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Q&A: Maiya Aiba, Career Development Certificate Student

Maiya Aiba,  a Duke University student studying abroad with CEA in Barcelona, participated in CEA's Career Development Certificate Program this Fall. Here are six of her takeaways from her involvement in this program.

Who was your mentor placement and what was their professional role?: Giuseppe Ciranna was my mentor. He previously worked for companies like Coca-Cola and Dolce and Gabbana doing branding for them and he currently has his own company.

 Maiya Aiba from Duke University is a student in CEA's
Career Development Certificate Program in Barcelona.

What are some of the topics that you covered in the Career Development Seminar?: We covered resume and cover letter development along with creating a video resume for ourselves. There was a large emphasis placed on how to translate our study abroad experience to our resume and as an experience that could set us a part from other students.

What has been the most important advice/tips you have gotten for the Career Development Seminar?: We had a guest speaker who started his own company that headhunts for large companies, like Nike. He talked about the beginning of his career and how he got started. The most important thing, I thought, that he told us was how he found himself hating his first job and he just quit and left. He wasn't happy and knew he could do something more and so he left to start his own business. He was confident and pursued what he believed was a great idea and it grew to become this successful headhunting company. It was an important lesson that we too often hear about but don't always get to see the consequences of it.

In what ways is the Catalan work culture different than ours back home? Are there certain things you believe that they are better or worse at?: Catalan work culture seems more relaxed in most aspects. We actually discussed this in class and I think that the clothing contributes a lot to this. In the States, most people are suit and tie type of professionals, especially in the city where I am from. But, here, that is not the case. I see people in professional attire so rarely that I take notice when I do come across someone in such attire. I think part of this relaxed environment is also the friendliness of the Catalan people and how that automatically translates to their work environment. Of course, they get their work done and have a professional hierarchy, but I think there is more time given to developing a social relationship with others that is separate from work. I think this relaxed environment has both its benefits and detriments. In a positive way, it encourages a healthier work environment and possibly a more communicative culture. I believe the detriments are more obvious in that the casualness could turn into informal and unprofessional work culture and lead to an inefficient work culture.

 Professional attire in Barcelona is often more casual than
the United States, which also tends to translate into the work environment.

How has your experience been with your mentor and what have you learned so far?: I had a very beneficial experience from the mentorship I received. Giuseppe provided with me with firsthand knowledge of various creative fields and was able to help further my understanding of them. In the art field, the area I am interested in, everyone knows the reality of being an artist and he was honest with me about this. We discussed a lot the idea of art and heart in the sense that at times it can become difficult to do what you love and unless you are an independent artist, painting what you want and what you love may not always be your work. In this way, he exposed me to the realities of this type of work and the challenges that he confronted and that I could confront as well.

Has your participation in the Global Career Development Certificate altered your career path and former preconceptions? If so, in what ways?: Yes, it surprisingly has. I had originally signed up for this program because I was hoping it could provide me with some more directed path. I had spent so many summers doing internships across a variety of creative fields, but I couldn't find one that really fit me. Through my mentorship, I was able to discuss myself and have someone tell me about option he thought would fit. Giuseppe talked to me about museum curating and in a larger sense, the work done at museums. This had never been on my radar before and once we explored the idea I really liked it and have now been looking to obtain an internship at a museum this summer.

 Barcelona is one of the greatest cities in the world for anyone
interested in art and architecture. The Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya,
also known as the MNAC, is definitely among the best.

Dillon Patel is the Fall 2014 CEA MOJO in Barcelona, Spain. He is currently a junior at Duke University. Maiya Aiba is the Fall 2014 MOJO Photographer in Barcelona. She is also a student at Duke University.

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