The new face of study abroad

With three academic trips to Egypt, one to Geneva, and a co-op in Portugal under his belt, Northeastern graduate Edwin Figueroa is ready to take on the world. In fact, it’s hard for the international affairs major to recall a time when he was intimidated by the thought of international travel. Now he relishes the challenges and excitement of living and working abroad.

Figueroa, a native of New York City, says he has a passion for both finance and international law. But it’s a passion that was fueled as much by his experiences in the classroom as it was by his travel overseas. He says his courses in finance, international law, and international affairs at Northeastern gave him the foundation for richer, more meaningful experiences abroad. In turn, his time spent abroad brought his course material to life.

(Hear what Figueroa has to say about Northeastern’s unique approach to global education):

He was drawn, in particular, to Egypt, where he spent two five-week Dialogue of Civilizations trips—one in 2006 and another in 2007. These trips offer a combination of intensive study, as well as exposure to the region’s culture and values.

Figueroa brought so much to these trips that he was invited back in 2009, as an employee: a professor’s assistant. “That was a very exciting experience,” Figueroa says of the trip, which took place this past spring. It was his chance to share what he had learned with students, as well as an opportunity to help guide their trip.

“I would love to return to Egypt again,” he says. “I love the culture and the people there. They have such a sense of hospitality in the way they welcome you to the country.”

Egypt wasn’t his only calling, though. Figueroa also did a Dialogue of Civilizations trip to Geneva in 2008. Later that year, he did a co-op in Lagos, Portugal, overseeing operations at the hostel RC International.

“I did everything from handling reservations and managing staff to working on Internet advertising and marketing projects on behalf of the facility,” he says of his duties at the 100-guest facility. “Everyday was different.”

Figueroa also did a co-op stateside at Merrill Lynch in 2007. There he learned the finance ropes as an equity analyst managing accounts and preparing financial research for administrators.

With this unique combination of in-class and hands-on global education, Figueroa is looking toward an exciting future in international law studies or microfinance. “Northeastern exposed me to a lot of opportunity,” he says. “Now, I’m open to anything.”