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The Principal’s Go Abroad Fund (PGAF) gave me the opportunity to expand my academic and social horizon in Mexico this summer. Latin America was a part of the world I hadn’t discovered much, yet I speak conversational Spanish that enables me to communicate. The great amount of language practice that I got, helped me to really grow my command of and self-confidence in it. Simultaneously, I enhanced my knowledge and skills of business and accountancy through engaging in the field. I learnt that there are many overlaps between practices in different countries and that my learning in Edinburgh will aid my career anywhere around the world, while differences are often subtle but important.

Takeaway tips:

  • Try to combine different goals in your time abroad; from learning about my academic field I developed my project to improve my language skills, learning about local cultures and foods.
  • In order to combine as many goals as possible, select your destination carefully – and watch out: making such a decision and developing a project based upon it takes time, so plan ahead.
  • As your planning will be very time-consuming, make sure you are working on a project that will excite you throughout the process.
  • And although you should be excited about your goals, be very flexible throughout. Maybe your travel arrangements do not proceed smoothly, your desired internship position doesn’t work out or your arranged accommodation is not quite what you expected. Be flexible in your planning, and ready to make changes to your perspectives on-the-go.

Returning from my experience abroad, I realised I had probably gained more experiences in a matter of weeks than I usually would in months. I planned my time carefully and took up almost every opportunity available on the way. Travel, fun activities with colleagues, meeting new people. For example, after completing my project, I decided to backpack in Cuba to really make the most of my time in The Americas.

Takeaway tips:

  • Make sure you have no regrets after coming home – and then I mean regrets of things you did not do, rather than those that you did!
  • List your goals, and brainstorm about different ways to achieve each of them.
  • Again, be open to new ideas as you go!

For me, the PGAF revealed a way of having fun, exploring the world, and growing academically and socially all at the same time. PGAF – Thank you!

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