Fashion What I Wore to Work

What I Wore to Work, Ashley Westpheling, Sculpture Teacher for an International Boarding School

What I Wore to Work, Ashley Westpheling, Sculpture Teacher for an International Boarding School

I am SO excited for our FIFTH profession profile within the What I Wore to Work collection at this time! (Missed the first four? Head right over here after you end studying as we speak’s submit!) 

In the event you’re new right here, a quick recap: What I Wore to Work is a collection featuring YOU! One part workwear type, one part career profile. I completely love hearing your unique tales and am endlessly inspired by the onerous work, danger and bravado that goes into chasing your goals. 

At this time we’ve got the distinction of assembly Ashley, who has the COOLEST job and career story. I feel plenty of us have fantasized about taking the leap and shifting to Europe at one level or one other in our lives, and Ashley has accomplished just that!

She’s an explorer, artistic, activist and traveler extraordinaire with an unimaginable story about dwelling outdoors of your consolation zone, figuring life out one step at a time and naturally, building a enjoyable and useful wardrobe on a price range. 


  • How she made the move to Europe. 
  • How she put herself out there and landed her dream job. 
  • Ideas for those trying to move and work overseas. 
  • Her greatest ideas for buying secondhand shops.
  • How she packs mild for a variety of occasions and climates. 
  • How her skilled profession path shifted after undergrad. 


Age: 27

City: Lugano, Switzerland

Job title + firm: Sculpture instructor for a world boarding faculty


I’m an American just ending up my Grasp’s degree in Dublin, Ireland, focusing on pressured migration and humanitarian action. I travel so much and that is the 4th nation I’ve lived in. I bounced round so much after my undergrad, however now I’m feeling fairly settled in Dublin (it helps quite a bit that my boyfriend is Irish). As much as I really like Dublin, I’ve had a blast spending the past 3 summers soaking up the sunshine in Switzerland and Italy.

What do you do for a dwelling? What does a typical day appear to be? 

I train sculpture at a boarding faculty for worldwide college students in Switzerland. It’s a summer time educational program and the scholars come from everywhere in the world to review for 1-2 months. I train courses in the mornings, then 3 occasions every week I supervise sports activities actions, which for me is often climbing and stand-up paddleboarding on a lovely lake in Northern Italy. 

Because it’s a residential program, the evenings are full of cultural occasions and activities, or if I’ve day without work, it’ll be a wine and cheese get together with my coworkers. The weekends are spent chaperoning faculty journeys to totally different cities in Switzerland and Italy, which is superb, however can typically be exhausting taking care of youngsters 24/7. 

That is really one of the best job I’ve ever had and I feel so fortunate. I studied art in my undergrad and then moved on to teach English in Prague, the place I then applied for this job. It’s loopy working 7 days every week for two months, but I wouldn’t change it for the world!

Here’s an example of something I’d put on in the classroom. It’s snug and I’m capable of move whereas still being applicable. 

Prime: Goal Common Thread (comparable), Pants: H&M (comparable), Sandals: Impanema

I’m just going to ask what shall be on everybody else’s thoughts. HOW does one get a cool job like this abroad!? What made you determine to move to Europe, and do you’ve any advice for somebody who needs to make that dream a actuality as nicely? 

It’s a operating joke with my coworkers that most individuals discover my faculty by way of a good friend or referral, the place as I discovered it via a collection of fortunate google searches (Assume: enjoyable jobs in Europe summer time, Swiss summer time camps, and so on.). In all seriousness though, I feel it’s nearly placing your self on the market and never being afraid to take dangers. I’ve had so many strange jobs that I never would have anticipated to seek out myself in. Some have been nice and a few not a lot, however I’ve all the time been glad for the experience even if it’s about learning what I don’t like in a job. I moved to Europe initially to teach English in Prague and I’ve stored going from there. I had barely traveled outdoors the USA as soon as I acquired on the aircraft to Czech Republic and I used to be terrified. Like virtually didn’t go, terrified. Luckily taking that leap has given me numerous confidence for future endeavors. I’d encourage anyone who’d like to maneuver abroad to provide it a shot for at the very least a yr! It’s such a life-enriching experience that modifications the best way you see the world. 

I want it have been easier for People to move abroad, however unfortunately, with visa restrictions in the EU it may be really tough. Undoubtedly do your research before deciding where you’d wish to go. I do know Spain has some great packages for native English speakers, and Prague has a whole lot of TEFL certification faculties. Both that or an inter-company transfer is your greatest guess. I’d advocate going into a corporation or group that’s already in place for expats. The expat group you type will probably be your lifeline at first — from discovering the most effective bars, to understanding which grocery stores carry chips and salsa.  

