Jeremy Freedman - Founder
Global Nomadic exists to help travelers, young professionals, and career-changers find affordable and ethical projects in a wide variety of fields by matching them with reputable and worthwhile projects all over the world. Jeremy Freedman founded Global Nomadic after volunteering abroad several times and seeing a need for a pre-professional volunteer program.
You founded Global Nomadic with the intention of furthering student’s careers with meaningful projects around the world. How does volunteering and interning abroad set participants apart from other job seekers?
Those who are willing to travel to far flung destinations, and put their skills to test in unfamiliar environments, set themselves apart from all others as they are pushing themselves out of their comfort zone, and showing they can adapt to any environment. If you are brave and flexible enough to work in a completely different culture, environment, and even language, then future employers will see that you are dynamic and flexible, very strong qualities for any company.
You volunteered in both Africa and South America before founding Global Nomadic. Was there a specific incident that convinced you to create your own organization?
When I first arrived in West Africa, I was very eager to find an NGO to work for and gain experience in the field. After knocking on many doors, I found a wonderful organisation in Brikama, The Gambia. This experience convinced me that there are so many amazing organisations around the world, and very few ways to find them and offer your skills. This “incident” is what convinced me of the need for Global Nomadic.
You mentioned that it was especially difficult coming back to the UK and not being able to find a “meaningful” job. Besides volunteering abroad, do you have any other tips for dealing with reverse culture shock?
I think the best way to deal with reverse culture shock is to stay committed to your cause and not give up. If you have had an amazing time abroad and really want to continue your international experience, do not get sucked back into getting a job back home. Have a clear plan to work for X amount of time or raise X amount of money, then be committed to purchasing your flight and getting back out there. It is very easy to get stuck back at home, even though you know your calling is further afield. Having this goal helped me to stay focused and not feel too much reverse culture shock.
UK travelers commonly go abroad for a gap year. Global Nomadic has specific programs for the gap year traveler, can you tell us a little bit more about those?
We offer a wide variety of programmes tailored to most people’s career aspirations. Our projects have been specifically chosen as they are serious opportunities with worthwhile organisations, designed to help you change your world outlook, whilst making a difference to the project and community you work with.
Paid international internships are rare. What Global Nomadic’s International Recruitment program?
This is something we are looking to develop. As you say, it is difficult to find paid internships, but not impossible. Currently, our most popular paid programmes are for paid teaching, specifically in English. We are finding more types of placements all of the time; watch this space!
Global Nomadic offers a unique program where volunteers can help manage an NGO. How do you avoid problems with a Westerner coming in to run a local NGO?
The key here is that you are helping to run an NGO (not actually running it!). You are working alongside highly qualified and experienced local staff who will offer you an insight into how they run their NGO, giving you experience that may help you run your own NGO one day. It would not be right for an inexperienced person to run an organisation which can affect so many lives, we would not allow this.