‘Ello, London: An Introduction

Hello, my name is Yulia Houseal and I am currently studying abroad with the GBI London program. I am a junior at the University of Pittsburgh studying accounting and business information systems with a minor in economics and a certificate in leadership and ethics. Wow, just typing that out reminded me of how busy I have been as a student at Pitt, but I wouldn’t have it any other way! Reading my academic pursuits at first glance, one would wonder how I had time to study abroad, I will get into that, but first let me tell you a little about myself. I live in a small town in York, Pennsylvania with my parents and two dogs, Max and Teddi. I like going for runs and riding four wheelers when I am back home and curling up with a good book by the fireplace. I was born in Russia and was adopted by my parents when I was seven years old. Very quickly, I had to learn English and catch up with my American peers in school. Thankfully, I had a lot of support from both of my parents who instilled in me the value of hard work and dedication. The passion and drive I had for learning throughout my primary school days lead me to look at colleges who shared this passion and drive for learning- that is one of the reasons why I chose to attend the University of Pittsburgh. I was looking for a school that allowed me to get involved in activities outside the classroom and with Pitt, I found my niche in the University of Pittsburgh Accounting Association (UPAA) and the Kappa Kappa Gamma (KKG) sorority.

With my involvement in campus organizations and clubs as well as my part-time job as a student aid in the finance department of Sodexo, I was able to realize several summer internships which include working in the finance department of Johnson Controls Federal, the general accounting department at BAE Systems, and securing an intern audit role with Grant Thornton this summer! I am thankful that Pitt has given me so many tools and opportunities that I was able to leverage through hard work to attain these positions.

As a freshman, I was lucky to know right away that I wanted to study accounting and pursue the CPA route as well as study abroad, so I was able to tailor my schedule to stay on the 150 credit track by leaving many of my general education requirements like literature, art/music, etc. to study when I am abroad. This was a great benefit because I was able to focus on my major classes while in Pittsburgh and look forward to taking classes like Introduction to Modern Art, Shakespearean Literature, and Analyzing and Exploring a Global City in a metropolis known for its rich history and timelessness. Additionally, I knew I wanted to pursue an internship abroad because I wanted a unique resume builder that would not only help me in the short term, but also in the long term. What I mean is, the majority of college students who study abroad do not pursue an internship, therefore, those who do, have an experience on their resume that sets them apart from their peers. Plus, I recognize that as businesses become more global, it is important to understand different office cultures and how people operate outside of the United States work force. I wanted to get outside of my comfort zone and dive in headfirst!

In my mind, there was no question about where I wanted to go to study abroad, it was always London. Plus, I have always loved Europe and looked forward to the opportunity to visit many other countries while abroad. In fact, I’ve already been to Brussels, Belgium since I arrived in London! Beside travelling and taking classes I would not normally get to take, as previously mentioned, I am looking forward to getting a deeper understanding of the work culture and hopefully build a great network with my coworkers at the Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park. I look forward to blogging all about my experience here, in the GBI London program!