In 1998 I had a professor who I defied regarding the syllabus he was going to lecture about during the course. Instead of putting a spell on me (bl##dy giving me a D in advance) he offered the possibility to self-learn advanced techniques on the subject during his lessons. By the way, the subject was computing applied to enterprise, and the lecturer was the one that later on became tutor, friend, colleague & co-author, and even client.
This situation gave me the possibility to learn computer programming and be the spreadsheet wizard I am nowadays (besides, I’m quite humble… really!). At the end of the course he asked me if I could help the department’s chief secretary to sort out the budgeting software… and I ended up programming a brand new one. This was actually a favour, one of those you do for the warm glow, and the learning experience. What I didn’t know is next course he was going to ring me offering the possibility to request a grant (if you’re a former reader of these diaries you’ll know this is the grant introducing to academic research).
Not yet leaving abroad, not even considering, but bear with me because we are almost there!