I Studied Abroad in Spain! - Life Now

I Studied Abroad in Spain! - Life Now

 

 Alumni Reflections: From Madrid Study Abroad Blog to Post-PINC Fabulous

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I’ve always had a wandering heart with an urge to travel and explore different cultures. After following PINC International’s journey on social media and staying in contact with the CEO, Lisette Miranda, I finally built up the courage and decided I was going to join the two-week summer immersion program offered by PINC International. Goodbye Texas and hola Madrid!

 

Madrid Study Abroad Blog

 

Studying Abroad in Madrid, through PINC has been such an exciting journey for myself. I had the opportunity to travel across the world and immerse myself in a different culture. I enjoyed the different rich foods, passionate music, and interacting with the lively locals on a daily basis. Part of our program included Spanish classes, and this helped me understand the beautiful language and benefited me when we went out during our free time to better communicate with the locals. We also had the opportunity to visit some amazing sites such as Retiro Park, which was a perfect way to enjoy the beautiful weather and visit The Palacio de Cristal.

 

The Reina Sofia Museum was another great site we were able to visit as it is a cultural must see when in Madrid. Can you guess what my favorite word was while abroad? Ok, I’ll give you a hint, it’s delicious and starts with the first letter of my name…Yup, it's “vino!” For those of you who don’t know what that is, it's wine! A drink consumed in Spain at any given time. As for the food, you can find the best places that sell pasta, pizza, chocolate churros, coffee, and TAPAS! Tapas are popular in Spain and can actually be anything that is consumed as a small appetizer or meal, usually paired with a couple of drinks. Okay, enough drooling, let’s continue.

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BARCELONA! Yea, I’m sure the first thing that comes to mind is The Cheetah Girls! That was definitely our theme throughout the weekend we spent there. Yes, a trip to Barcelona is included to both of PINC's summer programs! This was a great weekend trip for some relaxation after our first week settling in Spain. Our free time to explore was precious, so we had no time to waste and a group of us decided we would head out to the beach the first day. The sand between our toes, the wind slightly blowing, and the sound of the ocean splashing and the hit of Summer 2017 Despacito playing in the background made for a beautiful mental picture.

 

One night, the entire group gathered for a large dinner, where we all sat on the rooftop of our hostel and enjoyed a meal cooked by the lovely Lisette, and yes, I had seconds. The next day, we visited the Sagrada Familia, a large historical Roman Catholic church which started construction back in 1882 and will be completed “mañana”, a word that means more than tomorrow, it can mean weeks or even years. Although, the actual scheduled date of completion for the Sagrada Familia is expected in 2026, (hopefully!) Later that day we walked the grounds of the famous Park Guell which was completely breathtaking!

 

WATCH: PINC Barcelona Video

 

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Post-PINC Reflections 

 

Ok, enough reminiscing! I want to share how studying abroad with PINC International has benefited me on both a personal and professional level. This experience has not only helped me with my confidence, but it has also helped me with my networking skills. I was inspired and I became motivated to keep pursuing my dream career and establishing goals. Since my trip, I decided I would become more involved at my university. Thanks to PINC International's confidence workshop, I have built up the courage to become a contributing writer for our school newspaper. PINC has also honed skills I didn’t even know I was capable of:

 

