Walter Mendoza

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When Walter Mendoza came to Ireland from El Salvador in 2019, he did not have any English.

Three years later, he is graduating with an MSc in International Accounting and Business and is working for JP Morgan & Chase in Dublin as a specialist member of the Operational Risk Management Team.

He explained, “my best friend told me one thing she admired about me was that I had the power to turn something negative into positive. That helped me to reflect and discover myself further.”

“In late 2019, when I came to Ireland from El Salvador, I realised that moving to Ireland as a Salvadoran with no contacts, family, or friends carries many barriers. Those barriers included language, ethnic minorities, culture and accommodation.”

He decided to focus on what he could achieve, to have self-belief and to keep “myself busy, positive, resilient, and persistent. Sooner than later I started working on the language barrier, learning English from scratch.”

Walter wanted to validate his professional qualifications from El Salvador and was successful in being accepted for one of DCU’s postgraduate University of Sanctuary scholarships.

Walter explained that, “as I have a background in external audit and accounting, I decided to go for the MSc in International Accounting and Business, as this specific programme would give me exposure to the best of both worlds.”

“It allowed me to certify my technical skills by taking professional accountancy exams for ACCA and ACA and soft skills by taking part in the Next Generation Management module.”

He enjoyed the on campus experience and having the chance to, “connect and network with other fellows, lecturers, colleagues, others after being isolated due to covid-19 restrictions.”

“As a student in DCU I leveraged the many resources and support services available that helped me to succeed in my objectives such as Microsoft apps, typing assistant, access to learning platform. One of the most brilliant supports that helped me the most was the career service, where I got 1:1 mentoring, career advice, support to work on my CV, LinkedIn profile, interview skills and more to find my dream job.”

Being a DCU alumni is more than having a degree, he said.  “It is also about the many friends, connections from everywhere, experiences, reflections. DCU helps you harness the power of networking to further your career and create new opportunities for yourself. After going through this chapter, I feel confident that (it) helped me grow personally and professionally.”

“For any sixth-year secondary school student, immigrant or immigrant students reading this story wondering if they could pursue a professional career in Ireland, I want to tell them that if I could do it, you can. Education transforms lives, and any person that was part of my education and supported me has definitely changed mine. If an opportunity doesn't knock, build a door.”

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