"As required by my course, I had to spend my third in a Spanish-speaking country, either studying business modules at a University or undertaking a business placement. I decided to split my year by spending my first semester at a University in North of Mexico: Tecnológico de Monterrey and my second in a beautiful coastal city in Eastern Spain: Universitat de Valencia.
I experienced mixed emotions before commencing my year abroad, naturally, but I came away from it regarding it as the best year of my life to date! Having not had a gap year before university, this requirement of my course degree pushed me to experience an incredible opportunity. The chance to study and live in another country is immense, which many are not fortunate to have.
Besides the language improvement opportunity, the year played a huge role in my personal development, noted by my family and friends. Essentially, beginning another life in another country is an extraordinary responsibility. By achieving tasks from house-hunting, opening a bank account, and registering at the foreign University to making international friends and doing the weekly supermarket shop, aided me to quickly become settled and become more independent. Living life in the language you are learning, provided me with an insurmountable education, one that could in no way be taught in a British classroom. Seeing and experiencing the culture first hand coupled with hearing and speaking the language amongst natives really widens the mind and taught me so much about Spanish in a wholesome and enjoyable manner. Once asked ‘how was your year abroad?’ upon returning, words can not express nor do justice to the incredible experience I had.
Since graduating, I have completed an internship in Santiago, Chile with PricewaterhouseCoopers, another opportunity which I was fortunate enough to have presented to me (due to my language studies) and one I applied for due to my previous positive experience of a year abroad. Having returned, I have secured a training contract with PricewaterhouseCoopers UK starting in April, through which I will undertake my Chartered Accountant qualification. Experiencing a year abroad without a doubt increased my employability, demonstrating a variety of competencies such as adaptability, motivation, relationship-building amongst many others. I am certain my language skills will come in useful working for one of the world’s largest professional services firm and surviving my year abroad has made me more confident to approach the challenges of the working world.
Having had a year abroad, I can say, at the age of 23, I have lived abroad in three different countries, a rare and brilliant opportunity that I am glad to have taken advantage of as I am unlikely to have the chance again due to the general life responsibilities of growing up!"