Leesa Truesdell is a hard-working entrepreneur and the founder of Dreams Abroad. She has worked diligently to get this website off the ground after her grandmother passed. Leesa finds inspiration from her time teaching abroad in Madrid, Spain. She loves to connect with friends (both old and new) over everyday travel woes and triumphs. This passion developed into the community that is the backbone of Dreams Abroad. From a small handful of expats to a collection of beautiful contributors that continues to grow every day, Dreams Abroad has expanded beyond any expectations Leesa had.
Now, Leesa manages Dreams Abroad while also maintaining a full-time job at Florida State University in the International Student and Scholar Office. She has exciting personal and professional plans scheduled for the rest of the year and is excited to share her updates with the Dreams Abroad family!
What have you been up to since moving back to the United States?
“When I moved back to the U.S., I moved to Tallahassee and began working with international students at Florida State University. I assist students with questions on how to maintain their immigration status while studying on their F-1 visa. I also provide assistance on campus by acting as a liaison for our international students and their academic departments. If departments have questions, oftentimes they call our office.”
What is your best Dreams Abroad memory?
“I have many memories that I would call favorites. The initial start-up phases in Madrid are some of my most special memories. One of my fondest memories was the day a friend and I sat at my laptop and started thinking of website names right after my grandma passed away. At the time, I was grieving but I was also using the grief to be proactive. Starting the Dreams Abroad website helped in many ways. I have many special moments and times abroad with forever friends who will always be part of Dreams Abroad.”
What are your future plans?
“I tend to live from moment to moment. Right now, I am planning to continue to live and work in Tallahassee. Dreams Abroad will continue to grow to its full potential. Meanwhile, I would really like to live abroad again one day in the future. We will see where it takes me.”
What would you say to someone interested in traveling abroad to teach, work, study, or just to travel ?
“I waited a long time to travel abroad mainly because I was afraid of the unknown. Furthermore, I was tied to family and did not want to leave my grandma in her later years of life. I took a chance leaving and have realized that even though she passed while I was living abroad, the way in which things happened, happened. I saw my Tata for the last time on Christmas Eve — her favorite day of the year. She was playing the piano and smiling and the music was bouncing from wall to wall. I remember her that way — a very good way.
Take the chance, feel the fear, and let your heart guide you. Keep going and try not to second guess your decision. Be the best version of yourself that you can be because you only have one life to live.”
A Look Ahead at the Future
Leesa will begin a new chapter of her life this summer working at the Center for Intensive English Studies (CIES) as an immigration advisor and instructor. She is really excited for the future and getting back into teaching since it is something that she has always been passionate about. Leesa has been building the Dreams Abroad community since the start and wants it to continue to grow and flourish in an organic way. Stay tuned for more from Leesa!