Joanna worked abroad in Chile and is now a Market Researcher
My final university year was highly demanding and I feel I was able to tackle it head-on due to my high level of comprehension in Spanish, which allowed me to get beyond just understand a novel and actually addressing the key themes it addressed. Far beyond the academic skills the year provided, I also felt privileged to have experienced such a different culture and consider a bigger picture after my degree. It made me more aware of where I wanted to be, my ultimate interests and what I want to achieve in the future.
On my return I spent a long time applying for jobs and grad schemes without ever feeling that they were what I wanted to do. I had developed a love for people, understanding their intricacies and what drives their behaviour, having observed such variety in South America, but found that the standard investment banking, marketing or management consultancy never managed to excite me. Through the milkround I found out about Market Research vacancies and started to read more about it. It was all about people and understanding how they work, it functioned on a global scale and required at least one European language. I interviewed and was able to convey a genuine passion for my curiosity about people.
I love my job and am currently running a project from London that will take place in Spain and my Spanish is invaluable.
Without my year abroad I would have had no idea what I wanted to do, I wouldn’t have made some unforgettable friends, had some unforgettable experiences and I certainly wouldn’t have left university being able to speak Spanish fluently. What I took away from the experience wasn’t solely related to the course and I am thankful that I had the opportunity to become a confident person, who is now able to think beyond the sheltered British mentality."
In partnership with the British Academy and University Council of Modern Languages (UCML) we gathered short reports from graduates on the importance that the year abroad has had for them, in terms of their skill set, their careers and their lives. These reports formed the basis of the Position Statement: Valuing the Year Abroad. Browse the reports below for inspiration, and select a tag within a report to read more on that theme.