Passion isn’t always as easy to come by as it seems. So when passion calls, you answer.
Arbie Baguios graduated from Ateneo de Manila University in 2012 thinking he was going to law school but life had other plans. In 2011, Arbie lived and backpacked around Europe. In 2012, he graduated with a degree in Development Studies and a hunger for more and more travel.
Despite what it may seem like, to travel is far from a selfish endeavor. Whatever change and enlightenment you get from seeing the world, you bring with you in what you become. Arbie’s journey began when he decided to bring together the two things he felt most passionate about: humanitarian work and traveling.
He started by gaining experience. Arbie started with interning and volunteering for various organizations, like Save the Children and Oxfam, in Thailand and Scotland. In 2013, he landed his first job in London as an intern for UNICEF. In 2014, he became a trainee for the National Council for Voluntary Organisations in England. Both of the jobs he got by simply applying online.
With the experience he’s had, he’s quick to admit something many people don’t know. The development/humanitarian sector is competitive. “Many young people trying to get into entry-level jobs in the sector usually have master’s degrees, internship experience, and field experience. So after I applied for my current job and went through a day-long selection process of interviews and various tests, I was extremely happy and grateful that the British Red Cross hired me!”
Now, Arbie lives and works in London – his home of two years. He’s been working with the British Red Cross (BRC) since January 2015 and, though he’s far away, the work he does is actually for fellow Filipinos. He shares, “I’m part of their Philippines team, where I work on the Typhoon Haiyan programme. Together with the Philippine Red Cross and other Red Cross societies around the world, BRC supports affected Filipino communities in recovering from the typhoon and becoming more resilient to future disasters.”
How did he get the job? Arbie applied online and coincidentally, he knew someone working in the organisation. A former colleague of his from Save the Children in Bangkok worked at BRC, and he put her down as a reference. On the job application process, Arbie says, “I think while knowing someone within the organization does not guarantee you a job, it certainly helps if they can vouch for you.”
Arbie’s online application landed him with his dream job. He describes his life like a gift. “I work with like-minded colleagues, who are all very capable and professional but whom I can also have a laugh with at the pub. I work on a programme that has a direct link to my own country; and sometimes I get to travel for work, too! I also enjoy living in the UK, particularly in London – I’m fascinated by its history and politics. I get to travel around Europe easily, hike outdoors a lot, and go to music festivals. Most importantly, London has one of the most diverse populations in the world – with all kinds of cultures and ways of living – that constantly inspires me and broadens my perspectives.”
All of this because he decided to change his planned path and follow where his travels would lead him. To step off your chosen path isn’t the mistake you think it’s going to be, especially if you follow your passion and your gut. Arbie advises to treat life much like traveling, “Have a vision but embrace uncertainty. Take risks… As the ‘local’ of your own life, I’m sure you’ll figure things out!”