Meet the People: Jasmine Cardona, a Girl Gone International Community Manager

By , 10 Nov 2017, 11:39 AM Meet the People

 She's a definition of a true expat


1. Tell us something about yourself? What brought you here?
Hello, I’m Jasmine. I’m native Hawaiian, Texas Bred, and a European newbie. I went to school for Business and ended up in Hospitality Management . I began my career with Hyatt, working for them for 7 years. Over the years, I moved around to various cities from San Antonio, to upstate New York, then back down to New Orleans working as a Food & Beverage Manager.

 Growing up I was accustomed to a constant moving lifestyle as my parents were in the military, Army Branch. So this lifestyle has stuck with me my whole life. Working in New Orleans I met a guy named Roland who I’d call my fiancé. He is from Berlin, Germany, but had been working in the States for 10 years. It was time for him to make the next move in his career and he decided wanted to move back to Europe to be closer to family. He is the reason why I moved abroad. Yes, Love brought me across the ocean!


At the openning of InterContinental Ljubljana Hotel

Before moving to Ljubljana, we lived in Belgrade for three years. He was asked to help open a new hotel there. After the opening he was asked to make another move to help open the InterContinental in Ljubljana. So here we are today. We have been living in Slovenia for about 10 months now.

2. How did you get into this Girl Gone International (GGI) story?
I first found out about GGI a few years ago when I was living in Belgrade. I was having a hard time adjusting to living abroad and was struggling meeting new people. The one friend I had made in Belgrade informed me of this expat group. I was a bit nervous of what to expect at my first meet-up. I was at the point of a 50/50 chance of even showing up. One rakija shot in the morning led me to my first event, which was at a local coffee shop. I was surprised when I showed up to find many other like-minded girls such as myself. Girls from all around the world in the same shoes, so I was one happy girl. Two hours of chatting flew by and it was time for the event to come to a close. I went home and immediately received friend requests from all the new girls I had met from my coffee meet-up. From that moment on, I knew GGI was going to be a part of my new lifestyle.


At one of GGI Ljubljana events

3. What is special about GGI Ljubljana, and why would you recommend it?

So what is this Girl Gone International I talk so highly about? We are a vibrant international community of female globe hoppers living, working, traveling, or studying abroad. In cities all over the world we have hubs and we hold at least one main GGI event a month to meet like-minded friends. We swap stories, connect, and enjoy each other’s company. We meet at different venues throughout the city. Every event varies from coffee to wine nights, social hours, happy hours, hiking, yoga, book club meets, self-defence, movie nights … you name it.


GGI Ljubljana events

What makes GGI Ljubljana so special to me is the fact that I moved here and created a hub. As a community manager of Ljubljana, it is my job to plan events for our community and bring expat girls together. I’m still building the group up. Although Ljubljana is a small city and our group is fairly new to LJ, I think we have quite the turnout to our monthly events.If you’re living abroad, or even just traveling and looking for a way to meet more like-minded ladies. I highly recommend checking out Girl Gone International to see if there’s a group in your area. It helped me transition into my new city along with making new friends.


4. Do you like living here? (Why do you like LJ)
I enjoy living in Ljubljana very much. It’s got a great location. Within 1-2 hours of driving you can be in Italy, Croatia, and Austria. Outdoor life is amazing here. It’s definitely changed my lifestyle. Skiing is great and popular in the winter months. Hiking is great during the summer. There are so many mountains with a variety of hikes ranging from easy to difficult. English is well spoken here in the city, which makes communication so easy. Ljubljana is a bike friendly city as well, which I adore. I love biking everywhere here. The Slovene’s are warm and welcoming to foreigners, and always willing to help. Apart from being such a small city, its centre is gorgeous, with a relaxed vibe, and it’s such a green capital.



 Hiking with GGI

 5. Where is a place you go to in Ljubljana to relax, or what do you to do relax?

When I need a day of peace and relaxation, I head to Tivoli Park and just walk the grounds with my dog Loki. He enjoys being in nature just like his momma does. I also am very into horse riding here in Ljubljana. Three or four times a week I take an hour out of my day to go ride. It relaxes me and bring joy to my heart. When I want to escape Ljubljana, I love heading to Lake Bled. Here I am able to relax, take a coffee, hike to my favourite viewpoint, or row to the church in the middle of the lake.


Horseriding at Ljubljana Hippodrome

6. Can you recommend a place to eat?

Kavarna Rog and EK for breakfast. Pop's place  for my American Burger fix. Shambala for their great garden seating and lunch specials. Cubo for dinner, the one outside center, near BTC, and not the hotel downtown. It’s always consistent and a nice ambiance.Vigo for ice-cream. Cafetino and Stow for a great cup of coffee.

7. What is your favourite time of year here?

Fall! Nothing beat the changing of the leaves and autumn scents. Summer is a hard second. Summer in Ljubljana is so great and lively.


8. What nightlife do you enjoy?

I enjoy a nice wine bar like Movia in the city center. I also love a good cocktail from B Restaurant Bar at the Intercontinental or Kolibri Cocktail Bar. Generally I’m not drawn to clubs, but once in a while it’s needed.

 9. What makes Ljubljana a good place to visit?

It was the world’s first country to be declared a green destination. Ljubljana proudly holds the title of the European Green Capital 2016 and is one of the world’s most sustainable destinations. That alone would make me want to visit Ljubljana! It was a city that surprised me and has exceeded my expectations on so many different levels.

10. What souvenirs from Ljubljana do you recommend?

I love getting the small glass dragons that you can find in almost any souvenir shop. They say Ljubljana is the city of dragons, so why not bring a cute memento home to your family and friends? I also love the Piranske Soline store for the fleur de sel which is produced in the Salt Pans of Piran, on the Slovenian coast. It’s a great gift for anyone. The dark chocolate with sea salt is another great option there, too.

 11. When you can get out of town, where do you like to go?

When I want to get out of town for the day I usually head down to Trieste Italy. It’s a nice Italian port city near the Slovenian border. It’s about an hour’s drive from Ljubljana, and is typically always sunny. I wouldn’t be lying if I said I go at least once a month. 


The view at Goriška Brda

Goriska Brda is another one of my go-to spots on the weekends. For someone who loves wine, this is a picture perfect tiny wine-producing region that stretches from Solkan to the Italian border. It’s said to be the Slovenian Tuscany. It’s full of rolling hills, hillsides lined with grapevines and orchards. There are a lot of great B&B’s to stay for the night. My favourite is Gredic, which also has its own wine room.

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