Michael Fincham and Keir Hutton Ferris

Michael Fincham and Keir Hutton Ferris took part in the Santander Enterprise Exchange Programme with the Universidad de Salamanca in 2011

“After spotting the advertisement for the Santander Enterprise Exchange, I was amazed such an experience existed and wasted no time in applying for it. To date it has been one of the best decisions I’ve made, teaching me a whole manner of things from start to finish. Meeting and speaking with a number of established entrepreneurs of different calibres from varying backgrounds and sectors really broadened our business understanding. Listening to their positive and negative past experiences also taught us many things to look out for if you’re to be successful. It was fascinating to see the differences and similarities in businesses from different countries, giving us a more internationalised business appreciation. Beyond this, I feel this exchange has made me a much more rounded person; where living in Spain for 12 weeks saw us become fully immersed in the Spanish culture whilst also allowing us to make friends with people from around the world. And where better to do all this than Salamanca? Having never visited Northern Spain before, I wasn’t sure on what to expect, but we were greeted by an incredibly picturesque Spanish city that feels more like a town, offering a number of historic sites, incredible food and lively festivals. I’m confident an opportunity like this will not come up again and as such cannot recommend this exchange enough to other people. It has been the most productive, satisfying and most importantly, enjoyable summers of my life.” Michael Fincham

“Last July, after my second year exams, myself and Mike set off to Salamanca, a University city two hours west of Madrid to start a research exchange with the Family Business Center and the Enterprise Centre, researching the similarities and differences between family businesses and enterprises in Britain and Spain. Over the next two and a half months we travelled across the region meeting and interviewing business owners and entrepreneurs from a huge range of different industries. This project has given us an amazing opportunity to not only move our learning beyond the University sphere and in to the real world, but also gain experience of working across cultures, with all the linguistic and cultural differences that entails. Through this project we have met people from all walks of life, made friends from across the world, learnt Spanish, gained a much more in-depth understanding of business and enterprise, and spent and amazing summer in one of the most historic and beautiful parts of Spain. I applied for this exchange at the very last minute and am hugely thankful I did. This sort of funded opportunity is amazingly rare, and the memories I made, along with the knowledge and experience gained have made it easily one of the best parts of my University experience.” Keir Hutton Ferris