Why Studying in Spain is a Strong Career Move for Me

Natalie Orslene is a student at The Ohio State University. She is an ISA Featured Blogger and studied abroad with ISA in Valencia, Spain

I have wanted to study abroad for about as long as I have known that I also wanted to study international relations and diplomacy.  The world is full of amazing opportunities, and I wanted the chance to see what there was to offer is a place that is different from Midwest, USA, where I have spent most of my life.  I always knew studying abroad was great for me in terms of learning more about the world and gaining cultural knowledge, but after spending 5 weeks living and studying in Valencia, Spain, I also realized how studying abroad would help my hopeful future career as a foreign service officer.

One of the biggest responsibilities of anyone who works in international relations is to be able to connect and communicate with people a different culture.  Studying in Spain gave me the opportunity to practice that skill.  I spoke to so many interesting and different people with whom I was able to build connections and while interacting, I learned so much about the Spanish culture and people.  Even if I don’t end up working in Spain, the ability to practice these skills while abroad was incredibly helpful for my future career.

Toledo, Spain, where we had an amazing time speaking with so many locals about Spanish culture.

Being involved with international work means there is a lot of travel involved.  Studying in Spain was a wonderful opportunity to travel on my own in a foreign country. Being able to navigate new cities, modes of transportation, and all the challenges that come with travel in a calm and organized way is a great skill to have for my future career and practicing it in a country where I had to it all in a foreign language was even more useful.

A stained glass window in La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona. This was one of my favorite spots in the entire trip.

Speaking of a foreign language, I think that unique opportunity was the most useful skill I gained by studying abroad.  When I hopefully work abroad, language skills will be incredibly important in both my work hours and leisure hours.  Studying abroad gave me the opportunity to practice Spanish in many different scenarios – with my host mom, professors, waiters, fellow students, and many more.  This was incredibly useful, especially with sustained practice over time, because I had to think on my feet and react to diverse types of conversations and topics of conversation that often tested my vocabulary.  It helped me grow as a Spanish speaker in general, but it also helped me learn to think on my feet and gain confidence in my ability to hold a conversation with new people.  Even if I work in a non-Spanish speaking country, this experience gave me the confidence in myself to build connections with many different people.

My experience in Spain was an incredibly eye-opening trip.  I had a lot of fun, and I saw many amazing things. But, one of the most impactful experiences was seeing how everything I was learning would be useful down the road in my future career.  Opening myself up to new opportunities in Spain was one of the smartest choices I could make for my future career.

Your Discovery. Our People… The World Awaits.


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