Imagine you live in Florence, Italy. You spend much of your time involved with three things you love: sport, food, and wine.
People back home think your life is like being on constant holiday: they wonder when you’ll get a ‘real’ job. That’s a snapshot of Dr. Katarina Andersson‘s life. Sounds amazing, right?
Rewind a dozen years, here’s how Katarina was feeling:
After finishing my Ph.D. in history, I was really at a low point. For a year or two I had no job and didn’t really know what to do. My family tried to get me to go back home to live and with our mother. Everybody, including some of my professors, seemed to draw the conclusion that the only solution for me would be to become a middle school or high school teacher. It all felt like failure after 6 years of being in one of the most well-known research institutes in Europe.”
From that low point, Katarina began thinking about how she might use her master’s degree in Italian language. She looked for translation jobs and discovered she was good at it, “So slowly I started gaining confidence and feeling I was on the right track and moving forward.”
Today, Katarina is a successful freelance translator and interpreter who is growing her business around what she loves most. She often translates interviews in connection with EURO and World Cup games, relishing the opportunity to use her skills to foster communication related to sport. Also a sommelier, Andersson combines her passions–wine and food–with her translation business.
Love the looks of the peaceful pool picture? It’s “Wine by the Pool at II Borro (Arezzo)” from Words at the Winery seminar that Andersson organized with translator and sommelier colleagues.
Next, Dr. Andersson plans to develop more wine-focused seminars and tours, as well as offering services with language and social media to local wine producers.
Fearless Females Forum 5 Cs with Dr. Katarina Andersson
“If you do not stand up for yourself, nobody else will either.”
1. What’s the most courageous decision you’ve made?
To go my own way and start my own freelance translation business in a foreign country, Italy. I did love teaching and helping the students while working at the university for two years, but still I felt quite bored with the rest of my life in Sweden having come back after 7 years abroad. So when the college had less teaching hours to give and the things in my private life became more definite, I decided to stop going back and forth and return to Italy. Sometimes it is hard to be a solo entrepreneur, but it is worth it to be your own boss.
2. What choices are most important to you?
The choices that make me feel happy and good about myself. And choices that challenge me to move forward.
3. What fears have you conquered?
Thanks to living in Italy several years, I believe, I have overcome my initial shyness and being reserved when getting to know new people or needing to network. Still it is hard sometimes and I seem like a too serious and standoffish person in the beginning, which I really am not. The funny thing is that I have no fear of speaking in front of an audience, teaching and the like. It is just the first one-on-one meeting with new people.
4. What conversation made the most impact on you?
Hmm…a lot of conversations goes around in my mind, with my mother, Ulla, with my brothers, Lars and Per, with some of my friends…in the past. However, I remember my brother Lars sometimes saying that
it is difficult to sway us, and that we are not easily impressed, standing steady with our feet on the ground. That is thanks to our rural background and its values. I often think back to this.
Even though it might sound old-fashioned, I really do think it is important to feel grounded, to be confident in what you do. Even if I live abroad since several years, and now live in a city, my identity is still rooted in my past where I grew up far out in the countryside.
5. What do you want women to get clear about?
This I have thought about a lot… My opinion here is that women should not be afraid to be courageous and go their own way. If you want something you have to fight for it. Realize that it is normal to make mistakes, that you learn and grow through them.
Often, in an European context, I see that conventional expectations still are quite strong for women. In Italy people sometimes tell me that for me it’s easier because I am so “autonomous” without realizing that I have had to work hard and often go against what people wanted me to be or become, in order to do my own thing. However, if you do not stand up for yourself, nobody else will either.
Heartfelt gratitude goes to our fearless friend, Dr. Katarina Andersson! Curious about wine and food? Read Katarina’s Vino Vagando blog!
Fearless Females Forum is a showcase for inspiring women who push past fears, find the courage to meet her calling, solve a problem, or take a road less traveled.
Are you a Fearless Female ready to have the spotlight shine on you? Calling All Fearless Females tells you how to share your story.
Woman grounded image by artist McKella via https://handprintsoul.wordpress.com.