Five Years After Study Abroad: IES Abroad Alum Grant Carney, Graduate Student

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Grant Carney HeadshotWhile studying abroad in Granada, Spain, Grant Carney (IES Abroad Granada, Spring 2014 | Kenyon College) immersed himself in the Spanish language and gained confidence in his speaking abilities. Today, Grant is a graduate student in Economics at the University of Virginia and plans to move to Washington, DC, afterwards to work in economic policy. We caught up with Grant to hear how this William E. and Mary M. Dwyer Endowed Scholarship recipient’s study abroad experience helped prepare him for the professional world.

IES Abroad: As a student at Kenyon College, what led you to study abroad in Granada, Spain?

Grant Carney (GC): Kenyon's study abroad office was instrumental in guiding me towards Granada and the IES Abroad program. I read testimonials from Kenyon IES Abroad Granada alums, and they most often described an extremely immersive experience, excellent homestays, a college-town vibe, tapas culture, and the opportunity to take a class at the Universidad de Granada, which were also important in convincing me to choose Granada. I guess it didn't hurt that the beach and mountains are both within an hour drive.

IES Abroad: What impact did the IES Abroad Scholarship have on your career path and journey to where you are today?

GC: The IES Abroad Scholarship gave me the opportunity to fully immerse myself in the Spanish language for four months. I gained a lot of confidence in my speaking ability, which I had often felt was de-emphasized in my college courses. Even though I primarily focus on Economics and Statistics, I use Spanish almost daily because one of my main interests is economic development in Latin America. Granada is the perfect fit for a student who is intent on challenging and developing their Spanish language skills, and I'm very thankful to the scholarship committee for giving me that opportunity.

IES Abroad: Tell us what you’re up to today.

GC: I am currently a graduate student studying Economics at The University of Virginia. My typical day consists of a lot of math and problem sets. Sounds exciting, right?

IES Abroad: How did studying abroad in Granada help prepare you for your career path? What’s next for you after graduate school?

GC: Studying abroad in Granada helped me from a career perspective because I learned to value communication. Collaboration and teamwork are essential in economics, and these soft skills have been extremely important during my past jobs. After grad school, I plan to move to DC to work in economic policy.

IES Abroad: What is one thing you learned while abroad that remains a constant in your life today?

GC: Soccer has always been a big part of my life, and continued to be a part of it while I was abroad. Some of the most memorable experiences during my time with IES Abroad revolved around soccer. IES Abroad organized weekly pickup games with UGR students and I made a group of close Spaniard buddies while playing on an adult league team. I still have vivid memories of supporting Granada's local pro team after they beat Lionel Messi and Barcelona in a league match. While in Rabat, we played street soccer with a group of Moroccans. We didn't need to know Arabic or French in order to have fun. Soccer is a great way to connect with people from around the world.

IES Abroad: Do you have any advice for students who are thinking of studying abroad or interning?

GC: My only advice is to take classes outside of your major and primary interests. My favorite class was an Art History course, Islamic Art and Architecture of Spain and its Impact. We spent a lot of time visiting different sites in Granada to learn the history and design of the city. Even after five or more visits, The Alhambra never got old.

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. How will study abroad shape your career? Explore more benefits of studying abroad.

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