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Interview with Elena Álvarez, 23 years, current student of “Universidad Complutense de Madrid”

What do you study?

I’m studying English Philology.

How important do you consider are transversal Entrepreneurship skills?

I think transversal entrepreneurship skills are extremely important. Funnily enough, you don’t realise how important they are until you find yourself in a position in which you need them. Or at least that’s what happened to me. As most undergraduates know, when looking for jobs, most employers look for graduates with plenty of experience. Since I couldn’t bring that to the table and I needed a job I decided that the best option for me was to become a free-lance teacher and the truth is that at first I felt a bit overwhelmed and I wished I had known more about transversal entrepreneurship skills, now I feel more confident but sometimes I still wish I had more knowledge about it.

To what extent are they trained in your university? How (extracurricular courses, workshops, integral part of the classes)?

I thought that entrepreneurship skills are not trained in my university, but I recently learned that the university sometimes offers extracurricular workshops training communications skills and other transversal skills. However, during the 4 years of my degree until now, I had never heard about these workshops, talks or activities for which I believe that the promotion of this activities needs to be improved, for example by announcing the activities on posters on campus or through the university’s social media.

Most of our modules focus on very theoretical subjects and the practical ones never revolve around entrepreneurship. However, it is true that some of my professors have brought up this problem to conversation and have offered us advice about the possibility of entrepreneurship. These were particularly professors in the study field of translation, since it is common that students who specialise in this field have difficulties to find a steady employment and are therefore likely to become entrepreneurs creating their own job opportunities.

You and many of your classmates are freelancers at the same time, what type of advice and support did your professors offer you exactly?

They advised us about websites on which we could find freelance job opportunities and warned us that this sector is very competitive. But we did not receive specific training on the administrative process of becoming a freelancer nor specific training with regards to the related skills.

If you could decide, how should the university prepare you to become a successful entrepreneur?

I believe that entrepreneurship is a reality for most of my classmates for which the university should offer regular workshops. Neither I nor my classmates were aware of the existing workshops for which I believe that my university needs to improve the communication channels and make use of social media and other resources such as posters or flyers. In my opinion, receiving information through our official university emails would be the perfect way. We receive periodic information on a variety of courses, but information on these transversal courses has not been included yet.

On the other hand, I believe that offering online courses also seems like an interesting solution because it is convenient because many students live quite far away from university and this allows great flexibility. Online courses should not be available only via streaming, but should be available continuously.