Alumni Spotlight: Alexandra Grund

Alexandra Grund, age 20 from Mansfield, Ohio, is currently entering her senior year at Ashland University in Ashland, Ohio. She is an international business major with minors in French and Spanish. Her experience in Barcelona, Spain was her fourth time abroad.

Why did you decide to intern abroad with Global Experiences?

Alexandra: In 2013, I arranged to study abroad in Costa Rica during the summer and France during the spring of 2014. After my summer in Costa Rica, though, I knew one semester abroad would not be a long enough experience in a foreign country. I began looking through my school and online for internship programs abroad.

I discovered many different programs that looked great, however Global Experiences definitely outshined the others through their personable staff and assistance along the way.

Looking online for a program can be scary, but after the multiple conversations I had with their staff and alumni, I knew Global Experiences was the program for me. They gave me feedback about my cover letter and resume and assisted my growth to becoming a young professional.

What was the best place you visited outside of your intern abroad city?

Alexandra: Throughout my stay in Europe I visited a total of 8 countries and fell in love with every country for a variety of reasons. However, the best country I visited by far was Poland. I visited both Warsaw and Krakow.

From their exquisite cuisine to their hospitable citizens, everything was absolutely perfect. It was fascinating to see how a country with such turbulent history stayed so strong in their cultural practices and language.

Although many Polish could not speak English, I was able to find my way around the towns and learn a substantial amount about their culture and history. It was not a place I had desired to visit, but now I know I will be back again someday soon.

Alexandra and fellow interns in Monserrat, Spain

Tell us about any interesting cultural tidbits you noticed about your country:

Alexandra: Spain is a country rich in cultural practices. The citizens are exceptionally nice and extremely relaxed. If you have a meeting with someone in Spain around 10:00 am, they will most likely not arrive until 10:30 am. It is not rude, just a more relaxed way of life.

During work hours my coworkers would go for coffee breaks many times a day. They are very interested in building relationships and having a good time, as you can see through the multiple cafes around the cities where people go to have a coffee and enjoy each other’s company. Dinner is also much later and people don’t normally eat until 9:00pm.

Alexandra & friends enjoying a homemade meal on their balcony in Barcelona

These meals are also longer and more relaxed. You never feel as if you are being rushed out of a restaurant as it’s necessary to ask for the check in order to pay for your meal and leave.

Do you think your program changed you as a person?

Alexandra: I am definitely a more globally aware person. I have been able to experience a new culture first hand and meet people from different parts of the world that I would have never met by staying at home.

After living in a new environment, I have also learned to adapt to any new circumstances in my life, whether it be to a new living arrangement to a new culture to a new language. I am fully prepared to take on whatever challenge lies in my path. I know I can accomplish anything if I just work hard and stay focused on my goal.