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Building a Dream: Architecture Student Gains International Experience

Posted on Wednesday, June 6th, 2018 at 2:39 pm.

By Pablo Ambrossi, Intern alumnus from Madrid, Spain
A version of this story was original published on CIEE blog

Pablo Ambrossi at the Flat Iron construction site, Brickell neighborhood, Miami

My name is Pablo Ambrossi and I was born and raised in Madrid, Spain. I am a 22-year-old student set to graduate in 2019 at the School of Architecture in Madrid, the ETSAM. Ever since I was a kid, I wanted to continue my father´s legacy and become an architect. When I graduate, I plan to obtain some international experience working abroad before eventually returning to Madrid to work alongside my father.

Traveling to the USA was one of my dreams. I want to share my awesome experience. Even though it was only for a couple of months, living in the USA has taught me how rich and diverse this world is. This has helped me become more open-minded and accepting of other ways of life.

Pablo with Senior Project Manager Xavier Iglesias at DPZ CoDESIGN, an architecture and urban planning firm in Miami

Architecture has always caught my attention because it not only covers basic needs with innovative solutions, but also improves and reflects the quality of life in all societies. This has woken up my interest to visit different countries and enrich my knowledge culturally and professionally. Because I see the USA as a cultural and economic leader in this global world, I applied for a two-month internship with Revuelta Architecture International Studio in Miami, Florida. During the internship, I obtained invaluable practical experience in American methods and strategies of architectural design and administration, as well as a familiarity with the American business mentality. During my stay, I encountered another way of managing architecture firms based on a rigorous work-ethic, a flexible work schedule, and continuous employee development. This helped me understand how theoretical ideas are applied to practical situations and how to apply these notions pragmatically to my future career.

Pablo with friends exploring the Everglades

I worked in a multicultural environment, as there were people from more than ten countries in the office. There everyone could contribute equally to the development of the different projects in a very open-minded atmosphere. This exchange promoted different ways of thinking, as anyone who wanted to contribute was encouraged to do so and their ideas were always welcome.

In addition to my professional focus, I also took part in daily American culture and lifestyle. I took time to meet locals and visitors who wanted to have fun and enjoy authentic day and nightlife in Miami. I went to Tampa and Orlando, visited museums, churches, and many other significant pieces of architecture. I also visited the Everglades, Key Biscayne, Miami Beach, among other notable Florida destinations.

Pablo posing with Street Art in Wynwood Art District, Miami

I firmly believe that this program is an incredible opportunity for international students as well as for U.S. citizens. I believe travelling abroad is a very effective way of gaining cultural enrichment. One of the advantages of this Internship program is that Americans benefit from getting to meet students from different cultures as part of their daily routine. This gives American citizens a chance to build bridges to link themselves to professional and cultural international interactions in the future.

A few months after I returned home, I had the fortune of being selected to participate in an Alumni event in Madrid organized for young people like me who had lived and worked in the USA on the Exchange Visitor Program, so they could share their experiences with each other and representatives of the U.S. Department of State.

Pablo connecting with Exchange Visitor program alumni, and U.S. Department of State representatives, in Madrid, Spain.

When the day came, I prepared a speech and suited up, but when I arrived I realized the event wasn’t what I expected. It was an informal meeting in which we talked face to face with everyone, in a very close and friendly environment. However, they asked me to give my speech and so I did.

Thanks to this event I met great people with whom I share many ideas and dreams. I also had the opportunity to talk with very important personalities that, without any doubt, could be of great help in my professional future.

This exchange program was an incredible and priceless experience that has opened many doors for me. I returned home with an improved English speaking ability and a more open mindset. This has allowed me to grow personally as well as professionally. I hope it will continue helping students all over the world to achieve all their goals, culturally and professionally.

Categories: Participants, Program Spotlight

About Nicole Elkon

Deputy Assistant Secretary for Private Sector Exchange

Nicole Elkon

Nicole Elkon joined the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Private Sector Exchange in September 2021. Until June 2021, Ms. Elkon was the Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Human Rights First, an independent advocacy organization focused on human rights and the rule of law. Prior to her position as COO, Ms. Elkon was a Senior Advisor at Results for America (RFA), a non-profit organization focused on advancing data-driven, evidence based public policy at all levels of government. She also served as Chief of Staff to the Assistant Secretary of ECA and was Director of the Office of Public Private Partnerships at ECA working to leverage strategic partnerships to enhance Administration foreign policy priorities.

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