"The Erasmus experience helped me to develop a lot more on a personal level in terms of my communication skills, confidence and using my initiative in certain work situations."
What subject did you study at the University of Surrey and what year did you graduate?
I studied Business Management with Spanish and graduated in 2012
What were the best things about your course?
The 3 best things about my course were my tutor Marga Menendez-Lopez, my coursemates who I still see today and my placement year.
Why did you decide to take an Erasmus study/work abroad exchange?
I choose my course as the Erasmus placement year abroad was mandatory and I wanted to become fluent in Spanish and experience the culture first hand.
Where did you go and what did you do on the Erasmus scheme?
I worked in a spa/golf hotel in Manilva, Malaga where I spent 6 months working on the Spa reception and 6 months working on the main hotel reception.
How did your Erasmus experience help you develop personally or professionally during your time as a Surrey student, and has this influenced your choice of career?
The Erasmus experience helped me to develop a lot more on a personal level in terms of my communication skills, confidence and using my initiative in certain work situations. I also gained a lot more independence and self-confidence by living and working abroad and having to figure things out for myself. Professionally I developed my Spanish language skills tremendously, however unfortunately haven't had the chance to use them in my career to date. My placement year has therefore not influenced my career choice.
What do you do now and what do you find most enjoyable about your line of work?
I currently work for AIG Life Ltd who offer life insurance and critical illness protection products in the financial services industry. My role is a Business Development Consultant working in the Sales team. I most enjoy being able to specialise in my role and the team I work with.
How can students hoping to work in your profession make the most of their time at Surrey?
In terms of working in financial services, the most important thing is gaining experience. In terms of making the most of your time at Surrey I would definitely recommend taking a placement year to work abroad.
What advice would you give to current students thinking about a study/work abroad placement? Do you have any top tips to offer?
The advice I would give is to take a placement year, preferably abroad if possible as this enhances the experience so much and gives you the chance to immerse yourself in a different culture. Not to mention the opportunity to learn a new language (depending on the country you choose). My top tip is to apply early to get the placement and location you want.