Bárbara Pereira decided to make a 180 degree change to her life. She left her home country of Venezuela behind, along with her family and her previous studies, to come to CEU UCH. She’s currently studying a Dual Degree in Business Management and Marketing. Now that she has come out of her comfort zone, she wants to explore the world – in a few years time, she’ll probably be working at one of the big multinational companies.
What’s behind your decision to leave Venezuela and come to CEU in Spain?
As you know, my country is in a difficult situation right now. I thought that I had to take a decision about my future and so I researched several universities. My decision was finally Spain, both because my cousin already lives here and also because of the language. I loved CEU for several reasons: it’s a Catholic university, things were made really easy for me during the admissions process, and then also because of the admissions interview I had via Skype. Now, I think that coming here has been the best decision of my life.
Another thing is that having the chance to study a Dual Degree is unusual, especially in Latin America. Not many people there can say that they have studied for two degrees in five years. So, when I saw that CEU offered me the chance to study Business Management and Marketing at the same time, I knew that I had to take it.
Why did you choose the Dual Degree in Business Management and Marketing?
I was studying International Relations and Diplomacy in Venezuela. When I took the decision to move abroad, I felt that continuing to study something to do with politics might make it difficult for me to build a career in a foreign country. Given that, I realized that I had to be more realistic and I went for the second option I had in mind: to aim for a career in business. That’s why I chose the Dual Degree in Business Management and Marketing.
I really enjoy the marketing side. I think it’s really connected with the future, innovation, creativity, and strategy. The human resources area of organizations is another thing I find interesting and I can see myself working in that line in the future.
You’re working as a student assistant at the CEU UCH’s International Relations Service. How is that going?
My job is all about research and then communicating my research in presentations. I’m really enjoying this experience, especially because I get the opportunity to use my English. I was lucky enough in the past to live in the USA for a few months and now I can get back to using it again, and that’s a big bonus for me through getting a student assistant grant.
As you’re from another country, I suppose there must be things that surprise you about university life in Spain, the culture…
I’ve been pleasantly surprised by Spanish culture. There are many things that are very similar to what I know, and then other things that are very different. I love hearing people say vamos a tomar algo and they literally mean to go out and have something, anything, even if it’s only a Coca-Cola. In Venezuela, if you say that, it means you want to go out drinking. My experience in the USA was completely different: here the people are warmer and more sociable, and the quality of life, in particular, is high.
What I like about my experience here is that I get the chance to meet and interact with people from many different countries. I love that. I know that I’m not just going to make friends with people from my own country, but with people from anywhere and everywhere across the world.
When you decided to travel thousands of kilometres to come and study here, did you think you could cope? Did you think you were ready to take on all the challenges you would face from day to day?
I thought I wouldn’t last two months in Spain. The thing is that it was a difficult decision to take to come over, because I thought I wasn’t going to be able to handle it, but since then the time has flown by. I’ve been here a year and a half now and I’m loving it. I think I’ve got what it takes to face this and any other challenge the future holds. Now that I’ve moved out of my comfort zone, I want to travel the world.
When you finish your studies at CEU, where do you want to go? What will be the next step?
I want to see the world. I’d love to start my career in Spain and get to know the job market here. And then later, it’d be great if I could find opportunities in another country in Europe. Time will tell.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us, Bárbara! We wish you the very best of luck with your Dual Degree in Business Management and Marketing and with all your plans for the future.