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The rewards of living and studying abroad

By Alexandra Rodriguez - Posted on 4 May 2017

Now working in the finance sector in her homeland of Colombia, Investment and Finance alumna Alexandra Rodriguez talks about the benefits the Strathclyde programme has brought her.

Living and studying abroad is one of the most rewarding experiences I have had in my life and it has definitely helped me to reach where I am currently in my career. Firstly, doing the MSc Investment and Finance at the University of Strathclyde Business School reinforced the theoretical knowledge I had about finance. Moreover, it made me realise that in some cases, regular practices within the financial industry in my home country Colombia were contradictory with the financial theory, therefore, it made me aware of opportunities that can combine theory and practice, making businesses more profitable for clients and the company.

Additionally, having a Masters degree in Colombia put me in a better position than most of my peers - according to research, only 19.31% of graduate students in Colombia continue with superior studies such as MSc or PhD, whilst in some countries this percentage is 51.2% for master programmes.

Secondly, all the courses taught me new financial practices, products and services, not only from a UK perspective, but also from a multicultural one. And this is exactly what dynamic companies are looking for - people who can provide new ideas, new ways to do things everyday and can think outside the box, in order to grow, to differentiate from other companies, to give more value to customers and to contribute to developing the Colombian financial market. Moreover, teamwork during classes made me confident about my abilities to lead due to my capacity to communicate and connect easily with people from diverse places.

Thirdly, during my studies I enhanced my English level, and this is relevant in a country where according to Santiago Rojas, ex Minister of Trade, Industry and Tourism, only 1 of 10 Colombians speaks English at a high level. In addition, Education First (EF), a company dedicated to teaching English worldwide measured the competences and abilities of 70 countries which had English as a second language in 2015, and ranked Colombia in 57th place, a statistic that reinforces the hard work Colombia has to do on this field and the advantageous position I am in in the labour force.

Finally, being abroad let me develop traits such as adaptability to change, respect for different beliefs, habits and lifestyles, that otherwise would be more difficult to get.

 It opened my mind, made me realise that in some cases I can be wrong about other people, that I am stronger than I thought, and gave me the confidence to face any difficulty. For all mentioned above, I highly recommend and encourage international students to do their Masters studies at University of Strathclyde. It can change your life from a personal and professional perspective, it offers you the opportunity to grow, to learn from others and to contribute to change in your country.


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