Did YOU study/intern abroad?! If so, where and what inspired you to go?
Ann: I spent the summer after my freshman year of college studying abroad in order to continue my academic studies while soaking in a new place and culture. I took Spanish classes at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid and economic classes at the London School of Economics.
From this experience, I learned the value of becoming immersed in new cultures and taking advantage of all that international learning – and living – has to offer.
What was your favorite traveling experience?
Ann: Following my work experience in New York, I sought out cultural immersion once again. I didn’t want to simply study Spanish; I wanted to immerse myself in it. I travelled with my closest friend through Argentina, Chile, Ecuador, and Peru, while taking intensive Spanish classes and living with homestay families for four months.
We called our adventure “SAaL: Taking a ToaL” (or “South America at Large: Taking a Trip of a Lifetime”). This time exploring South America and studying Spanish confirmed my strong desire to pursue a professional opportunity abroad, specifically in Argentina, where I landed in 2008.
Why is language learning and cultural immersion important to you?
Ann: While working for the Thomas J. Watson Foundation in New York and coordinating the J.K. Watson Fellowship, I saw firsthand the importance of cultural immersion. The Fellowship provides internships, mentoring, and enriched educational opportunities to promising New York City undergraduates, and I saw these students blossom into global citizens through their internship experiences in NYC and around the globe, from South Africa, to India, to Istanbul.
This type of cultural immersion is vital in shaping global citizens who bring an international perspective to their spheres of work and influence, which is the mission of Puentes.
What do you believe to be the biggest factor in being a successful company?
Ann: I believe that the biggest factor in being a successful company is meticulous and cheerful organization. When this mindset and perspective is applied to all business components – from client development to marketing to finances, the result is a well organized and carefully considered approach, all while remaining positively engaging. This meticulous and cheerful organization is our most important value at Puentes.
What unique qualities does your company possess?
Ann: Puentes is unique in that it offers a truly personalized and comprehensive program with professional and cultural immersion. Puentes places great focus on ensuring that the internship placement is carefully considered and suited to each applicant’s interests and goals, and we then provide follow up support in the form of a mid-internship meeting with the internship site supervisor and the intern participant in order to ensure that the placement is meeting all expectations.
In addition, we go beyond in order to complement the in-office professional learning with one-on-one mentoring sessions to further hone participants’ professional skills. These professional components are supported by cultural activities and constant on-site support in order to allow program participants to become fully immersed in Buenos Aires and the Argentine life.