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Mary Ellen Dingley

Mary Ellen Dingley Meaningful Travel Insider (MTI)

"We travel, some of us forever, to seek other states, other lives, other souls" - Anaïs Nin

Mary Ellen first knew she wanted to travel the world when she was 8 years old, staying up past her bedtime to read stories about international adventures. She has since worked, volunteered, and studied in five different countries, including receiving a Masters from the London School of Economics. Mary Ellen currently works in DC at the intersection of cultural anthropology, international development, and gender equality.  

Articles By Mary Ellen Dingley

What to Do After Teaching English Abroad  Published 28 May 2018

Congrats on finishing your teaching placement! You’re probably exhausted, but also feeling accomplished. When done well, teaching can take a lot of your energy and even more so when you’re navigating a new culture abroad. About to be done with your tea...

International Visas: What You Need to Know Published 24 Apr 2018

Oh, the visa process. It can be painless or a nightmare, but it’s usually just a slight inconvenience for travelers. Tons of us go through it, and so can you! Still, you need to be sure you check off every one of the requirements when you apply for an ...

Does Learning Foreign Languages Matter in a Nationalist Society? Published 19 Mar 2018

Do you speak more than one language? Are you a U.S. citizen? If you answered yes to both then you are in the minority. The U.S. not only trails the rest of the world in language learning, but current political trends seem to be pushing it away from eng...

Here’s What You Need to Know to Volunteer in Cuba Published 13 Mar 2018

You might have heard a lot about Cuba in the news as the thawing-then-freezing-a-little-again U.S.-Cuban relationships pushed the Caribbean country into the spotlight. Cuba is a beautiful country, with a unique culture that has been somewhat sheltered ...

What to Look for in Government Programs to Teach English Abroad Published 22 Feb 2018

So you want to teach English abroad, and you’re a little overwhelmed by all the options. Maybe you’ve heard a lot about some of these big, popular government programs—teaching assistants in Spain! Volunteering in Chile! EPIK in South Korea! JET in Japa...

Why You SHOULDN’T Teach English Without Certification Published 10 Jan 2018

So you think you might want to teach English abroad, huh? But you don’t have experience and you also keep hearing about this pesky little thing called a “certification.” But you don’t need that, right? This is about adventure! Hold your English-speakin...

What to Look for in ESL Teaching Jobs Published 18 Oct 2017

Looking for a change? Wonder if teaching is for you? Do you love the English language? Do you have a bit of wanderlust? Then find yourself an ESL teaching job! Teaching ESL abroad is a great way improve your teaching skills or try teaching for the firs...

TEFL Certification Online vs. Classes: Which is Right For You? Published 25 Sep 2017

Do you love explaining new concepts to others? Do you feel at home in a classroom? Does the English language fill you with joy rather than frustration? Then teaching English abroad could be an amazing option for you! Whether you are an experienced teac...

The Who, What, Where, When & Why of Voluntary Work Abroad Published 06 Sep 2017

Voluntary work is about helping others. It’s not about you. But, that doesn’t mean you’re going to ignore what makes you, well, you – your skills, passions, and dreams are important, not to mention all the vital logistics stuff, like timing and finance...

Are Low Cost Volunteer Abroad Programs Really Worth It? Published 03 Aug 2017

So, you want to volunteer abroad, but you’re a bit strapped for cash. Well, like anyone would, you sit down at your desk and Google “cheap volunteer abroad programs,” and bam, results galore! But, as you start clicking on these options to save baby tur...

Can You Study Abroad in Grad School? Published 17 Jul 2017

Maybe you did a semester abroad in your undergraduate degree and it changed your whole perspective. Maybe you were too busy working or finishing up a double major to study abroad, but you wish you had the chance. Maybe study abroad simply wasn’t on you...

What Do You Get Out of Volunteering Abroad? Published 27 Jun 2017

This article might make you mad— at least, if you’re looking for a sweet and gushing tale of swooping into a faraway village to save poor people and see the world in new ways. This is not one of those articles. Volunteering abroad did make me see the w...

