SEATTLE — When Jamie Van Horne was looking for the next challenge in her busy career, she wanted some international experience and she wanted to make an impact.
“Instead of an MBA program, I wanted to take about six to eight months and do the travel and get the first-hand experience,” she says.
With the help of Seattle-based Moving Worlds, Van Horne soon found herself “experteering” in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
What -- you might be asking -- is experteering?
“Experteering is literally just the combination of the words volunteering and expertise,” said Mark Horoszowski, co-founder of Moving Worlds. “But I think it really represents this bigger idea of giving what you're best at in a way that makes a sustainable change ... and also helps you grow as a person.”
Moving Worlds has been described as a combination of the Peace Corps and an online dating site. The No. 1 reason people seek an experteering adventure may be to see the world, but Horoszowski sees all kinds of motives.
“A big one that we probably see the most is this idea of ‘I want to find purpose. What makes me come alive?’ and 'What type of experiences help me feel that?’" he said.
Since 2012, Moving Worlds has helped more than 500 people go experteering, sharing 7 million dollars worth of skills with social impact organizations.
“But more than just matching people to projects, we guide them through all the necessary steps to plan a safe trip and also use that experience in a way to reflect, to grow, and use it so that when they return home from their experteering trip they can continue to build on that experience,” Horoszowski said.
Looking back, Van Horne says her experteering adventure changed her life and the trajectory of her career.
“If somebody has the opportunity to take the time, a few weeks even, but especially a few months really immersing themselves and volunteering for an organization I think it not only propels you in a new direction but it can really be life-changing for that organization as well.”
If experteering sounds like something you'd like to try, there are costs involved, but some corporations -- like Microsoft -- have actually picked up the tab for employees.