"Italian language was a major component of my degree course and without having spent a year living in Italy, I would have most likely failed this component and so my degree. As I only started learning Italian language at university, I only had two years of teaching before living in Bologna. After the year in Italy, I felt as though my language skills - and so success in my degree - had improved ten fold. I had learnt not only fluency in language, but the nuances of it, the relation of the language to its culture and slang that I would never have been taught in a classroom.
Since then I have gained my first job working as part of the global press office for the Financial Times with a focus on the EMEA region. Because I was able to say I had lived in a foreign country made a difference to me gaining this job as it showed that I had an understanding of foreign cultures and markets, which is important for a role that has a global scope. I also managed to meet many people during my year abroad, not only Italians, but German, Dutch, Spanish, French, Chilean and Brazilian people. This has further opened my mind to other cultures as well as having made friends that I otherwise would not have made."