  • Global Awareness- I am now able to better understand different perspectives of others and have been cautious towards certain situations and settings. Being exposed to a different country opened my eyes about the different circumstances around the world and has kept me in tune with global updates.
  • Self-Awareness- I learned a lot about who I am, I discovered my purpose, motive and how I can be a better version of myself.
  • Emotional Intelligence- Being away from home in a foreign country for two weeks with 21 strangers came with challenges. There were so many learning moments in the group, you have to be aware of everyone around you and I discovered some of my weak points and my strong while navigating each person. Thankfully, I learned how to control these emotions which helped me become a stronger person with an optimistic mindset.
  • Adaptability- Being across the world, I needed to learn how to quickly adjust to such a drastic time change. While I was going to bed, everyone back home was barely waking up! Thus, my time management skills were an important characteristic during this time. More importantly, I soon adapted to the beautiful culture and challenged myself to try new things such as the food. I never thought I'd actually eat some of the stuff I did while on this trip, but I sure am glad I did because it was all so AMAZING. The weather was also an important factor when learning to adjust, I noticed that the mornings were a bit chilly and the days were HOT! Aside from this, living with roommates was something I had not experienced before so it was a great way for me to adjust to the "dorm life". Finally, the transportation was a major change I experienced. Luckily, I quickly learned how to navigate my way on the subway for class and adjusted to the walking!
  • Independence- Well for one, I flew across the world on my own! I made the decision to take part of this trip alone, funded the program on my own and took the initiative to put myself out there to start gaining beneficial experiences.

This program definitely re-ignited the ambitious flame. Being exposed to such a diverse location has opened my mind, allowing me to understand different perspectives and helping me find out who I am.

 

This trip has also been a valuable experience that I have been able to add to my resume! International travel experience, study abroad participant, volunteer experience, and language learning are all great defining factors to help amplify my resume! Along with this program, you receive an amazing support system. Lisette and her wonderful crew have been helpful in various ways since returning home and I am very thankful I have them for guidance. Also, I cannot forget to mention the wonderful ladies on the program as well. Within the first few days of landing, an instant connection was made with my roommates, immersion group, and internship ladies! Today, I’ve kept in contact with many of them, which in fact has opened new doors, such as becoming a Brand Girl.

 

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The Brand Girls

I know, what exactly is this? Well, The Brand Girls is actually a program constructed by CEO Rachael Bozsik that helps young women define their personal brand through one-on-one Skype sessions. How did I find out about this? This is where my PINC connections come in! One of my roommates on the program mentioned while cooking dinner one night in Spain, about the Her Conference taking place in New York City the following month. I was clueless on what this was about so she enlightened me about the details. Before I knew it, I was receiving my confirmation email for my next flight, NEW YORK!

 

Her Conference is the leading career development conference for young women in the fields of communications, marketing, public relations, entrepreneurship, etc. It is a two-day event filled with panels of speakers from major companies such as NBC, POPSUGAR, The Wall Street Journal, Teen Vogue and much more! Luckily, my roommate was a New York native, so I was able to meet up with her while I was in New York and attend the conference together. While I was here, I had the amazing opportunity to meet CEO Racheal Bozsik and after speaking to her for a while, I decided I wanted to join her online program, The Brand Girls!
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Over the course of a few weeks, I was able to start my first BG session with Racheal via Skype! My oh, my, was I nervous but PINC’s confidence workshop reminded me to be self-assured, prepared and open to information during the session. In the first session, Rachael helped me sculpt together a mission statement for my resume. I also learned a lot about different companies within the PR field and a lot of first-hand info within that major! The session lasted 45 minutes and I was assigned homework before my next session with Racheal’s colleague, Kirstie Russell.
 
Thanks to PINC’s networking workshop, I mapped out a few ideas about how I would execute the upcoming sessions. For the second, third, and fourth sessions with my mentee Kirstie, I was able to create a new and amplified resume, come up with an elevator pitch, continue to build my confidence, and better identify a direction to my career. I also gained some useful information on how a resume should look and be presented. PINC's interview and resume workshop helped me with this as well, keeping my resume up to date and “living” What is a Living Resume? Now, I feel more confident when applying for future internships and jobs, especially with my new study abroad experience!
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Support is crucial to success. I now have a tribe, a PINC tribe, a whole support system of women across the US who are also a part of PINC International and The Brand Girls! With connections such as these, it is highly possible for your resume to be at the top of the list with your dream company. My international experience also gives me a competitive edge to my resume, so I deeply encourage you to go out and start networking. Find your program, get involved, attend conferences, SPEAK UP, ask questions, be confident, bold, focused, and F-A-B-U-L-O-U-S!
Vanessa Dominguez

Written by Vanessa Dominguez

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