Life Begins at the End of Your Comfort Zone: An Interview with Pouneh Eftekhari


Remember when I was on the hunt for some badass interns? Well, I found them and want to show them off! I asked each one of them to answer a few questions so that you can get to know who they are and why they want to be in International Education. Join me each Friday as Inside Study Abroad showcases a different intern. To kick it off, this week meet Pouneh Eftekhari !

What excites you most about a career in international education?

My love affair with all things global started at a young age. I was just 5 when I got my first passport and had traveled to seven countries before the age of 18. Since then, I’ve added 20 more countries to my ‘Places Visited’ list; studied abroad in France and Spain while at the University of Minnesota (Go Gophers!); completed an Erasmus Mundus master’s program in Denmark, which took me to Spain for a semester abroad (I swear I’m not making this up!); taught English in Turkey and worked as an international education professional providing services to outgoing and incoming university students at American, Danish, and Spanish universities.

What I love most about this field is having the opportunity to facilitate meaningful global experiences with personal/professional development - whether it’s at home or abroad. I love it so much I even blog about it at!

Which one would you choose: interview with your dream job, or free trip to dream country/city?

That’s easy: I’d interview with my dream job because I will eventually find a way to get to my dream country or city, but it will probably be much harder to get an interview for my dream job (which would pay to wine and dine with interesting people in different cities around the world).

If you had to use one tagline for the rest of your life, what would it be and why?

It took me a long time to realize that this was - or rather should be - my tagline. Thankfully, I have implemented it for nearly a decade now and the result has been life-changing:

"Life begins at the end of your comfort zone." - Neale Donald Walsch

If you could time-travel, what time period would you visit, what would you do or see, and why?

This is the most difficult question to answer because I think I’d want to visit everywhere before globalization transformed cities into cosmopolitan hubs. I’d love the chance to experience the arts scene in 1920s Paris or see my parents’ home country of Iran pre-1979. If I’m lucky and act quickly, I’ll get my chance to experience something similar by getting myself down to Cuba before they get a Starbucks!

Who would be your travel companion and why? Real life or not.

As cheesy as this sounds, my husband is the best travel companion for me because our styles are exactly the same: we love history (he even majored in it!), architecture, exploring a new place without a map, and learning about new cultures through food. But if he were too busy to travel with me, I'd love to travel with someone whose travel style was radically different than mine so that I could experience new places in a way I wouldn’t normally dream from the back of a motorcycle or by hitchhiking my way around a country.

Want to learn more about Pouneh? Connect with her online! You can find her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn.

Be sure to check back next week to meet another badass intern!