International Relations and Spanish double major Myles Lock ’13 believes that studying for the Spring 2012 semester at Universidad de Deusto in Bilbao, Spain was one of the best decisions he ever made. His choice to study in Bilbao was influenced by his visit to the city in the summer before he studied abroad, “In the summer of 2011, I studied abroad in Valencia, Spain through the Department of Spanish and Portuguese. During the 4 weeks we spent studying immigration in Valencia, we took a weekend trip to Bilbao in the north of Spain. I fell in love with the people of Bilbao and the distinct Basque culture. I decided then and there, after learning of the semester long program, that I would study in Bilbao next spring.”
During the Spring 2012 semester, Myles took classes at CIDE (Centro Internaciónal de Español) as well as regular university classes with local Spanish students. When asked why he chose to take regular university courses Myles replied, “I wanted to push myself when I was abroad; I wanted to become as immersed in the culture as possible. I saw taking regular university courses, in addition to my CIDE courses, as the perfect opportunity to meet Basque people and to better understand Basque culture.”
The most important activity that Myles participated in while he was abroad was his internship at UNESCO Etxea, the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization Centre of the Basque Country. “It was through my internship at UNESCO Etxea where I really had the opportunity to interact with the Basque community. Also, I made connections there that gave me a clear competitive advantage for other internships, and eventually led to my first job out of school,” says Myles. After he finished his semester in Bilbao, he went on to intern at the American Chamber of Commerce of Mexico.
After completion of his last semester, and an honors thesis project about the Basque culture and identity (particularly art and language), he had the opportunity to intern at the UNESCO Headquarters in Paris. During this semester long internship he secured a job at the UN Foundation in New York City as an Innovation Associate. Myles deeply believes, “It was definitely my time in Bilbao that helped me get to where I am today. I am a big proponent of study abroad. I believe every Trojan should do it! The sixth quality of a Trojan should be worldly.”
Through his courses, internship and housing (a shared apartment with Spaniards) he was able to meet many locals, “I quickly learned the importance of Basque identity; people from Bilbao or the País Vasco consider themselves Basque first and Spanish second.”
In addition to the professional opportunities that were afforded to Myles through his study abroad experience, Myles was designated as a Renaissance Scholar and a Global Scholar upon graduation. Recognized for his capstone honors thesis project, USC awarded him a Global Scholar prize and will receive $10,000 towards graduate education, wherever he chooses to go. “Without the semester abroad, I would not have been eligible to become a USC Global Scholar. I was able to write about my experience as the subject for my capstone project as well as my reflective essay. It is an honor to be selected for these distinctions and I look forward to attending graduate school within the next 5 years.”