On education in Europe and the USA

Clever Magazine
USA Career Student life Universities Editor-in-Chief's column Kristina Lebedeva

How to Make It In New York City? From International Student to Visionary Life Coach - A Conversation with Dasha Dare

This February, I had the pleasure of meeting Dasha Dare during a chilly afternoon stroll through the vibrant streets of Greenwich Village in New York City. Dasha is a NYC-based photographer and life coach with a passion for exploring our collective future and understanding the nature of reality. What started as a casual encounter quickly transformed into an enriching conversation.

This interview is a testimonial to Dasha's experiences as an international student, a professional, and a visionary thinker. Her insights into personal growth, creativity, and self-discovery left a lasting impression on me, and I knew that her story deserved to be shared with our readers.

Join me on this journey, exploring Dasha's transition from student life in New Jersey to her flourishing career as a life coach and photographer in the heart of New York City. Get ready to be inspired, enlightened, and empowered by Dasha's wisdom and unique perspective.
You've been living in NYC for over 16 years now. What inspired you to pursue your studies in the United States, particularly in New York City?
Perhaps, I took a less traveled road to America. Despite a very common fascination with the American dream, especially 20 years ago, my dreams at that time were much smaller and didn’t spill over the borders of my home town. It was my father who dreamt of his kids pursuing education abroad. I received a scholarship and came to Hoboken, New Jersey (right across Hudson River from Manhattan), where my older sister lived. The school I was admitted to was New Jersey City University.
Can you share some of the biggest challenges you faced when transitioning to student life in the US?
I think language was the biggest barrier for me. I remember how one of the first classes I took was Business Law (I was a Business Administration major), and I would spend hours with a dictionary translating legal cases word by word.
How did you navigate the cultural differences between your home country and the United States as a student?
While I can’t say that I was an open minded person originally, I've always had a kind heart which has helped me a lot in navigating this transition. Foreign cultures seem to be a very unknown and unfamiliar territory, but once you realize that all people share the same human nature, the differences become very manageable.
What were your initial impressions of the education system in the U.S. compared to your previous experiences?
Looking back now I can see that the educational system in the US provides a wide range of opportunities for those students who are really willing to devote themselves to studies. I think the educational system here is pretty straightforward and has more flexibility in terms of switching the direction of studies, if needed.
Could you tell us more about your journey at the New York Film Academy (NYFA)? How did you balance academic responsibilities with exploring the cultural offerings and opportunities in NYC?
I took a Certificate Program in Digital Photography at NYFA, while working full time. It was a perfect addition to life in NYC as it has exposed me to other creators sharing passion for photography. I remember us doing walking photography tours and attending various exhibitions. That was so much fun!
What were some of your favorite experiences or memories from your time as a student in New York City?
Studying photography in NYC felt like such a great match. This city is so inspiring and has such a particular dynamic feel about it, that doing creative work and studies becomes very organic.

That’s where all the biggest companies are, where creativity resides, where the most talented and ambitious people are being drawn to. And here you are being a student with the entire world is at your doorstep.

Everything about this feeling is exciting and worth experiencing at least once in life!
How did your experiences as a student in NYC shape your personal and professional growth? Can you discuss the impact of living in NYC on your worldview and perspective?
NYC is a very special place with a very special energy. And what makes this energy so special is the people. Whether you are spending a semester here or pursue an entire degree I am pretty sure your horizon will be expanded.

As for myself I can tell that I would not be the person I am today had I not been living in New York.

The people I got to meet from all walks of life, the stories I got to hear, the art I got to see, this city is a testament to creativity of human mind and heart.

Looking back, what are the key lessons or insights you gained from your student journey in America?
There are plenty of opportunities for growth and expansion - use them. If you feel that you are not good enough, not educated enough, not smart enough - step over your doubts and pursue those opportunities anyways.
What advice would you give to future students considering studying in the United States, especially in a city like New York?

Don’t think twice. Just go for it. This city will become your best supporter, teacher, collaborator and friend.

Let’s move to your professional journey. What inspired your transition from working in corporate America to pursuing a career in photography and life coaching?
I think I always wanted to pursue a creative profession. It was rather a matter of feeling ready for it. Now looking back I can see that it’s essential at some point to create space for what you love the most and start taking your passions seriously.
How has your background in business administration and HR management contributed to your current work in photography and life coaching?
My background in business has made it possible for me to better relate to my current clients who work in corporate America, looking for their creative expression to come back to themselves.
What motivated you to pursue certification as a life coach with the Human Potential Institute and with ICF?
It was a pandemic year. I was out of work and was wondering what to do next with my life. I remember how once after having a casual conversation with my doctor about human power and the abilities of the body, I came home and googled “Human Potential” to see what kind of research existed on it.

