I am convinced that studies abroad make a great contribution to any person’s life on different levels; it should be regarded as a unique and serious opportunity regardless the destination point. It is generally known that getting involved into a new environment is not an easy task that would need high adaptation and communication abilities. In addition, visiting new countries is always exceptionally important for learning the cultural peculiarities and broadening one’s horizons. Considering the fact that the tendency to gather professionals from all over the world and conclude contracts with foreign partners has recently become more frequent among the global companies, acquaintance with various cultures is obviously a great advantage for a young and promising professional. My long-term goal is to develop my career in the sphere of engineering or any other on the international level. Consequently, regarding the global expenditure of the American, European and Asian companies, obtaining such foreign experience is one of the main tasks for me.
A semester of studies abroad would let me gain insight of a completely different country and appreciate different cultures and people. In such a way, I will get a better preparation to become a mature professional with a high level of adaptability, versatility and diversity in future.
My choice of the classes to study during the exchange program was connected with their uniqueness. For now, the University of Puerto Rico does not provide the opportunity to learn on campus the thinking and behavioral aspects as a part of a minor in psychology. I will eagerly complete these classes during my undergraduate studies as a mechanical engineer. I believe this knowledge can reinforce my professional career. I am aspired to work for a big company or on my own creating systems and processes that would be helpful for the society. Being a young specialist, I already have some experience in the engineering sphere and understand that regardless the development of high technologies and manufacture automatization, understanding people and their behavior is the key to success. For this reason, I am sure that usage of my knowledge in psychology with my technical one will maximize the efficiency of the efforts and ideas on improvement and developments in the sphere.
I must emphasize that the last year I have worked in professional internships of Florida and California. This experience has brought me together with people from different parts of USA and even countries. Working in a team with the representatives of different cultures, ideas and opinions has made me realize the importance of abilities to learn about other cultures and adapt oneself to work in conjunction with them. The concept “people” sounds fundamental to me because I want to understand the importance of interpersonal and intergroup communication separately from the technical skills in order not only to become a good engineer, but to work globally and adapt my technical abilities to other cultures and countries for their benefit as well as mine.
Selection of Spain for my exchange program was not accidental but based on the academic offer, culture and personal interest. As I have mentioned above, the first reason is the availability of the specific psychology courses that I want to complete for my minor. Moreover, I am attracted to Spain because of its location on another continent, which makes its culture completely different. I am convinced it will be very useful for my personal and professional life to learn how to adapt in a new place. Finally, in a way, Spain can be regarded as a part of my culture. The fact that Puerto Rico was a part of Spain for almost 400 years makes me feel a kind of connection with the country. To sum it up, Spain can definitely match the country I need for my exchange program as it can not only provide me with the academic and professional knowledge that I need, but also a personal connection that can give me that impulse to make this experience unforgettable.
In order to have a good and productive exchange experience, I have selected the OLE RUM Exchange Program as a sponsor. The main reason of my choice is that I believe this sponsor to be the most appropriate and helpful to expand my cultural experience and learn how to work and interact with other ideas, cultures and people. For this Program, I will collaborate directly with students of Spain who study in the same university. In such way, I will get even more experience in understanding different cultures and gaining a better insight from people around the word. I hope this experience will become "a door to the other side of the world" that is waiting for me to discover it.
I realize quite well that there are some personal, academic and external challenges that I will need to take while my studies in Spain. Acquaintance with a new culture, different country, different opinions and activities as well as an adaptation to this new life and becoming a part of it is not an easy task. However, my excitement about this trip and challenges lessens considerably all these difficulties because I feel that I have the strength to overcome them. Furthermore, this program will cover two main academic aspects: studies in a different country and studies of a different field. Thus, I understand that it will be my responsibility to change my study habits to some other requirements, adapt to new professors, classes, and assignments, in summary to an entire new academic culture. In addition, taking psychology courses does not refer to a field of my major concentration. Therefore, to my mind, this is the moment, when I need to focus on the minor that I want to complete. Finally, there are some external encounters that I will need to adapt during my exchange. Among such, one can mark out different from Puerto Rico’s weather and food. Nevertheless, I believe that trying something new is always a useful experience. Maybe it sounds contradictory, but for me those "challenges" are not challenges. They represent opportunities and experiences that contribute to the reasons for doing this exchange program.
To sum it up, I am sure that academics and professional experience, cultural and personal challenges create the key opportunities for this exchange program. I am convinced that the benefits of that experience will remain with me during my entire life.