While studying abroad in Australia, Amanda Vandiver (IES Abroad Melbourne, Fall 2012 | Texas Christian University) was introduced to media and technology in one of her IES Abroad courses. Fast forward five years later, Amanda works in New York City as an Enterprise Partner Growth Manager for Branch, a mobile tech start-up. We caught up with Amanda to hear how this IES Abroad Scholarship recipient’s study abroad experience gave her the courage to move across the country to pursue her career goals.
IES Abroad: As a student at Texas Christian University, what led you to study abroad in Australia?
Amanda Vandiver (AV): I knew I wanted to challenge myself, experience a new culture, and see the world. Luckily, Texas Christian University (TCU) strongly encouraged study abroad, and 25% of the student body participated in a study abroad program during their time at TCU.
IES Abroad: What impact did the IES Abroad Scholarship and study abroad have on your career path and journey to where you are today?
AV: My experience truly helped shape me and my career path. As a film, TV, digital media major, I was not sure what my story would entail. My study abroad experiences introduced me to media and technology. In fact, one of my courses abroad examined the future of media and technology, where I wrote an essay discussing the convergence of technologies within smartphones… five years later, I now have a successful career in mobile tech. None of it would have been possible without my IES Abroad Scholarship.
IES Abroad: Tell us what you are up to today. What is a typical day like for you?
AV: I live in New York City with my boyfriend and golden retriever, where I work for a mobile tech startup called Branch. I am an account executive responsible for growing our partner relationships and communicating our offerings to the world’s largest mobile growth community. I’m lucky to be able to present at our meetups and attend conferences around the U.S. Not only do I explore all the city has to offer, but I also take every opportunity possible to travel and see more of our amazing world.
IES Abroad: How did studying abroad in Australia help prepare you for a career in communications and marketing?
AV: My time in Melbourne enriched my communication skills immensely. I was introduced to completely new standards for learning – with a heavy emphasis on written communication. In regards to marketing, I feel an important aspect comes down to relating to people different from yourself, and I’m confident that immersing myself in a new culture strengthened my relationship skills.
IES Abroad: What is one skill or lesson you learned abroad that remains a constant in your life today?
AV: Don’t seek perfection, seek perspective.
IES Abroad: Do you have any advice for students who are thinking of studying or interning abroad?
AV: Travel is the only thing you can buy that makes you richer. I would never have had the courage to move to NYC from Texas away from my entire family to start a new career had I not first lived across the world in Australia for study abroad. Some of my greatest friendships stemmed from my time in Melbourne. I’ve become more adaptable, accepting, cultured, and can truly say I have a global perspective.
This article was originally published in the IES Abroad alumni magazine Exchange. The "Five Years After Study Abroad" series features alumni who received an IES Abroad scholarship, and explores how studying abroad shaped their life and career.
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