For my STEP Signature Project this summer, I had the opportunity to live in Madrid Spain for nine weeks while completing an Internship through the Fisher School of Business. I worked for a gourmet foods supply company from Spain that supplies to high end restaurants within France, predominately Paris, within their logistics and finance department. While in Spain, I learned many things that helped me not only in the business aspect and in my education but that helped me to grow as a person as well. I worked on a Finance project to restructure the companies weekly layout for finance updates as well as market analysis and research for potential markets the company could expand into throughout Europe. Pictured with this post are my coworkers at a work party we had a few weeks after I had arrived. I truly became friends with my colleagues and felt as if I had made a family away from home.
While away in Europe, I began to notice a definitive change. I felt that I was able to be extremely independent and resourceful due to the support I received from my coworkers, other friends interning, and my parents back home. I learned how to ask for help or what to do if I wasn’t sure within a work place, something that I had always struggled to do before in fear of making mistakes or humiliation. I was able to be self sufficient and help myself around the cities I traveled to and truly immerse myself into the culture as a local. While of the trip I became aware that my major truly is my passion and what I wanted to do because I was living the life and working in the area I strive to be able to after I graduate. I realized that I want to be able to move abroad for a few years after college in order to truly become the global person I want to be.
My coworkers definitely helped to catalyze this change within me. By having them encourage me every day and truly become friends with me when commuting or at lunch I was able to thrive. While my Spanish was not perfect, they did not judge my language abilities and were readily there to help me and push me to move out of my comfort zone. If my work environment had been different, I do not think I would have had an experience this positive or consider living abroad after graduation. However, they along with the friends I made on this trip, showed me that I can be a strong and independent student that can truly do anything I set my mind to if I work hard and really try my best.
This change will help me in my studies when it comes to group projects and being able to ask others for help and see that my mistakes aren’t errors for learning but rather rooms for improvement and lessons for growing as a student. I can use my independence to shape my life after graduation and truly live the life I want to live, whether that be in Europe or the United States. I have learned skills in Finance and Logistics that could never be taught from a classroom, only hands on experience and real business situations. I am forever grateful to have had this amazing summer in Madrid and for being able to have this incredible opportunity become a reality. -Tiffany Scheer