Black Women in Europe, Inside View

An Unexpected Road to Life in Europe

In the 10th article in the “Inside View” series, Terra Robinson shares how education lead to her life in Europe.

During my undergraduate days, I decided to do a semester abroad programme in England. Little did I know this experience would be the spark that led to me living, studying and working in Europe for most of my adult life (thus far).

After graduating with my BA and spending a few years of working – mainly bouncing between Atlanta, New York and London – I decided to get my Master’s degree. My undergraduate experience studying abroad really left a mark on me. I was intrigued by the English teaching approach I experienced while studying abroad, so in 2007 I applied for graduate schools in the United States and the United Kingdom, ultimately ending up at King’s College London in the Fall of 2008.

After assuring my mother that I would be back in the United States by the end of Summer 2009, I spent a year in London exploring the city and studying international relations. While still a student, I applied for a six month competitive internship in Brussels. My work background was mainly communications (my undergraduate degree was in journalism) not international relations (the main focus of the organisation), so I figured my chances of getting the internship were slim to none.

But lo and behold, I was chosen for the internship, which didn’t start until a year after I finished my studies. So I had a choice to make: wait for a year and do the internship or try my luck at getting a paying job now and forgo the internship. I picked the first option. While filling the year-long gap between finishing my MA and starting my internship, I took a temporary job in London then relocated to France for six months to take intensive French courses (something I’d wanted to do for a while) and teach English part-time (something I’d done in the past), and spent some time with my family in Atlanta. At the end of my self-imposed gap year, I headed off to Brussels for what I thought would be a six month internship. It turned into a nearly 2.5 year stint (six months as an intern and nearly two more years as a consultant with the same organisation) in the city that bills itself as the capital of the European Union.

Funnily enough, my time in Brussels is what led me to my current job working as a corporate journalist for a Danish firm just outside of Copenhagen. Working in Brussels showed that I was comfortable working for an international organisation in a city far away from my family for an extended period of time – something I think came in handy when my boss was shortlisting and interviewing candidates for the position. A year and a half after moving to Denmark, I just passed the six year mark of living in Europe. What was meant to be a one year stint in London ended up being much more – and ended up taking me to countries I never even considered living in.

Terra Robinson

Terra Robinson is an American Black Chick in Europe. She chronicles her time living, working and travelling in Europe through the filters of being an American, a woman and black. One part travel, one part expat and one part personal blog, American Black Chick in Europe serves up tidbits and information about life in Europe straight up with no chasers. Having lived in Europe since 2008, with stints in England, France, Belgium, and currently Denmark, this American Black Chick in Europe seeks to demystify what she affectionately refers to as these crazy Europeans.

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