EF Stories: Marta Verdía from Spain at EF San Diego
A year abroad is an enriching and educational experience that will leave a lasting mark on you. Today, we introduce you to Marta Verdía and her personal experience during her Gap Year in New York and San Diego:
Marta, what was your biggest motivation for taking a Gap Year?
I had always wanted to enjoy an overseas experience, but the main reason I decided to take a Gap Year was that I wanted to break free from the routine I had in Spain, explore, disconnect, see the world, and learn from other cultures. So, I thought, now or never.
I also believe that mastering English is crucial in many aspects of life today, and this was undoubtedly the best way to achieve it.
What was the main reason for choosing New York and San Diego as your destinations?
When I decided to spend some time abroad, the first idea that came to mind was staying in New York for 6 months. However, EF offered me the option to make it a mix and start my stay in San Diego for 3 months before finishing it in New York. I thought it was a fantastic idea to meet more people and explore new places; besides, I could avoid the cold of NY during January, February, and March... so I packed my bags and ventured out.
What have you gained professionally from taking a Gap Year?
Professionally, I have gained from the moment I walk into an interview for any job position to the time I become part of the company. This Gap Year with EF, aside from providing me with a certified accreditation of my English level, has taught me skills and techniques to express myself in the best possible way in any situation.
Today, I work for a multinational company in a position that I absolutely love. This company considered not only my English level, as anyone can have a B2 or C1, but also the added value of having had an overseas experience. Once inside the company, my experience with EF played a significant role in mastering the language, coexisting and working as a team, being creative when it comes to contributing ideas, and being resourceful.
On a personal level, how has taking a Gap Year changed your soft skills?
Probably one of the most positive aspects of having taken a Gap Year has been its impact not only on my academic and professional life but also on my personal growth.
This time has taught me to know myself better, to become more self-reliant in another language (from doing laundry to opening a bank account and getting a credit card, using public transportation, or going to the doctor). It has also helped me open my mind, learn to live with diverse people and different cultures, and ultimately, step out of my comfort zone.
What advice would you give to students considering embarking on a Gap Year experience?
I would advise everyone (of any age and gender) to take the plunge and live this experience. When you first think about it, it might be a bit intimidating because, as I mentioned earlier, you step out of your comfort zone.
However, it's when you truly discover those skills and details in which you can or should improve. Perhaps many people may have the idea that it's a wasted year and that we should follow the "cycle" of school, college, master's, and then work, forgetting how important and decisive a Gap Year can be for us. Today, I can confidently say that I have only gained in every aspect of my life.