beaches with mango daiquiris or coconut water waiting for me to love them.

What are your favourite haunts in your current city for the perfect evening out?

4th St., the Flats, Lakewood, Coventry, University Circle, Little Italy

Describe your philosophy on life?

A perfect life is living an adventure.

community expat

By Shirley Yeh

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