Learning Opportunities Outside of Your Field

Posted on Friday, Jun 17, 2016

It is normal to think that you have to pick a specific major in order to do a specific job. It is also normal to want to stick to a specific field and perhaps pass great learning opportunities in other place. This should not be the case.
Living in Madrid and working with the U.S. Commercial Service, I have had the privilege to work with people across every field and sector you can think of. I have met with people that work with franchising, agricultural services, automobiles, education technology, the film industry, and even yarn! I am definitely not an expert in all of these fields, but there are people out there in the world who are. This leads to the perfect opportunity to learn more about other fields and subjects that I thought I would never learn about.
Not only am I seeing how these sectors are involved in the Spainish economy, but it is a humbling experience knowing that one person cannot know everything. It is okay to venture out, learn about other things, decide whether it is for you or not, and figure out how it connects to your passions and field. Everything can be a learning experience. Yes, it is uncomfortable being in unknown territory, but meeting people and having the chance to listen to their experiences and advice helps to mold you and, ultimately, expands your horizon.

This week I attended IN3 which helps “high-powered tech founders meet and collaborate with innovators, investors, and institutions from the United States and Spain.” While this conference is far beyond my major and even though technology is not my forte, I was able to learn more about startup companies and their transition into becoming bigger and better known. I only knew a few people, but everyone there seemed passionate about their ideas and organizations. They wanted to learn about other interesting things going on within their field. They also sought out advice from companies that have already succeeded. It was intriguing getting to see things from the sidelines and observing everything and everyone. It made me realize that there is always something to learn, and it helps bring a global perspective into our tiny bubbles. So go ahead! Venture out! 

Anna Martinez
U.S. Commercial Service
Madrid, Spain