Linen t-shirts and Allbirds are God sends when chaperoning journeys within the blazing warmth of Rome! 

Shirt: Thrifted-Hogan (comparable), Skirt: Thrifted-Previous Navy (comparable), Sneakers: Allbirds

How would you describe your personal fashion at work? How do you strike the stability between dressing like yourself while remaining professional? 

Ladies in Europe have a tendency to dress very fashionably so I undoubtedly up my recreation for the summer time, but as an artwork instructor I have to put on garments that may get messy AND are applicable to wear around teenagers. It’s additionally actually scorching and there’s no air con so breeziness is certainly factored in — haha! 

My faculty has a strict, but casual gown code for college kids, and academics are inspired to steer by example. This implies no ripped denims or giant branded labels, and displaying respect by dressing up for cultural occasions. I’m going for lots of midi skirts and flat sandals or sneakers and unfastened pants with a fitted prime. I purpose to buy ethically and sustainably when attainable so I’d say half my wardrobe is secondhand or ethically-sourced. It’s not all the time possible as I’m working on a decent price range, but I attempt.

You talked about you like to buy ethically and sustainably when potential, what ideas can you share on scouring secondhand shops for one of the best items? 

I do know some individuals find secondhand buying overwhelming or frustrating, however that couldn’t be farther from the reality for me. I consider it as a meditative activity. I all the time go alone and put in headphones to take heed to good music whereas I type by way of the racks. My largest tip can be to shop by shade or material as an alternative of measurement. As most girls are accustomed to, sizing is completely whack anyhow, particularly if you think about clothes which may have shrunk or altered over time. It’s much quicker to only breeze via the garments and pull out what grabs your eye by the color, or should you really feel a pleasant material, like silk or cashmere. Should you’re crafty, it’s fairly straightforward to repair small holes or absorb straps or hems to get an ideal match — YouTube is your pal for that one.

Lastly, I’d say it’s essential to seek out the appropriate retailer for you. I are likely to avoid the vintage-specific outlets because they are often picked over. The most effective secondhand store is one frequented by previous women because you gained’t be purchasing for the same garments, but they’ll possible have donated some vintage gems that they might like to be put to good use!

(Jess’ tip: Websites like eBay or Poshmark are also nice for scoring second-hand gadgets from manufacturers you already love buying!) 

On days I know I’ll be getting messy I all the time put on my “paint garments” 

Shirt: Previous-obviously (comparable) 😂 Pants: Thrifted- H&M (comparable)

It feels like your job takes you on a ton of adventures! How do you navigate going from a faculty cocktail hour to main a climbing trip within the alps whereas sustaining your private type? All whereas packing mild!? 

Versatility is vital! It’s been stated one million occasions before, but think of items that may be dressed up or down relying on the setting. Also minimizing footwear and luggage makes the most important difference. I usually convey my Kanken backpack and a smaller bag (recently it’s been my goal crossbody). I also maintain a fold up tote bag for random purchases in my backpack. For footwear all you want are sneakers and a pair of nicer sandals!

I get to chaperone numerous faculty dances all year long and this one occurred on an enormous boat that we employed for the night time. The views are superb, but the college students are all the time completely unimpressed by my dance moves 😉

Gown: Classic, thrifted (comparable)  

I do know my GG Readers shall be curious to hear about your scholar work visa and what the appliance process was wish to nail down a job while learning abroad. Are you able to share any ideas with that? 

Scholar visas are the right foot in the door in case you’re trying to transfer abroad. Degrees are WAY cheaper in Europe, they usually’re actively recruiting worldwide students, so in the event you’ve ever needed to return to high school that can be a fantastic choice. Usually, your scholar visa will restrict your work hours through the faculty yr, however it can be an amazing opportunity to discover a fun summer time job!

Now that I have my Grasp’s, I have a two-year work visa in Ireland which is value its weight in gold after pursuing so many troublesome visa processes up to now. 


(Notice–lots of Ashley’s gadgets are second-hand/thrifted, however we’ve linked comparable gadgets you can purchase new! For used gadgets, I’d advocate taking a look at eBay and Poshmark!) 

High Prime Sneakers 

Consolation is vital for me and you may’t beat Allbirds! 

Kanken Backpack 

A staple that I exploit each single day. These are tremendous well-liked these days for a cause. They’re durable whereas still being cute and individuals are all the time stunned by how a lot I can fit in it! I really feel simply as snug bringing it mountaineering as I do to class or to the workplace. 

Vast-Leg Pants

Breezy while still being absolutely coated and put collectively! Also feels such as you’re sporting pajamas. Need I say more? (Love this pair by Madewell and H&M has TONS of great pairs in enjoyable colors!) 

Brief Sleeve Button-Up

I really like this type for its versatility. I put on these as swimsuit coverups, or tied at the waist in summer time, and layered underneath sweaters and jackets within the winter. 

