Brazen BFF Episode 6: Teaching in Kuwait to Meet Financial Goals!

Have you ever been curious about life in the Middle East? Our guest this week is a brave woman who took a personal and professional gamble by accepting a university teaching job in Kuwait. Her expectations were exceeded, and she is here to share her story.

This month Jenifer and Adriénne talk with Rachael Alonzo, who earned her PhD in Literary Non-Fiction just as the recession hit and the academic job market took a permanent dive.  She found herself stuck financially and professionally, so she decided to take a University job in Kuwait. She’s just returned from an almost two-year stint teaching composition at the American University there. Not only did she meet her financial goals, her experience with her women students was life-changing. She tells us her story.

Rachael has created a reading list for us about the lives of women in the Middle East. Download it today by clicking on the FREEBIE box!

What are BrazenBFFs? Made of brass women who create communities that share strengths and help each other get what we want out of work and life. If YOU want more out of work and life, then you have come to the right place!

We love you for listening!


Thank you for listening to “Teaching in Kuwait to Meet Financial Goals”, Episode 6 of Brazen BFF Podcast.

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Special thanks for joining us. Until next time!

Rachael Jane Alonzo, PhD

Rachael Jane Alonzo, PhD

Writer, Teacher, Editor

Rachael has lived and worked in 7 states and on three continents. Most proud of her work on film, she wrote The Dead Woman’s Daughter in concert with L. Beth Edwards. Rachael has learned the most from her students.  As a teenager, Rachael set out to make money and live an interesting life. She has succeeded with the interesting life part and fully expects to be somewhere new any day now. You can find her blog at or contact her directly by emailing

p.s. Are you feeling inspired by Rachael’s story? If you’re considering a career switch away from academia, or if you’d like to explore teaching overseas–Check out these resources to help you get started.

Topics Discussed in this Episode
  • Our made of brass moments!:Rachael traveled to Istanbul on three days’ notice to interview for a job, Adriénne communicated clearly with her family that when she is working, she is WORKING and not available to them.  Jenifer kept her mouth SHUT when she found herself feeling critical about her husband’s meal plan, thus ensuring that all meal planning and prep doesn’t revert back to her.
  • When we forgot our brass lately…Rachael paid for an extra bag that she had already paid for when she bought a plane ticket because she didn’t want to make a scene. Adriénne fled from the overzealous dude at the apple store and ended up without the new computer she had gone in for. Jenifer reaps the consequences of not saying “no” when she really should have.
  • Rachael tells us how she decided to go teach in Kuwait (after a nightmare three day travel process that left her without her suitcase and business suit for the interview).
  • She shares how teaching in Kuwait gave her a new perspective on women and freedom in the Middle East.
  • She tells us the saga of the lost camera and how the desire to help brings people from four countries together.
  • She talks about the changes  that living alone in the Middle East brought to her life both small (No one would cut her hair short, so she grew it out) and large (she’s more willing to speak out and stand up for herself).
  • Rachael also shares how the financial stability she earned by living solo for two years in Kuwait is freeing her to pursue goals that she couldn’t have two years ago.
Who are our Brazen BFF's for this episode?!!
  • Rachael gives a shout out to her in real life BFF, Deb.
  • Jenifer sheepishly admits that her choice was also Rachael’s IRL BFF.
  • Adriénne tells us about Alicia DeFonzo, who created a study abroad program about banned books, this year with a Harry Potter twist.

Jenifer teaches Rachael how to make yogurt sauce (Rachael’s favorite food that she ate all the time in Kuwait). Watch it here:

Check out Rachael’s blog:

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