Tuesday, December 15, 2015

POPSUGAR in Dubai: A GW English Grad Abroad

GW English Alum
Georgia Bobley (BA '10, MA '15)
Georgia Bobley grew up in New York and graduated from GWU with a BA in 2010 and an MA in 2015, both in English Literature. She now lives in Dubai where she is working with a team to launch the Middle Eastern outlets of the American websites SHOPSTYLE
(e-commerce) and POPSUGAR (an editorial website). 

1. When did you graduate from GW?

I graduated from GW with my BA in English in May 2010. In 2013, I returned to GW for my MA in English and graduated in May 2015. 

​2. ​What do you remember most from your GW years? 
GW was a wonderful experience for me, both as an undergrad and a graduate student. I decided to come back to GW for my Masters primarily because I wanted to continue working with the professors I had come to know and respect so much during my time as an undergrad. I loved being in Washington, and I really appreciate how the university incorporates the city into the curriculum. I think as a graduate student, in particular, what was most rewarding for me was having classmates who were all there because they wanted to be-- not because they had to be because of a requirement. The passion of my professors and of my classmates really shaped the discussions that we had in class, and certainly made my time in the program enjoyable and worthwhile. 

​3. What is your currentwork about? ​

I'm currently working for a website called POPSUGAR, which, with 95 million unique monthly views, is the most widely read women's lifestyle site in the world. It's a US-based site (founded in San Francisco, now with offices in NY, LA, Chicago, and internationally, as well), and I moved to Dubai in late September to work on the launch of POPSUGAR MENA (Middle East/Northern Africa), scheduled for December 1. 

​4. Although you grew up in the US, you decided to move to 
the Middle-East for work.​ Was that a difficult decision?    What prepared you for it, and what attracted you to it?  Describe your work goals and what you hope to accomplish.  How did your GW experience or study prepare you (or not!) for this work. ​

I applied for and was offered my job in Dubai fairly quickly, and moved from DC to Dubai within three weeks of getting the offer. I hadn't been planning to move to the Middle East prior to applying for this position. I've always had an interest in the region, but never imagined myself living here. That being said, I'm definitely happy I made the move. I was initially attracted to the position because I wanted to work for POPSUGAR, and was (and am) excited about launching the site in a region and for an audience that has nothing like it. One of the biggest challenges for me has been that I really don't know the region, and am not fully comfortable or familiar with the audience to which I'm writing. I love the challenge of learning what women in this region want to read-- and of figuring out how to bring that to them. Dubai is a liberal city, but I've still had some cultural challenges-- both in and out of the office. 

I think GW prepared me for this move in one really important way, which was that I learned to think broadly; and I think most importantly, to be sensitive of and curious about cultural differences. The Post-colonialism class with Prof. Kavita Daiya I took particularly prepared me for living in this region, as it taught me to more fully recognize and understand the ways in which the ways in which, and the extent to which the history of colonialism works and impacts daily life today.

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POPSUGAR in Dubai: A GW English Grad Abroad
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