Mastering the CPA…Abroad!

This is a crazy concept.  Brace yourself.  I’m not sure you can handle it – it’s not too late to close this window…Ok, too late:


Studying for the CPA exam does not have to consume your ENTIRE LIFE.  In fact, it could be an excuse to have the TIME OF YOUR LIFE!


Many of you will find yourselves with a healthy gap between the end of school and your start date.  This is obviously the time to prepare for the CPA.  But it may also be the last time you don’t have to answer to ANYONE for a few years.

I regret not taking advantage of this time.  And I don’t want the RocketNation to live with the same regret.

So here’s an idea: study for the CPA abroad.  Get out of that Y2K bunker and study 4-5 hours a day in a foreign country for one of the CPA sections.

(As a general rule, each installment of the CPA requires 3 to 7 weeks of preparation depending on the section and your daily commitment.  Four to five hours a day should warrant 3-5 weeks of preparation depending on the section.  More to come over the next few weeks about the specifics of the CPA exam).

I can hear you right now – “I can’t afford that” or “That’s a cute idea, yeah right”.

Well –

  • You are about to be a thousandairre.  Many firms give substantial bonuses for passing the CPA, plus average starting salaries are quite nice; and
  • I’m about to plan this whole freakin’ vacation for you on the super cheap. Trust me, YOU CAN DO THIS!


(Your Name)’s Itinerary

Destination:  Colombia, South America *This is just a sample, go where thou heart desires.

Departure:  x/x/2016

Return:  30 days later

Round trip ticket – Bogota, Colombia, less than $400!

Day 1:

  • 10:00 AM – Flight to Colombia
  • 10:30 – 2:30 PM – Study for four hours on the five hour plane ride
  • 4:00 PM – Check in to my sweeeeeeet $18/night AirBnB
  • 6:00 PM – Dinner in La Candeleria – $3
  • 8:30 PM – Attend a foreign language exchange at the neighborhood pub – meet some locals and some expats then hit the town

2015-05-14 13.50.44

Day 2:

  • 8:30 AM – Early morning hike up Monserrate; ride the cable car on the way down – $4
  • 12:00 PM – Traditional street food lunch – $2.50 (reminder: pack the Pepto Bismal)
  • 1:00 – 5:00 PM – Early afternoon study session at a Colombian coffee shop…buy some Colombian Arabica coffee beans to bring home for Dad
  • 9:00 PM – Salsa Night Baby – All nighter at Andes des Carnes


….Day 6:

  • 8:00 AM – Wake up at the Black Sheep Hostel in Medellin, Colombia (~$12 a night)
  • 8:30 – 12:30 PM – Morning croissant, morning coffee and a morning study session in the courtyard
  • 3:00 PM – Soccer time – Sante Fe vs. Nacional at the Colosseum – $20. NOTE TO SELF: Wear red.  Seriously, wear red.
  • 9:30 PM – Night cap with some Mojitos in Parque Lleras….like South Beach but wayyyyy cheaper

2015-05-17 15.56.57 HDR

…Day 14:

  • 8:30 AM – Early morning walk in the Old City of Cartagena, Colombia – FREE
  • 12:00 – 4:30 PM – Beat the heat with a mid-day five hour study session, maybe an ice cream break or three
  • 5:00 PM- Quick beach run to see the sunset with all my new best friends/hostel mates
  • 9:00 PM – Live music at the Havana Club with Hilary Clinton
  • 12:00 AM- Grab the greatest burger in the world right off the street at Hamburger Gabriel
  • Eventually get back to Media Luna Hostel – $14 a night


…Day 22:

  • 9:00 AM- Arrive in Minca, Colombia – my CPA/mountain getaway
  • 10:00 AM- Morning mountain biking session booked through my hostel, Casa Loma ($20 excursion, $12 lodging, $4 meals)
  • 3:00 – 7:00 PM – Afternoon study session in the hammock with a decent view…
  • 8:00 PM – unknown – Happy hour, hangout, sunset, bonfire, etc.

2015-05-28 13.05.27

…Day 28:

  • I can’t believe this place exists, let alone for $15/night – Costeno Beach
  • 9:00 AM – Morning swim
  • 11:00 AM – 4:00 PM – Study/Lunch in paradise
  • 5:00 PM – Dominate some beach volleyball
  • 8:00 PM – Dinner/hang out with some serious beach bums


….Day 30:

  • 10:00 AM – Return flight home
  • 10:30 AM – 4:00 PM – No need to study because I’ve never been this prepared in my life.


See!  It can be done.  And for cheap.

Go alone, go with your favorite accounting buds, go with your best friend…just go!

But I get it, travel isn’t for everyone.  If you’re one of those people, I’d recommend you still try to do something unique with this completely legitimate professional gap in your life.

Build a boat, join a band, start a small business.  The point is that you can manage your CPA studies and still create some of the most memorable times of your life.  Travel safe.


PS – Not sure if it was too obvious, but Brad and I actually went on a Colombian excursion this summer and it was absolutely amazing.  If you are thinking about traveling anywhere and would like to bounce off some ideas, shoot us a quick email.  We’d love to hear from you.

And finally, look out for some upcoming posts concerning specifics of the exam.  We are going to break down the whole sh’bang for you so don’t stress.  You are going to own that CPA.

In the meantime, hit us up if you have any questions at all – or





Josh Tarica

Josh Tarica

Josh is a co-founder of, the premier network for Accounting and Information Systems students to land jobs and internships with leading firms.