Ignacio Alcazar describes how studying an MBA in Manchester has also helped him fulfil a personal dream: to travel in Europe.
The MBA journey is not only a professional set of opportunities which develop your knowledge and thinking; it is also a time for experiencing new quests. To name a few: cultural engagement, changing old habits, learning about yourself, and, of course, travelling.
For many people from all over the world, travelling overseas can be difficult in terms of money and time. This was my situation; working in Peru I couldn’t afford the cost of travelling to Europe, nor the huge amount of time needed to achieve an adequate experience.
However, this difficulty changed when I arrived in Manchester to start my MBA expedition. As a matter of fact, my initial plan was to go back home during the winter break, nevertheless, the minute I landed in the UK, everything changed. I understood that this was a once in a lifetime opportunity, not only because I was already here, which meant savings, but also because I was going to be able to have a whole month to finally fulfil a wonderful wish: to travel around Europe.
Luckily, I could change my plans and my girlfriend, Cristina, joined me for the adventure. It was a low-budget adventure, but still an adventure. So, the first part was planning the whole nightmare. ‘Nightmare’ because personally, I enjoy vacations more than planning them. But fortunately, I listened to advice and I planned beforehand. Next stop: Spain.
We arrived at the motherland, as we called Spain back home, and the journey began. With two small backpacks (which made it look as though we were wearing the same outfits in every picture – actually we probably were!) we explored Madrid and its combination of European culture and Latin-American influence, which made it one of my favourite places in this part of the world. Our second stop was the city of love, Paris. We walked across the whole city after seeing it from the Eiffel Tower and either way, it was really beautiful. You can actually feel the love all over the city and we felt the history when we got lost in the Louvre.
We left France to reach Italy. Milan was the first stop in this lovely country. What an amazing city that mixes an industrial aura with luxury developments. It amazed us, mainly for the price of the products, but of course for their beauty. We jumped on a Blablacar and ended up in Venice for Christmas. We walked from coast to coast (and got lost) several times in the small island and still found new lovely spots every time, discovering that everyone is in bed at around 9 pm and that people in the gondolas don’t look as happy as they should.
We left the floating city to reach Florence. So much art and beautiful landscapes, especially when we reached the top of a mountain and enjoyed one of the highlights of the city, a wonderful view with live music (and with not so many tourists). We finally reached the Italian capital, Rome and I am still amazed by how much history the city has. Everywhere we looked there was something that was 2000 (or much more) years old. We learnt so much history, not only about Rome, but also about how this history influenced the rest of Europe and the world.
Unfortunately, our trip was coming to an end when we reached Barcelona for the New Year. We got together with some old friends and enjoyed the mystique of this ‘independent’ city, learning some facts, maybe different, to the ones we had learned in the Spanish capital. Here, our adventure ended, and Cristina went back home whilst I came back to sleepless nights full of MBA excitement and knowledge.
As said before, the MBA is giving me many opportunities and one of the most tangible was this incredible trip. Even though it wasn’t remotely the fanciest trip (full of low-cost plane tickets, disruptive hotels and travel companies, and supermarket food), it was a chance which I could take with an amazing companion, meaning the MBA experience has helped me improve not only professionally but also on a personal level.