Graduation date: 2015


Areas of study while enrolled at OU: Spanish Language & Literature, Economics, Environmental Studies

Brian Vadakin

Current professional role: Fulbright Student Researcher in Costa Rica


How has your academic or extracurricular experience impacted your career path?

Since high school, my extracurricular experiences have helped me realize where I thrive: one-on-one contact with stakeholders, writing about people’s experiences, and working with residents to help build up communities. My academic path at Ohio University gave me the tools to do that in Spanish as well as English, and to work not only locally, but nationally and internationally as well.


What, if anything, has surprised you about the direction your career path has taken?

I think that for most of my time at Ohio University, I didn’t realize how many forces–and opportunities to create meaningful change and development–were at work on a local level in communities. I thought, more or less, that all good things came from the top-down. Working in local journalism, service, and Athens Co. community development made me aware of the different ways one can work to improve communities.


What was the biggest challenge you faced during the job-search process and how did you overcome that?

My U.S. Fulbright grant does not end until July, so I only started the “job” search in January of this year and have yet to find permanent employment. So I suppose I can’t give much of a thoughtful answer here…the hardest part for me has been keeping my head up and pushing through even when employers exhibit poor communication practices (i.e. not returning calls or emails). I’ll let you know when I overcome it and am finally employed.


What is your favorite thing about post-grad life?brain3

I recognize that this post-grad experience is different from some others, but my favorite thing so far has been the ability to dive deep into the culture of Costa Rica, establish a new friend network, search out hobbies, do research and volunteer work–all while living in another language! It’s been challenging but very rewarding.


If you could go back and tell your college-self one thing, what would it be?

This year I’ve learned that not everybody has the same path, and it’s okay to not follow the pre-determined path and career advice that is often laid out for us. If the traditional path doesn’t work for you, or you’re not accepted into the dream internship or grad program, find something you enjoy doing and work hard at it. I caught some flack my freshman year for majoring in Spanish Lang & Lit, but here I am getting paid to research and live in Costa Rica for 10 months…life works out all right.


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