Casual Midi Skirt 

Midi skirts coming back in type is just about the perfect thing to occur to academics when it comes to wardrobe! I thrifted this one, but because it’s a more vintage-inspired silhouette, it’s a fantastic factor to look out for should you’re vintage/secondhand purchasing. (Lot’s of cute types at H&M as properly!) 

My go-to outfit is a cotton midi skirt, graphic tee and sneakers. I wore this to show, however I might easily swap out the shirt or footwear to dress it up a bit extra.

Tee: H&M (J.Crew Manufacturing unit has really cute comparable ones!) Skirt: Previous Navy (thrifted–Comparable here)  Sneakers: Faceface (bought out, however Superga are a very comparable look!) 

Can you inform us more about your transition from learning art in your undergrad to getting your Grasp’s in Pressured Migration and Humanitarian Motion? What are your plans for after graduation?

I’ve all the time beloved making art and I knew from once I was a child I needed to go to art faculty. So while I liked my diploma, I didn’t love making an attempt to pay the bills as an artist. I ultimately discovered that making an attempt to commodify my artwork was making me dislike making art to begin with, so I made a decision to pursue working in the NGO sector. I’ve bounced around a ton since my undergraduate taking any job that seemed fascinating to me. If I informed you my whole skilled background it will appear very random, however I’ve all the time been stunned at how transferable expertise have led me from one job to the subsequent! Educating artwork at a world faculty is such a perfect combination of my skilled pursuits, I never would have dreamed that I might discover a job like this, however it simply goes to point out you never know where life may take you. 

After my preliminary move overseas, I knew I needed to give attention to worldwide work which gave me the arrogance to apply for my Grasp’s. Humanitarian Action is how organizations respond to worldwide disasters or armed conflict, and I specialised in Pressured Migration aka refugee research. I discovered so much by way of my Master’s and it’s an amazing feeling to know I’ve discovered my passion in life. I only recently finished my thesis (!!!) so proper now I’m specializing in submitting my analysis to journals for publication and applying for jobs.

I’d love to remain in Dublin in the intervening time, however I do know my line of work will ultimately take me to extra far-flung destinations, wherever the need is biggest. This simultaneously excites/terrifies me and I wouldn’t have it another approach. 

One other dance, another gown! This time I went with an LBD and tried to decorate it up with heels and jewelry. Otherwise I’d in all probability wear it with a jean jacket and sneakers.

Gown: H&M (this one is tremendous comparable and SO FLATTERING on everyone!), Footwear: H&M (comparable)

What does work/life/faculty stability seem like for you?

It’s funny because for a while I’ve seemed for jobs that particularly have NO work/life stability. For example, jobs the place you live together with your colleagues or spend all of your time touring. These might be unimaginable opportunities to utterly change up your private and professional life as a result of they’re all rolled into one! So for a number of years after my undergraduate diploma, I had no concept of labor/life stability as a result of it didn’t exist for me. In a method it was kind of the right transition from school to the “real world,” and I made a few of my closest buddies that method. As I grow old I know I’ll prioritize extra stability, but for now I’m wonderful with having a extra blended strategy to my professional and private lives. 

I wore this outfit to a ‘cultural event’ the varsity was internet hosting so I needed to look a bit nicer. I deliver this gown touring fairly a bit because it’s cozy and doesn’t wrinkle!

Gown: Thrifted-Previous Navy (comparable), Sandals: Impanema, Bag: Goal Universal Thread (comparable)

What’s the one piece of recommendation that has shaped your life, either personally or professionally?

I’m an enormous Cheryl Strayed devotee (she wrote Wild, but all her books are superb), and she or he has one quote that I come back to time and time again:

“You don’t need to get a job that makes others really feel snug about what they perceive as your success. You don’t have to elucidate what you propose to do together with your life. You don’t need to justify your schooling by demonstrating its financial rewards. You don’t have to take care of an impeccable credit score rating. Anybody who expects you to do any of those things has no sense of historical past or economics or science or the humanities. It’s a must to pay your electric invoice. You need to be variety. It’s a must to give it all you bought. You must discover people who love you really and love them again with the same fact. However that’s all.”

It’s nice for remembering that your success is defined by solely you. It may be straightforward to get caught up within the comparability recreation, however so long as you’re glad and learning alongside the best way you’re doing simply wonderful.

Any parting words you’d like so as to add/belongings you’d like individuals to know/phrases you’d wish to say to readers? 

Don’t be afraid to take a leap of religion into the unknown! You gained’t remorse it. Reach out to pals who’ve lived overseas and do loads of analysis. Be happy to contact me and comply with me on Instagram @Ashkatw!


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