The University of Iowa

Q&A with José Diaz about his study abroad experience in London

September 8th, 2017
Photo of Jose Diaz
José Diaz, undergraduate student in the Tippie College of Business

José Diaz (B.B.A. finance '17) studied abroad in London through the Undergraduate International Business study abroad program. To help fund his study abroad experience, Diaz applied for and received several scholarships, including the Diversity Ambassador Scholarship.

After graduating from the University of Iowa, Diaz started his dream job at JP Morgan Chase in Chicago as a corporate analyst – a job he feels his study abroad experience helped him land. 

Hometown:  Wood Dale, Illinois

Field of study:  B.B.S. candidate in finance; international business certificate

Campus leadership:  Tippie Senate (vice president), Iowa Edge (peer leader), One @ UIowa (treasurer)

What inspired you to study abroad?

As a first-generation student, I didn’t really know much about study abroad. After learning about the resources here and the affordability of study abroad through scholarships, I decided to take action. I decided that a winter break program would be perfect for me. I decided to go to London because my whole family has never stepped foot outside of North America, so I wanted to go outside of the country and my comfort zone to experience a new culture.

How has study abroad shaped your future?

Ever since I stepped foot in the Tippie College of Business, one of my dream employers has been JP Morgan Chase. Fortunately, while I was studying abroad in London, my supply chain management class toured Canary Wharf (where many financial institutions are located), as well as the JP Morgan Chase building.

After returning from London, I learned that I had been invited to interview for an internship position with JP Morgan Chase (a position I applied for before studying abroad). During my interview, I was able to talk about my studies in London, the opportunity I had to visit JP Morgan Chase while there, and my role as a Diversity Ambassador—all of which helped me to connect with the interviewer because she had similar life experiences. I ended up getting the internship at JP Morgan Chase, which led to my full-time job offer with them as a corporate analyst.

In many ways, I can pinpoint my study abroad experience through the university as one of the reasons I got my job offer through JP Morgan Chase and will have the opportunity to pursue my dreams in the financial field.

Why study abroad?

The biggest benefit that I feel I gained from study abroad isn’t something that can be measured. It’s a much more qualitative aspect of my life that has been enriched. Meeting new people from different walks of life, learning about a different culture…it’s something that has become part of me. It truly has made me a better person – a more empathetic person – I’m becoming a global citizen of this world.

What did you learn?

Prior to studying abroad, going across the world was something I couldn’t really fathom. Fortunately, my study abroad experience has taught me that traveling and doing what you want to do is very doable. There are a million open doors to go into and explore the world. Don’t listen to people who say it’s hard to study abroad. It’s very doable!

Being a person with many intersectional identities – being a first-generation college student, being gay, being Latino – I learned that studying abroad is really open to everyone. It really takes that first step of knowing that no matter who you are, studying abroad is very achievable.

What advice do you have for students considering study abroad?

Don’t think about all of the small things you need to do leading up to your study abroad experience. Initially, I had a lot of worries about how to pay for study abroad, how the timing with my classes would work out, etc. It all worked out with the help of my advisor and the availability of scholarships. My biggest piece of advice? Just think about where you want to go and go for it!

Read more about Diaz’s study abroad experience here.

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