I became a Global Studies major in my sophomore year at Drexel, a decision I will forever look back on as one of the best choices I’ve made in my young academic career. With my new major, I specifically remember that the opportunity and requirement to take language classes again was an exciting part of that change. At the moment I decided to take the leap into Global Studies, I wasn’t aware of how important language study was to me, academically and personally. After a year away from studying Spanish, I found myself missing that incredible mental challenge. Suddenly, Global Studies presented not only an outlet for me to advance my second language but an outlet to incorporate study abroad into my degree in a way that would benefit me personally, professionally, and academically.
With these ambitions in mind, I decided I would spend my entire pre-junior year abroad in Madrid, Spain. After only two terms of Global Studies courses complete and very little idea of how I wanted to shape my future career within the field, I jetted off to achieve my goals and hopefully answer some questions in my nine months of studying and working abroad.
Working in another language or not, the experience of being a student and seeing the possible future work environment in a foreign country hands-on is invaluable.
I left Spain this past May feeling bittersweet but very accomplished after a year that turned out to be just as necessary and beneficial as I had set out for it to be. I knew I would need those nine months and I embraced every opportunity to learn, immerse myself and challenge myself like I never had before. An area in which I really watched myself grow was within my internship position. Through EPA (Educational Programs Abroad), I was placed with an international development consulting firm and ended up extending my placement far into the second semester.
Something that most international relations students often deal with is the overwhelming map of directions in which to engage ourselves and form a career. And at times, all seem equally fascinating and fulfilling. What I most emphasize from the Global Studies perspective of study abroad is the benefit of taking any opportunity to work internationally as an undergrad. Working in another language or not, the experience of being a student and seeing the possible future work environment in a foreign country hands-on is invaluable. For me, it provided a very real scope into career paths and roles I could identify with.