Studying abroad is quite the unique learning experience. It’s so much more than the knowledge you gain within the classroom — although you can definitely expect to learn a lot from attending your classes. Studying abroad means broadening your horizons by adapting to new cultures and unfamiliar situations. In doing so, you can develop crucial soft skills and make yourself available to more opportunities while studying abroad.
As an international student, an internship is definitely something you should take advantage of. When the opportunity presents itself, don’t be afraid to immerse yourself in a global internship experience which can bring long-term positive effects to your future career.
When Lorelei Abad was an international student earning her undergraduate degree at Saint Louis University – Madrid (SLU-Madrid), she took on an internship that eventually played a significant role in her career.
Now the marketing manager for an asset management firm in Sydney, Australia, Lorelie promotes sustainability in the financial industry, a trend that she believes “will become more mainstream in the future.” She has developed an interest in this unique aspect of the financial world as a way to bring about positive changes both socially and environmentally through her work at this ‘pioneering but cautious’ European firm.
Find out more about her story below.
The global internship experience at Saint Louis University – Madrid
When she was a senior at SLU-Madrid pursuing an economics major, Lorelie took on an internship which gave her firsthand experience in applying her in-class knowledge in the workplace. Her strong work ethic and contribution to the business led to a full-time position in a sales support role in the company’s Madrid office.
“The ‘global experience’ of my time at SLU-Madrid proved invaluable to my career, especially since my dream was to work for a global organization,” Lorelie comments. “I can easily connect and collaborate with people from different countries, cultures and time zones – something I do now on a daily basis in my job.”
After eight years in sales support, Lorelie transitioned to her current position as a marketing manager in the firm’s Sydney office.
Roots: from vacationing to studying in Madrid
Originally from Manila, Philippines, Lorelie’s first visit to Madrid was on a family vacation. She immediately connected with life in Madrid and imagined she would return one day. She later found herself pursuing an economics major at SLU-Madrid.
She recalls, “The whole SLU-Madrid experience opened my eyes and taught me so much more about the world than any college textbook. Classmates from Taiwan, Zimbabwe, Germany, Saudi Arabia, Trinidad & Tobago, Colombia, USA, Cuba, Spain – everyone with a different background, different life story, but respecting one another and coming together to share their views and cultural experiences from history, literature, art – and with some cervezas y vino! It couldn’t have been better!”
Experiencing different cultures by going on exchange
Lorelie furthered her global knowledge by studying abroad in Japan for a semester through SLU-Madrid’s exchange program. Living in an international context at SLU-Madrid and beyond forced her to leave her comfort zone and explore different cultures of different time zones. When asked to give advice to prospective and current SLU-Madrid students, she advises to “come up with solutions, not problems” in the face of the challenges.