I come from Cochabamba, Bolivia, but I also lived in Washington, D.C. for five years. Today, I find myself incredibly grateful and delighted to be here in Spain, a beautiful country I have come to love. In my free time, I enjoy weightlifting and hiking in the beautiful surroundings of Segovia. I also love to travel!
Turning challenges into opportunities for growth
The Dual Degree in Economics & International Relations at IE University is designed to transform students into professionals capable of facing global challenges with an analytical mindset. Valeria Flores Siles chose it because it combines economics and international relations, offering a well-rounded understanding of global dynamics that underpin the modern world.
Global is certainly a word that applies to Valeria’s personal journey so far. Having grown up in Bolivia, at the age of 15, she made a life-changing move to the US with her mother and younger brother. Things did not go as smoothly as planned, since her father’s visa was delayed and he ended up joining them much later than expected. Nonetheless, she says she overcame the challenges she faced with resilience, determination and unyielding drive, using adversity to make herself stronger.
Achieving her first goal of learning English was an arduous task, but Valeria went from zero to proficient in just one year. She then finished high school while simultaneously working part-time and pursuing her love of acting in local theaters. Another year holding down five different jobs followed; she says, “These experiences shaped my work ethic, instilling in me the values of hard work and perseverance.”
What kept her motivated through this demanding period was her dream of making it to IE University. Thanks to her relentless determination and IE University’s groundbreaking scholarship program, she was finally able to turn her aspirations into reality and enroll in the Dual Degree in Economics & International Relations.
Now in her second year of the five-year degree program, Valeria is taking advantage of every opportunity to keep learning and growing. Her favorite classes so far have been Political Theory and Unplugged II – Sustainable Finance, which have helped her define her career interests.
Outside the classroom, she has been involved in a host of extracurricular activities. She’s participated in the Young Corporate Program and the IE Shadowing initiative, both designed by IE Talent & Careers to help young professionals get a head start in the world of work. Valeria credits these experiences, along with the hands-on projects she did in the IE University Labs, with helping her secure a competitive summer internship in Berlin, Germany.
In addition, she serves as the president of the IE SDGs Club in Segovia, where they work on projects and organize events to promote the UN’s sustainable development goals. She also interns in the IE Talent & Careers office as an assistant project manager. To top it all off, Valeria runs her own business providing virtual Spanish tutoring for young people in the US. She embodies the entrepreneurial mindset that IE University seeks to cultivate among its students.
Today, Valeria credits IE University with providing her not only a world-class education, but also a platform to achieve her goals—and the support she needs to reach them. She appreciates her inspiring professors, who have helped her find her purpose and align her studies with her career aspirations. She says she’s also learned a lot from her peers, who have shared unique insights from diverse backgrounds and cultures.
“My journey is a testament to the power of perseverance and the transformative impact of education,” Valeria stresses. She encourages other students to follow her example in taking advantage of every opportunity that IE University provides.
For future Dual Degree in Economics & International Relations students, her advice is this: “Work hard, plan your schedule well and stay active in networking.” With all the options available to students at IE University, there are plenty of chances to gain valuable experience that will help you stand out.