One of the first search results was “Human Potential Institute”. So I thought that was “a hand of God” and signed up for their free trial session, which then led me to pursuing my life coaching certification and accreditation with ICF.
As a certified vinyasa yoga instructor and meditation practitioner, how do these practices intersect with your work as a photographer and life coach?
These practices are part of my coaching and photography work. It is because I meditate that I am the photographer and coach that I am. In order for me to SEE the potential of the other human, I need to be centered in my own beingness without interruptions of my mind.
Can you tell us more about your "Time to Dare" coaching practice and the philosophy behind it?
As the force behind Time2Dare coaching I work with leaders and visionary thinkers to help them create reality where their vision can become alive. The core of reality creation is the ability to Relax Into Your Greatness which I use my Dare Method for.

Being a visionary myself, I realized one day that not all of my ideas are meant to be realized in my current reality which was dictated by a past limited view of myself .

My wildest ideas and dreams belong to the world where my potential is realized in full. Therefore, who do I need to be to get there? That’s one of the centerpiece questions I help my clients answer.

We live in very exciting times where the quality of our life depends on our relationship with our own creativity and ability to own and claim the innate creative powers.

There is a physical material world and then there is a non-material world of our imagination. Navigating life between the two of them is what I consider to be a foundation of self-mastery.
What does the term "self-liberation from mental images" mean to you, and how does it relate to your DareMethod?
Jiddu Krishnamurti once said: “Freedom from images is real freedom".

Assigning images is the function of the mind to be more in control of reality in the world of senses. We label ourselves and others to “know better”. However downside is that with every label and image comes a set of limitations.

The goal of DareMethod is to free people from the images of themselves that they have acquired over the years of their life, and helps them re-write their story by reassigning a new meaning to the reflection in the mirror they see.
Could you share some examples of how your clients have benefited from your DareMethod and coaching practice?
In my coaching practice I aspire to witness my clients making their alternative realities REAL for themselves.(And it’s important to note that those alternative realities I am talking about hold the highest expression of ourselves.)

For instance, someone who has been in cycles of toxic relationships, becomes available for something bigger and better. Therefore they attract and create a new partnership that is nothing like they experienced before.

Someone who could not imagine themselves running a successful business finds themselves in a new reality of entrepreneurship.

Someone who thinks that creativity is not for them, suddenly realizes that creativity is their nature, and pursues a new career path.
Can you discuss the importance of shifting the power dynamics from mind to heart and body intelligence in personal development?
This is an expected shift that we are experiencing right now, as collectively we are in the process of raising our consciousness level and accept the fact that there is more to us than only mental power.

The more we are tapping into our body intelligence the more we realize the infinite nature of our being that cannot be grasped and measured or described by the rules of our logical mind.

The mind can only get us that far. However, and quantum mechanics proves it, there are many other dimensions of reality available to us, and in order to continue evolving and overcoming limitations of even this planet, we must lean into all sources of knowledge available to us - such as our bodies and hearts.
What advice would you give to individuals who are struggling to break free from limiting self-images and embrace self-discovery?
Whenever we are holding on to some patterns, that can be indicative of the comfort associated with them. For instance, we might find ourselves in cycles of toxic relationships because that’s all we experienced. That’s familiar.

Sometimes just bringing awareness into the situation helps a lot to shift you out of the past and to realize that you can create a new story for yourself.

Take your power back by educating yourself about the world we are living in now. For me personally I found it liberating to realize that I create my own reality, I was the one to create my limiting images, and I am the one to create the new ones.
In your opinion, what are the most crucial skills individuals should develop in the coming years to navigate personal and professional growth successfully?
Few ideas here:

A. Presence/Awareness.

Develop a habit of being an observer. An observer of the world and observer of yourself. Be a good listener.

You will discover that most of your growth is happening not by doing, but by being. You will discover that every creative process follows the same pattern.

B. New relationship with time and space.

Instead of rushing, learn to slow down.

Instead of being afraid of losing time, be more concerned with taking time to align with what feels like your pace. You will discover that you can never be late in the reality that you are creating.

C. Energy is the new currency.

Pay attention to your frequency and how it gets lowered when the fear is present and how it gets raised when you feel love. Learn to reframe life situations. For instance, from fearing risks, welcome them as an opportunity to trust life more.

Relax Into Your Greatness - that’s the recipe for everyone’s success in the coming years.