The first part of this post is devoted to all of my friends who use ¨missing out on internships¨ or ¨not growing as a professional¨ while studying abroad as excuses not to go. Now, I cannot speak for every major, but I sure can for those of you who are in the business schools all around the United States. To be fair, I too was a bit afraid that I will have absolutely nothing to put on my resume because of departing Philadelphia. I know how it feels having to choose between going abroad and being professionally competitive, and it’s no fun. As it turns out, having both is possible – and one should not be pressured to pick one or the other. Surprisingly even for myself, Zagreb is bursting with career fairs, conferences, young professionals from all around the world and opportunities – all you need is to open your eyes and do some research (knowing the language helps, too).
A couple weeks ago, as I have already mentioned, there was the Student Future Day at my university. I have already gotten several e-mails from companies, saying they are in the process of reviewing our applications – and one interview call. In addition to it, this week I have attended a conference, called LEAP summit. It was a three day event, full of meeting new people, networking and useful insights from wonderful Croatian, Australian, German, American, British, and many other, speakers. Just to give my readers an idea of the event’s scale: 1000 participants and companies like Walt Disney, IBM, Google, P&G under one roof. To say that I was amazed is to not say anything. I have learned things about business and marketing that I would not have been able to learn just from reading books and attending lectures. Among other good things, I now have business contacts all around Europe, and know how people of different origins think and do work.
What is the main take out from it, you would ask? Not to let fears about professional life and the upcoming job hunt scare you away from the idea of studying abroad. I wish I had started to research events like this as soon as I arrived – but there’s still time to fix things, isn’t there? 🙂
Now, another important something happened this week – my 20th birthday! Given the fact that my last birthday in a foreign country (United States of America, last year) I spent cleaning my dorm room, packing things to move out and passing macroeconomics final until 8 pm – I wasn’t too enthusiastic about what this year was going to bring. It turned out to be the greatest one yet.
In the morning, one of my roommates, Ina, took me down from my room to the kitchen, where a cake, flowers and some champagne from all three of them were waiting (if you guys are reading this – I love you and you made my day).
After a tiring but productive day at the conference, I arrived home and my Russian friends came over – surprise! – with a cake, 20 lit & brightly burning candles and a birthday song. Our boys (Thibault & Coco, my and Ina’s roommates) cooked Mexican dinner for all of us – this evening was the highlight of my time here and I don’t remember when I last felt so loved and cared for 🙂
The next day my Croatian friends, as well as the Russian girls, came over, and we had another round of fun, celebration and dancing together. Now I don’t know what a perfect birthday looks like to my readers – but to me, I couldn’t wish for more. Who would think I’d be able to surround myself with such wonderful people in just 3 months of being in a foreign country? But I did, and I laugh – which only proves me to be the happiest person alive, thanks to them.