For as long as I can remember, I have always wanted to go abroad. Growing up, I was very fortunate to have the opportunity to travel to a wide variety of places. Each place my family traveled to, I was always finding that I did not have enough time to fully submerge myself into my destinations’ culture. As a junior at the University of Pittsburgh with a double major in Marketing and Supply Chain Management, I decided there would be no better time to fulfill my desire to live abroad than now.
After I completed my sophomore year, I had reached a stand-still that was halted by indecision of what specific profession I saw myself pursuing in what seemed to be a short two years. While experiencing this creative block, getting a fresh perspective on business from an international standpoint seemed to be exactly what I needed for my fall semester of junior year. I had researched a plethora of programs when deciphering where I had wanted to study. After narrowing down the list, I decided on the International Studies Abroad Madrid program. Not only am I studying at the prestigious Universidad Carlos III de Madrid in Spain, but I was also vaguely familiar with the Spanish culture after taking five years of Spanish in high school and visiting Barcelona a few years prior.
Travelling to Madrid for eighteen weeks has definitely left me with the expectation of growth throughout all aspects of my life. Choosing this Pitt-recognized program meant that I had no familiar faces in a foreign country with me. At first this lone adventure approached me with many doubts, but once arriving in Madrid early Monday morning all of my apprehensions were silenced with welcoming students who all were in the same position I was in.
After being here for a brief two days, I have grown a deep admiration for the Madrid lifestyle. I think we have a lot to learn from the Spaniards culture from a business perspective. Every encounter I have had with any local so far- whether it be a professor to a waste management professional, there is so much passion in everything they do. The differences I have noticed while comparing the culture I’m immersed in to the American culture I have been accustomed to at home are quite clear. While I am used to worrying primarily about how “realistic” my career may be and its effect on me economically, Spaniards careers root far deeper into the history of where passion all began: flamenco dancing and bullfighting. Throughout history, Spain’s continuous tradition and practice of these activities has gone to show that the passion for their culture is in their blood. For the next four months at my temporary home in Madrid, I’m hoping to gain insight on how I can portray the Spaniard’s ardent culture throughout my personal, academic, and professional platforms of my life.