Abdul-Aziz Muhammad studied abroad with ISA in Santiago, Chile in Summer 2017 and again in Spring 2018. He was an ISA Global Ambassador before graduating from Prairie View A&M University. Abdul-Aziz now works in Houston, Texas and is already thinking about plans to travel abroad in the future. We reached out to him to learn more!
1. Describe your current role. What are some interesting aspects of your job that you enjoy?
I work as an Analyst for Accenture in Houston, Texas. I am currently working on a project for Shell where I am doing Marketing Mixed Modeling (MMM) and analytics. My role in this project is to help the client discover techniques that could allow them to accurately measure the effects of their marketing campaigns. This helps the client effectively determine the best ways to improve sales and increase their brand health. Mainly, I have been doing a lot of programming, including cleaning and processing datasets from clients, which is very challenging. However, I am learning a plethora of new coding techniques and soft skills. I am grateful to work with a wonderful group of people and look forward to learning new skills and strategies on my next project.
2. How did studying abroad prepare you for your current role?
The act of simply being able to get comfortable with being uncomfortable while abroad really strengthened my confidence. When I was abroad, I encountered uncomfortable situations every single day. I learned to appreciate these experiences because they taught me how to learn more about myself, and more importantly, improve my character. They exposed my weaknesses as well as my strengths, and as a result, I was able to strengthen my soft skills. These newly developed skills that I learned abroad have been essential throughout my current profession.
3. How did working as a Global Ambassador develop professional skills that you use now?
The position as a Global Ambassador (GA) really developed my public speaking skills and improved my confidence. Being a GA helped me overcome my fear of speaking in front of large groups of people. In the professional world, public speaking is both necessary and essential. I feel much more comfortable and confident leading presentations in front of my team and colleagues at work.
4. How do you stay internationally-minded? What global influences do you have in your everyday life?
I love this question! While I was abroad in Chile, I took salsa and bachata classes, which was an aspect of Latin American culture that I loved. Back home in Texas, I continue to take these classes to practice and to feel more connected to my time abroad. I often go dancing to improve both my Spanish and dancing skills, but also to meet new people from Latin American countries. This has helped me embrace the many differences between Latin American countries and have a deeper understanding of their cultural differences.
One of my biggest global influences is mi madre chilena (my Chilean mom) who I am in continuous contact with. I also have a Puerto Rican polola (that’s a Chilean word for girlfriend) who has taught me a ton about Puerto Rican culture. Being that Puerto Rico is a United States territory, one might think that the two cultures are more similar than different. However, I’ve learned that this is not the case. My polola has introduced me to Puerto Rican culture, which helps me stay culturally-minded and motivates me to practice cultural awareness. I look forward to visiting one day to experience the rich culture and meet her family!
5. What are some goals and aspirations you have for your future?
A long-term goal of mine is to own my own home improvement business centered on technology. I plan to earn my PhD in machine learning and would love to study abroad again. Ultimately, I just want to keep exploring the world. I have started learning Korean with the hope of traveling to South Korea in the future. My goal is to travel to at least 50 countries and learn how to read, write and speak 13 languages!