Blanca has traveled to more than fifty countries and has plenty of experience volunteering abroad. She studies a Bachelor in International Relations at Ie University and shares her experience as a student with us!
One of the best aspects about IE University is the people at the university; not only the professors who come from a diverse range of backgrounds, but also the students. I have heard the most fascinating stories from people I would never have expected to hear them from!
Three years have passed since I became part of the IE University family and recently I have gotten to know a girl who sits in the back row of my classroom.
Blanca, a member of the IE Cheerleading team, has traveled to more than fifty countries, taken part in an exchange in Colombia, and has plenty of experience volunteering abroad, having also participated in the Social Impact Lab last year. Her latest accomplishment is obtaining an internship in a multinational company called The Marmon Group in China.
How has your exchange in Colombia been? What are the differences between IE University and Los Andes University of Bogotá? Would you recommend doing an exchange there?
My exchange in Colombia has definitely been an experience I will never regret. Being an International Relations student and having the opportunity to study in Colombia in the midst of its peace process and elections really widened my knowledge within my field of study. Both universities take a very practical approach to learning, however Los Andes offers a more expansive list of degrees. This gave me the opportunity to enroll in subjects from a diverse range of departments and take part in group projects involving students from all different backgrounds and degrees. I would not hesitate in recommending both this university and this country to any exchange student. It will certainly be different from any other option and will give them a much better understanding of Colombia as a country, contrary to what the popular opinion can sometimes be. It will therefore open their minds and broaden their knowledge, which I believe is always necessary!
Can you tell us a bit more about your volunteering work and the Social Impact Lab?
I started doing volunteer work at an early age and tried out many different types of volunteering in many different countries, trying to find where my help would be of most use. One of the reasons I chose to study my degree was my trip to the Thai-Burma border, where I carried out a blog project with 20 other international students in order to raise awareness about the situation there. Along with this experience, the Social Impact Lab helped me gain a deeper insight into the work NGOs do, not just from a volunteering perspective. For instance, we organized focus groups to learn about the how IE University student perceived NGOs, which was really interesting as it wasn’t always positive. This is in total contrast with my experience working in the field where I got to see how the work they carry out has a truly positive impact.
And tell me a bit about your involvement in the extracurricular activities at IE University. What are the main lessons you have drawn out from being part of the cheerleading team here?
Definitely teamwork. We are a group of students of all different ages, nationalities, and backgrounds. Despite this, we learn and help each other with the same dance numbers and choreography. It is challenging but as a team we make it fun! Being part of this team also involves self-exposure, and being able to perform and do something you enjoy in front of so many people is undoubtedly an asset we can use in our professional lives.
Finally, why have you decided to do an internship in China? How is it going and how did you get it?
I utterly believe that having international experience enriches us as individuals, so the idea of working in a different country with an entirely different culture sounded perfect! I have been learning Chinese for a year and achieved my Chinese fluency diploma, so China was an ideal destination for me to be able to practice the language. I assume that being able to speak some Chinese was one of the main reasons why I got the internship. They have trusted me with the awesome project of finding potential consumers in Europe and Latin America, and I am feeling super comfortable with it, so I would say it is going great!