¡Hala Madrid!

I am Matthew Restrepo; I study Supply Chain Management and Spanish at the University of Pittsburgh. I am currently finishing up my second year of school and excited to head to Spain to live and work in a different culture. I take enjoyment out of learning, networking, helping others, and watching sports. The best way to go about describing myself is through my Strengthsfinder results: Woo (having a great capacity to inspire and motivate others), strategic, communication, positivity, empathy are my strengths according to my strength finder test. Most of the previous strengths are social and personal skills. I find excitement in meeting and  interacting with new people that are different than me. I strongly believe that I am able to talk to any person no matter the age and/or the cultural background. However, I am more than just a personable guy. With my strategic side, I am able to also find a unique way of solving problems once faced with a situation. I believe each of those descriptions matches me extremely well in addition to being resilient, independant and kind. I love being immersed in a different culture, learning new things and meeting new people. I find it exciting to travel and imagine that living for the summer in Spain, especially with an internship would be an incredible opportunity to experience Spain in a unique and satisfying way.

I understand that I receive 6 credits towards my foreign culture. This internship would fulfill my foreign culture requirement and I believe the Spanish department will give me credit towards my minor. I am sure I would be able to fit in two classes throughout my two years but the experience would pale in comparison to being in a different country and surrounded by their culture. Learning traditions and experiencing the culture first-hand greatly outweighs learning about the culture from a book. Earning these credits over the summer will give me an opportunity to get ahead and free me up to take more classes in Pittsburgh during the coming years. Furthermore, this experience goes beyond just the credits; I believe that speaking Spanish is a tremendous asset which I hope to improve constantly and  the personal growth that Study Abroad was enables is invaluable.

This program directly correlates with my post graduation aspirations to work in a position in which I could use Spanish.  After receiving my diploma I would like to work for an international supply chain company based out of the United States, Spain or Latin America. This program allows me to not only use my Spanish, but understand and see first hand how these companies work. I will be able to watch how management makes important decisions. I will learn the methods they employ on the work site and will be able to translate that over to my life for years in the future. The networking while working in Spain will be valuable. I hope I make friendships and connections that last a lifetime.  Because I have family there and no I plan to visit, I would maintain these friendships. Plus3 enabler me to be hands on, in the field and see the process of what had to be done to the coffee bean in order for it to be shipped into the supply chain. I imagine that this experience will be more about logistics and how the inner workings of the business operates. Ultimately, I hope to learn a great deal of lessons, have great experiences, and make lasting friendships from this internship, all of which I intend to rely on in the future.

I am confident that I will develop my independence, my social network and my already strong communication skills.  Living on my own in college is one thing, I have support, friends and can speak English fluently. However, in Spain I will be without familiar faces, and developing my fluency in the language.  That idea would scare others away from this opportunity, but I find it very exciting. To expand my social network, I will have to reach out and go out of my way to meet new people in order to maximize the worth of this trip. I enjoy making connections while speaking a different language because it presents a different challenge. Communication is one of my strengths and I plan to practice with every person I encounter.  This experience will also enable me to grow by forcing myself to learn a new city and many European cities I hope to visit while living in Spain.

As I described above, I would use the education I learn in this experience to become a more valuable and versatile employee in the future.  Learning business concepts used in Spain and the European Union would help me understand how to improve business concepts for my future employer and possibly myself if I’m fortunate to run my own business. I would also improve my Spanish fluency and that would make me more marketable to employers in the near future.