Leah Shoup is a Spanish-English research translator who also runs the travel blog GringaJourneys.com. Inspired by her passion for foreign languages, Leah was motivated to move abroad to Santiago, Chile and find a way to share her experiences with others. Leah is our #WCW because she radiates determination, persistence, and purposefulness. Leah excels at pursing her dreams, even when others tried to deter her. Leah proves that no dream has limitations, as long as one has the drive to make that dream a reality.
1. What's your story? What makes you unique?
I’ve always been extremely determined (and some may even say stubborn). While this was a negative quality as a teenager, it actually ended up helping me define a unique career path. I have never really been interested in a 9-5 career and even when everyone told me that there was no other way, I fought against settling down and staying in one place.
2. What motivates you?
My desire to learn. I’ve always been extremely inquisitive and this quality only began to flourish as I started learning foreign languages. I love history and languages, and traveling has always been a way to see my favorite things in real life. There’s so much that I want to understand and to be able to appreciate for myself.
3. Who is a hero of yours?
Gloria Atanmo. Glo is a travel blogger at theblogabroad.com and has been a huge inspiration for me. She has found a way to successfully live out her dreams and do it on her own terms without having to settle for what is “normal.” Glo is a published author and has this light about her that makes you feel like you can achieve anything.
4. Give us a road map of your career. How did you get to where you are today?
I began to study Spanish as a 9th grader and was inspired by my high school Spanish teacher, Ms. Poole, to continue with my studies into college. I started school at the University of Georgia in 2010 as a Spanish major and loved my classes so much that I ended up finishing my bachelor’s in 3 years. I then completed a 1-year Master’s program in translation and interpreting at Wake Forest University. After finishing my Master’s, I took the plunge and moved to Santiago, Chile, where everything seemed to fall into place, culminating with me finding my remote translation job in a Facebook group.
5. What's your future plan? Your goals?
At this moment everything is a bit up in the air as far as what’s next. Nonetheless, I know that I want to continue traveling as much as possible. I have a trip to Colombia in December and I’ll be returning to Chile again for a road trip in February. As far as goals, I’d like to continue improving my second and third languages (Spanish and Portuguese) and maybe even add a fourth language to my skill set!
6. If you could give one piece of advice, what would it be?
Everything will work out in the end. I’ve dealt with a lot of uncertainty and self-doubt in the past couple of years. If I’ve learned anything, it’s to just have faith. Don’t overstress yourself, everything is going to be okay. Maybe not today, but eventually, everything will be okay.
7. What is something you feel strongly about (a cause, belief, etc.)?
I believe that in the importance of learning a second language. Not only will it help your employment prospects, but you’ll be able to understand another culture on a completely different level. Fun fact: did you know that there are actually more bilingual people in the world than monolingual people? If you only speak one language, you are actually a minority!
8. What's one of the coolest things you've ever done?
I spent the month of February in Florianópolis, Brazil doing a Portuguese immersion program. I had the best time exploring a new destination on my own and getting to take my Portuguese to the next level. I also got to celebrate Carnaval in true Brazilian fashion.
If you would like to reach out to Leah Shoup for mentoring/networking opportunities, you can reach her HERE.