1) Where and what did you study and when did you graduate?
I majored in finance at San Diego State University, studied economics at Bocconi University in Milan and graduated in 2015.
2) Where do you live now?
I currently live in Madrid and I’m originally from Los Angeles.
3) Tell us about your job...
I work at a crowdfunding start-up called StudentBackr based across Europe. We help students crowdfund everything from their tuition fees to going on Erasmus. Working with an international team across several time zones can be challenging at times but it’s rewarding knowing that we’re helping students achieve meaningful goals. Specifically I handle marketing and external operations for the English side, but being a start-up I get the opportunity to work in other areas of business as well. From entering SEED funding competitions to attending education conferences across Europe, I’m constantly engaged in the world of finance and education.
4) What did you want to be when you were younger?
I wanted to be professional soccer player and own an In-n-Out burger. Still holding on to hope for the latter.
5) What did you do immediately after leaving university?
After graduation I left San Diego and went backpacking through Peru with my brother. I didn’t really have a set plan for what I wanted to do after but I knew traveling would be a good way to gain some perspective. The long bus rides and endless hikes gave me a lot of time to just reflect and think about what I wanted to do next. I half-heartedly contemplated moving back to LA or going to grad school but none of those prospects appealed to me. Ever since I came back from studying abroad I knew I wanted to go back. As much as I loved California, the idea of moving back abroad to start the next chapter of my life was something I just couldn’t resist. Once I got back from Peru I started applying and interviewing for jobs in South America and Europe. It felt like an eternity at the time, but within five weeks of coming back from Peru I got a job offer in Spain and just two weeks later I started work in Madrid.
A mixture of uncertainty and excitement. The past four years had been structured around a specific goal and for the first time in my life I had the opportunity/burden to figure out what to do next. I was sad to leave the life I created in San Diego but felt ready to move on to something new, even if I didn’t know what that something was. I knew I wanted to work abroad but I had no idea how to make it happen (your website would have been so useful!). Fortunately I got accepted into two programs that help post grads find jobs abroad before I graduated (Planet Expat and AIESEC) so I felt confident that I would find something eventually. There were definitely more than a few days where I felt doubtful and thought about succumbing to the 9-5 but being passionate about my goal always kept me motivated.
7) If you could go back, what would you say to yourself on graduation day?
Everything changes so fast after graduation. Cherish the time spent with your friends and just being in your college town before you go your separate ways. Don’t overstress the future too much and enjoy the present, things are going to work out in the end.
8) Would you have done anything different?
Honestly I don’t think so. It would have been awesome to study abroad for an entire year instead of just a semester but I ended up back in Europe anyways.
9) What inspires you?
Friends + traveling.
Trekking the Sahara or seeing the Northern Lights are amazing on their own but when you get to share the experience with your best friends it creates memories to commensurate your inspiration for life.
10) What would you like to say to our graduates looking for inspiration?
For recent graduates that are waiting for a more optimal time to embark on a less conventional path take this into account:
Chances are you will probably never have more freedom and less obligations than you do right now. The natural trajectory of life leads to obtaining things such as a mortgage, business obligations, a 401K, a significant other, children, etc. making it perpetually harder to pursue those aspirations. To put this in perspective, when I got hired I literally had nine days to sort things out in California before moving to Spain. If I had to make a similar move just one year later it would be significantly harder. These are debatably some of your most formative years, make them count!
11) Your three favorite words
Pura Vida – It’s a ubiquitous Costa Rican word that translates to Pure Life
Valar Morghulis - It’s from my favorite book and it serves as a reminder of my mortality
California - My definition of home no matter where I am in this world.
Thank you so much Patrick for taking the time to answer our questions. We love your enthusiasm for global careers! Find out more about Patrick's work at Student Backr.
If you are, or know, an inspirational graduate living their dreams, please fill in the form on the right hand side of this page. We'd love to hear from you!