While studying abroad in Santiago, Chile, Luis Zamudio (IES Abroad Santiago, Fall 2013 | University of Rochester) had the opportunity to take courses in Business and Innovation and met people who furthered his interest in these areas. Fast forward five years later, Luis is a Market Research Analyst at Euromonitor International, where he analyzes market trends of home and technology goods in the United States and supporting analysts in Mexico. We caught up with Luis to hear how this IES Abroad Scholarship recipient’s study abroad experience helped prepare him for the professional world.
IES Abroad: As a student at the University of Rochester, what led you to study abroad in Santiago, Chile?
Luis Zamudio: Although I grew up speaking Spanish as my first language, I had never taken formal classes or used the language in a professional setting. I wanted to spend time in a place where I could practice my Spanish in a more formal setting and take courses at a local university. I chose Chile because it fulfilled this criteria, and I had always been fascinated by the country’s history and natural beauty.
I could not be happier with my decision. In addition to seeing beautiful sights and learning about Chilean culture, I had the opportunity to take courses in Business and Innovation at one of the top universities in Latin America. These courses influenced my decision to select entrepreneurship-focused classes for my three final semesters at the University of Rochester.
IES Abroad: What impact did the IES Abroad Scholarship have on your career path and journey to where you are today?
LZ: I would not have been able to study abroad without the IES Abroad Scholarship and the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship. I worked part time throughout my time at the University of Rochester, but the money I earned went straight to my educational expenses, and I was not able to save enough for even the flight to Chile. I am very grateful for both scholarships because they enabled so much growth for me. My experiences in Chile exposed me to modernization challenges taking place around Latin America and their similarities to what we faced in the United States. Many of the people I met in Chile influenced my interest in globalization and innovation. I make a point of highlighting my study abroad experience during job interviews. I strongly believe that the time I spent abroad helped prepare me for the professional world.
IES Abroad: Tell us about your current role at Euromonitor International. What is a typical day like for you?
LZ: I am a market research analyst at Euromonitor International. The company’s research helps manufacturers of consumer goods identify and understand trends that can affect their performance in markets around the world. My responsibilities consist of analyzing market trends of home and technology goods in the United States and supporting analysts in Mexico looking into similar things there. The role provides me with opportunities to learn about how technological changes and other developments affect markets around the world.
I have been working with Euromonitor for three months and have already had the chance to connect with many coworkers through discussions about our international experiences. The company’s global presence draws staff from around the world with all sorts of international study and work experience, which makes for a very diverse and intellectually stimulating workplace.
IES Abroad: How did studying abroad in Santiago help prepare you for your career?
LZ: Studying in Santiago gave me a taste of the independence and flexibility that comes with life after college. While IES Abroad provided some structure in terms of my housing and helping me to ensure that my courses would be credited at my home university, I had a lot of liberty to select courses that aligned with my interests. Each of my courses required group projects, and I worked on teams with students from Latin America, Europe, and the United States. We all came to our projects with different working styles, and we had to learn how to adapt to get positive results.
I also feel that my semester in Chile was the first time I could spend my free time however I wanted. The explorer in me wanted to visit a new national park or city every weekend, but I had to balance that with my budget and course work, especially as the semester was coming to an end. Experiencing these trade-offs in Chile helped me as I face many of the same prioritization decisions in my life today, currently in Chicago.
IES Abroad: What is one thing you learned while abroad that remains a constant in your life today?
LZ: For all the questions I had about Chilean culture, politics and life, it seemed like the foreigners I met abroad had just as many about life in the United States. I found myself discussing things like U.S. pop culture and foreign policy to the point where I almost felt like an ambassador for the country. Those questions helped me realize how important it is to be well-informed about developments in my home country. They also gave me a special sense of admiration for people from minority groups who have to serve as de facto representatives for their homelands on a daily basis.
IES Abroad: Do you have any advice for students who are thinking of studying or interning abroad?
LZ: I always knew I wanted to study abroad, but the financial hurdle was the biggest challenge to that goal. I encourage all students who face similar concerns to look for study abroad scholarships. They’re out there, and they make the whole experience much more enjoyable!
My advice for those who have already begun planning their time abroad is to keep those plans flexible. You cannot know all of the opportunities that will be available until you get to your host country, and you may discover new interests by being open to visiting unexpected places or registering for a course you did not know existed.
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.