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Accounting Major Completes College Experience with Study Abroad

Duran-Sosa with Dr. FernandezDemian Duran-Sosa knew his college experience would not be complete until he studied abroad. Initially Duran-Sosa had his sights set on Spain because he had enjoyed a vacation there with his family. After seeing the courses available, he set his eyes on another Spanish-speaking country and spent part of his summer on a professor-led study abroad trip with 15 other University of St. Thomas students exploring Puebla, Mexico.

Enrolled in a Mexican Art and Culture course as well as an Advanced Communications in Spanish course, Duran-Sosa found that the courses led by Dr. Fernandez and Dr. Ulysses Balderas and excursions around Mexico added to his experience.

“I definitely benefited from having the guidance of a professor on the trip because they made me feel safe in Mexico since it was my first time traveling out of country alone,” Duran-Sosa said. “Dr. Fernandez was knowledgeable about the subjects he taught and he always made class interesting and enjoyable. Dr. Balderas’ knowledge of Mexico and the way he organized the trip made each day an adventure, especially on the weekend excursions.”

For Duran-Sosa, who is mobility impaired, his initial trepidation on whether the trip might could accommodate his needs was met with reassurance and care.

“Dr. Balderas and Dr. Fernandez were very considerate of my needs and limitations when making plans,” Duran-Sosa said. “They were able to make sure that I had a wheelchair ready at the airport and the university we were studying at in Mexico.”

Despite not taking any accounting courses on the trip, Duran-Sosa feels that he learned a great deal about life and the world at large, particularly that you can live a good life so long as you choose to be happy and work hard, a philosophy he plans to carry forward with him.

“It is important to study fields not directly related to accounting because to have a full life you must take time to learn about the world around you and its people,” Duran-Sosa said. “Although money is necessary to live decently, it isn’t the most important thing. Life will be much sweeter if you take the time to enjoy what God created.”

Still, his training in accounting proved to be a useful asset; it was his attention to detail he developed as an accounting student that allowed Duran-Sosa to take in and appreciate the fullness of the Mexican culture and art he saw in museums, churches and on the street.

“The bright colors and richness of Mexican Culture made everyday of the trip worth while,” Duran-Sosa said. “I loved how the people in Mexico were so welcoming. Each person that I met, including the other UST students, made this trip unforgettable.”

Duran-Sosa will return to school this fall, refreshed and reinvigorated, to complete his final three semesters and earn his BBA/MBA degree.