Professional Development from Studying Abroad

Being in London, I have learned and grown a lot. Specifically, as a business student, my classes have helped me with my professional development. In one of my classes, every student is assigned to be a site lead at a site visit. When you are a site lead, you have to present to the class about the company. Then during the site visit, you are tasked to ask questions, give gifts to the hosts, and say thank you. These skills are very important to have. It helped get me out of my comfort zone by speaking up in public, and by having to ask questions. It also helped me make connections by giving the host a gift and saying thank you. Even though this seems simple, it encouraged me to build a network with the hosts when I interacted with them. Also, the presentation helped with public speaking. Public speaking is one of the skills I have to continuously work on. Every time I convince myself I will be fine, I walk up to the front of the class and my voice sounds shaky. But the only way to fix that is through practice. This is what the class provides, an environment where I won’t be judged and I can practice this skill. In fact, I was just the site lead for PwC. This experience was stressful and amazing at the same time.

The site leads at PwC

Through this experience, I have also developed transferable skills. As mentioned above, the site leads provided an opportunity to work on my leadership abilities. It also helped with teamwork, since the presentation was with a partner. Those were the main skills I learned in the classroom. But, outside the classroom, I had to work on my problem-solving skills. For example, I’m in a city that I’m not familiar with and I have to commute everywhere. During this time I had several times where I managed to navigate myself to the wrong place. Instead of stressing out I problem solved. I took a step back and tried to think about where I went wrong. Not surprisingly, I always found my way to the right place, and at the right time (because I would always allocate myself extra time for travel). Lastly, I had to be able to adapt. Being in London is different than being at home. I had to get used to everything around me. I had to accept that I couldn’t change how fast my laundry gets done or that tube strikes were going on that resulted in me walking everywhere. Overall, these were the main skills I have developed so far.

In the end, all of these skills will help me with professional opportunities in the future. Today, employers aren’t just looking for a college degree. They want to see that you have skills that can make you an efficient employee. Can you adapt if a project goes wrong? Can you problem-solve and figure out why this happened? Can you be a leader to your team to figure it out? Can you work together and solve the issue? As you can see all of these skills are needed to be successful. Because of this, I am very grateful to have this opportunity, to have classes, and to be in a new place. In return, this has created an environment for me to improve and grow personally and professionally.