An Open Letter to Men Who Don’t Think Study Abroad is For Them Published 17 May 2017

Why men should study abroadDear Men,You should study abroad. It’s amazing.Sincerely,  p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; line-height: 20.0px; font: 15.0px Arial; -webkit-text-stroke: #000000} span.s1 {text-decoration: line-through ; fon...

8 #HireMe Critical Foreign Languages to Learn Abroad Published 18 Jul 2017

Why you should learn a foreign language?Do you dream of learning a language abroad? Well, guess what— Uncle Sam wants YOU to learn critical foreign languages! What do we mean by “critical” foreign languages? It’s not a language that harshly criticizes ...

Find a Teaching Job Abroad in Summer 2018 Published 31 Jul 2017

Teaching abroad is a fantastic way to see the world and immerse yourself in a new culture. What better way to spend a free holiday than by teaching abroad in summer 2018-2019? Whether you are trying out teaching as a career or using it as a vehicle to ...

10 “Holy SMOKES I’m Applying to Graduate School Abroad” Tips Published 27 Dec 2016

Applying to graduate school abroad is exciting, but also arduous. It has all the necessary steps of any university application – forms, essays, and financial aid – but it’s also in a different country, so there are visas and laws to know about as well ...

Top 9 Countries for International Development Internships Abroad Published 01 Dec 2016

You might be wondering if international development internships are really what you’re looking for. Does your chosen field or focus fall under the larger umbrella term “international development?” What is international development, anyway? Well, It’s t...

8 Reasons All Students Should Register to Vote From Abroad Published 01 Nov 2016

It’s a presidential election year in the United States, and that is all many Americans and non-Americans can talk about. In our globalized world, an election in one country doesn’t just affect that country; from trade deals to defense treaties, one cou...

Here’s Why Your Study Abroad Advisor is Just Not That Into You Published 17 Oct 2016

Study abroad advisors are the rock stars of the study abroad process; they give you the individual attention and study abroad advice you need to find a program that fits your interests. They also guide you through the (at times) overwhelming process of...

Can I Work While Earning my Degree Abroad? Published 10 Oct 2016

You’ve been accepted into your dream school abroad! Congratulations! But, getting your degree abroad costs you a lot of cash – so you, might be thinking, do I buy a lottery ticket and hope for the best? Search for buried pirate treasure? Or, you know, ...

The 8 Types of People You'll Meet While Volunteering Abroad Published 28 Sep 2016

International volunteering is a great way to meet people from all sorts of backgrounds, from students and backpackers to local leaders. Volunteer programs overseas must always prioritize how we can best help the local community, rather than the volunte...

6 Unusual Places to Earn a Law Degree Abroad Published 06 Sep 2016

What's the difference between a good lawyer and a bad lawyer? A bad lawyer makes your case drag on for years. A good lawyer makes it last even longer. HAH! Where will your international law degree take you?Jokes aside, getting a law degree is an excit...

7 Underrated Countries to Earn Your Degree Abroad Published 24 Aug 2016

So, you’re considering getting your degree abroad! Hurrah! You’re ready to further your education and find some international adventure at the same time. Maybe you’re looking for a shorter undergraduate degree or a master’s that’s cheaper than tuition ...

Brexit's Impact on International Education & Student Mobility Published 17 Aug 2016

You’ve probably already heard a lot about Brexit, the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union. The British people voted 52 percent to 48 percent to leave the EU, with those voting “Leave” citing motivations of “Euroscepticism,” such as the EU tak...

6 Stages of Being A First-Time Traveler Abroad Published 01 Aug 2016

The first time in an immersive travel experience, especially one that lasts a few months like study abroad, can be a real shock. Culture shock abounds, often made worse by jetlag and language barriers, but after you overcome the initial shock there are...

