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**Broaden Your Perspectives and Advance Your Career with an Overseas Study Program**

[Editor’s Note: Below is an interview with student Jillian Cash discussing her study abroad experience at the University of Madrid, Spain, during the 2022-23 academic year.]

How did the study abroad program impact your career path?

During the 2022-23 academic year, I pursued a Master of International and European Business Law (MIEBL, LLM) at the University Pontificia Comillas in Madrid, Spain, as part of a program offered through my home institution, Stetson University College of Law. My background in International Business and Spanish from Bryant University provided a solid foundation for an international career. The experience in Spain reinforced my aspiration to engage with global counterparts in international settings.

Following my time abroad, I worked as a summer associate at Buchanan, Ingersoll, and Rooney in the Tampa Office. My responsibilities spanned both the Corporate and Immigration practice groups. Particularly drawn to immigration work, I assisted individuals from diverse backgrounds in pursuing their aspirations of living and working in the United States. The cultural insights gained from my time abroad proved invaluable in navigating interactions with international clients. Living in a foreign country and encountering immigration challenges firsthand in Spain deepened my understanding of the struggles faced by immigrants, fostering empathy within me. Additionally, my involvement in corporate transactional projects underscored the seamless integration of corporate law into international transactions, offering opportunities to serve clients on a global scale. As I transition into an associate role at Buchanan post-graduation, I eagerly anticipate the trajectory of my career.

What motivated you to participate in your university’s study abroad initiative?

When I relocated to Florida for my studies at Stetson Law, embarking on a year-long program in Spain was not initially part of my plans. The decision was influenced by my partner’s pursuit of a Master’s in Sustainable Development at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland. I am thankful for this opportunity as it led me to the MIEBL program in Madrid, which spanned two semesters and conferred an LL.M at the same cost as my Stetson Law tuition. Focused on international business law, the program aligned well with my career objectives. Moreover, the inclusion of a weeklong visit to Brussels to explore EU governmental institutions presented an exciting opportunity for immersive learning, language enhancement, and exposure to international business law within the European context.

Was the presence of a study abroad program a determining factor in choosing your law school? What aspects of the program attracted you to the institution?

My decision to attend Stetson Law was not contingent on its study abroad offerings, nor did I initially plan to pursue a study abroad experience during law school, having already studied in Spain during my undergraduate years. Stetson Law’s esteemed reputation and strong presence in the Tampa Bay area were the primary factors influencing my choice. A prior visit to St. Petersburg, Florida, left a lasting impression, drawing me to the town’s vibrant and inclusive community where I envisioned a fulfilling personal and professional life. Captivated by Stetson Law’s advocacy programs and stellar reputation, I believed it to be an ideal environment to embark on my legal career.

Could you share insights into your study abroad encounter? Which destinations did you explore, and how did the experience contribute to your personal and professional growth?

My study abroad journey unfolded in Madrid, Spain, where I resided centrally, surrounded by school facilities, dining establishments, retail outlets, and entertainment venues. Madrid’s year-round sunshine, reasonable living costs, and hospitable ambiance made it a delightful setting.

Despite the academic commitments that occupied nearly five hours daily, weekends and breaks offered ample opportunities for exploration. Throughout my European sojourn, I ventured through various regions in Spain, France, England, Scotland, Belgium, Luxembourg, Italy, Switzerland, Portugal, and Denmark. Remarkably, the overall cost of living for the year proved lower than standard expenses in Florida, shedding light on the superior quality of life and elevated living standards prevalent in many European locales.

The experience enriched me with a plethora of skills crucial for professional advancement. Enhanced fluency in Spanish empowered me for business interactions, while navigating diverse cultural landscapes honed my interpersonal and negotiation skills. The challenges of travel, immigration, and acclimatizing to a new environment sharpened my problem-solving abilities. Culminating the program with a thesis on the influence of Intellectual Property Rights on disseminating sustainable technology to developing nations, I collaborated with esteemed IP scholars, augmenting my expertise and writing proficiency in this evolving legal domain.

In summation, my tenure in Madrid was transformative, fostering enduring friendships and a desire for further immersion in Spain. I wholeheartedly recommend a study abroad experience during law school to all eligible individuals, as it has the potential to broaden horizons and redefine career aspirations in unforeseen ways.