Spending six weeks in Lisbon with iXperience was undoubtedly one of the greatest decisions I have ever made. I had never been one to jump at an opportunity which would push me way outside of my comfort zone, so I at first was quite hesitant to go abroad this summer. After giving it more thought, though, I saw this program as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and decided to give it a shot.
And what a great decision that was...
The next six weeks would be arguably the most exciting and important ones of my life. Never in my life had I met so many amazing people from incredibly diverse backgrounds in such a short period of time. The relationships with the thirty other students that I formed on this trip were like nothing I could have imagined and have left me so excited to see what everyone does with their lives.
The class and internship that I had both exceeded my expectations and gave me great experience in an industry that I'm looking to pursue. My teacher, TAs, and internship manager were all so supportive throughout the six weeks and taught me more in that timeframe than I would learn in a semester of a normal class. I am without a doubt more prepared for the corporate world than I would be without this program.
The most unexpectedly rewarding part of this trip for me was getting to know the two Lisbon program directors, Jakes and Amy. Prior to arriving, I figured these two would just be making sure things were running ok and not interacting much with the group. Fortunately, that second part was not the case, and I became closer with both Jakes and Amy than I have become with almost any teacher or coach that I've had over the years. They were both so dedicated to their jobs and would go out of their way to make sure the students had the best experience as possible, even if it meant sacrificing their experience in some way. Jakes was always checking in to make sure we were satisfied with the accommodation and excursions, and Amy was eager to offer any career advice or help with our internships whenever we needed it. The two of them took what was already a phenomenal experience to an even higher level.
If you have any hesitation to do this program, let this review be your sign to go for it. I am the definition of a homebody... I have lived in basically the same city my entire life, went to the same school from 1st to 12th grade, and had never been away from home longer than a week until college (which happens to only be a couple hours away from home). I truly doubt that I was part of the target audience for this trip. But, after having such an incredible experience and reflecting extensively on my time abroad, I don't believe there is a target audience for such a program. Everyone, regardless of the type of person they are, can take something away from iXperience that will change their life for the better. Whether that be the professional experience you gain, the new city you explore, or the lifelong friendships you develop, I am confident that this program offers something to all. I cannot recommend iXperience enough and hope everyone has the chance to enjoy this program the way I did.