The Difference Between Volunteering & Interning Abroad Published 25 Jul 2016

So you want to volunteer or intern abroad? Awesome! Both are great opportunities for growth, exploration, serving others, and look good on your resume, but which one is the best fit for you? Volunteering and interning can often appear to be essentially...

How to Find an Effective Volunteer Program in Haiti Published 15 Jul 2016

Haiti is, simply put, struggling. As of 2015, half the population was considered vulnerable, cholera was still infecting millions, and over a quarter of the population did not have access to the food they needed to survive. Not only that, but Haiti is ...

5 Things Nobody Tells You About Getting a Degree Abroad Published 04 Jul 2016

We’re sorry to report that pursuing your degree abroad is not all Animal House style bedsheet toga parties and tomfoolery, but did you honestly expect it live up to Jim Belushi’s collegiate fantasies? Getting a degree abroad is an amazing and valuable ...

These 9 Books Make Great Travel Companions Published 27 Jun 2016

A book is a perfect travel companion; they don’t run out of battery and don’t need charging, they won’t be stolen out of your pocket while in an unfamiliar city, and they won’t judge you if you haven’t been able to shower in a while. But of course, if ...

9 Completely Unprofessional Moves While ESL Teaching Abroad Published 01 Jun 2016

You’ve landed a great gig teaching abroad, and you want to be a successful teacher! You know that your new teaching position is a job, a professional job, and you plan to treat it like one. So after the initial excitement of flying to your host country...

Avoid Travel Snobbery After Your Degree Abroad Program Published 17 May 2016

I’ve often found myself being that obnoxious person in conversations who chimes in with “Well, when I was studying in Peru,” or “I had something similar happen when I got my degree in London!” Nobody likes that person, as my siblings pointed out (I ret...

6 Things I Learned Volunteering Abroad in Peru   Published 11 May 2016

Volunteering abroad taught me all sorts of hands on, full-color, immersive lessons that I could not have experienced in a classroom. Volunteering in Peru, a country that sparked my imagination since I was very young, was a dream come true. I loved anci...

6 Reasons to Consider Your Gap Year Options After High School Published 03 May 2016

Gap years are a spectacular way to explore and learn about life between high school and college. Many countries even encourage gap years, and there are tons of benefits to taking them, despite all the assumptions that society often forces upon those th...

5 Rookie Mistakes to Avoid When Working Abroad for the First Time Published 25 Apr 2016

Working abroad is a great way to gain a career edge in this globalizing economy; of course, it’s also a great way to grow as a person (and to travel!). But after getting notification that you’re hired for your first international job, you can’t rest on...

5 Years Later: What I Really Learned from Study Abroad Published 07 Apr 2016

Oh, the memories of little me, traipsing off to study abroad in Lima, Peru, bright eyed and idealistic and utterly enamored with the entire idea of immersive travel. I was so excited, I think I was glowing, maybe even sending off sparks while seated in...

9 Reasons Why We Love Health Volunteers Published 05 Apr 2016

Today, we take the time to celebrate our health volunteers! You don’t have to be in the KNOW to know that healthcare volunteers rock, and they are so very important.  The World Health Organization reports that there is a dire need for health workers b...

Should I Book a Tour or Travel Alone? Published 29 Mar 2016

Travel planning calls for many decisions. Where to go, what to do, how much money to save? Another question you should not neglect to ask yourself is: Should I book a tour or travel alone? How can I size up solo travel vs group travel? Booking tours, e...

Entry Level Jobs Abroad: What, How, & Where Published 15 Feb 2016

“So, what’s next for you?” quickly becomes the dreaded question for soon-to-be college graduates. You envy the people with a plan: a job lined up, graduate school, creating an app startup in Silicon Valley that connects you to pettable puppies in your ...

8 Things to Consider Before Volunteering in Peru  Published 19 Jan 2016

There is generally A LOT to think about before volunteering abroad anywhere in the world, and when it comes to volunteering in Peru, there are many different programs to sift through. Supply has risen to meet demand, because who doesn’t get excited whe...