Completing a study abroad can arguably be one of the most transformative experiences in one’s college experience. It may be tough to leave friends and family at first, but what you can gain in return is worth it. Especially with business being global today like never before, most employers prefer a candidate with international experiences. In fact, only 5% of university students today complete a study abroad. Studying abroad can exemplify a candidate’s adaptability, conflict management, and cross-cultural skills.
Here within the Lambda Xi chapter of Delta Sigma Pi, we had five brothers complete a study abroad recently. There are so many different programs and countries to choose from to complete your business courses. Whether you are interested in going for a whole year, semester, summer, or even a few weeks, there are options available! Our brothers graciously provided some advice and information about their study abroad experience!
Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia
Study abroad was not only an opportunity to spend a semester across the world preparing for my future, it was about meeting life-long friends, challenging myself, and being immersed in new cultures. This experience helped transform me into a better version of myself and I will never forget my time abroad! For anyone considering pursuing a study abroad, DO IT :)
Baden-Württemburg Cooperative State University (DHBW) in Mosbach, Germany
Through completing the International Program in Business program at DHBW-Mosbach, a partnership university of GVSU, I was able to take business courses taught by professors from around the world alongside students from Germany, South Korea, China, and Ecuador. I was able to gain many rich friendships and unique experiences both from inside and outside the classroom. A day does not go by where I don’t think about my time abroad. It was an amazing experience to learn an entirely new language to me, German, and learn how to collaborate with people of different cultures and backgrounds.
If you are at all considering taking this leap of faith in studying abroad, I highly recommend it!
Konkuk University in Seoul, South Korea (ISA Program)
If you're thinking about studying abroad, I would say, GO FOR IT! As cliche as it is and as often as people say it, truly don't worry about the finances and let that get in the way from you studying abroad. Prepare ahead of time, so if you're interested now, book time with the study abroad office to get this idea and interest actually on pen and paper. Then, do your due diligence by doing research about the program and prepare a realistic budget or plan to save up for studying abroad. Then work hard and save up, while being persistent in applying for scholarships when and where they're available. This is truly going to be worth it in the end because this not only sets you apart from many other candidates who haven't traveled abroad but also when will you get a chance like this again? Cause for the most part to the alumni I've spoken with and people who've worked for a while, all say the same thing when it comes to studying abroad when they didn't take the opportunity when they had it. They regretted it because when the rubber meets the road and you're working, it's hard to take time off, and life just gets busy.
So take advantage of all that GV and the rest of your undergraduate experience have to offer!
Grenoble Ecole de Management in Grenoble, France
This past summer, I studied abroad in Grenoble, France for 5 weeks. I went through a Grand Valley partnership program with Grenoble Ecole de Management, studying international marketing and small & family business. The university has many locations across Europe but, I specifically studied at the main campus in Grenoble for four weeks and Paris location for the last week. Grenoble is located in the south east part of France, it is a medium sized city surrounded by mountains.
During my time abroad I took a lot of risks and went with the flow, which usually isn’t apart of my nature. I took many spontaneous trip with people I didn’t know very well and in return, I met some of my closest friends experiencing awesome adventures I wouldn't give up. The biggest takeaway from going abroad for more than a month was emerging into everything and anything that was thrown my way, I had so much fun abroad and cannot wait to go back.
Just go! If you are thinking about going abroad look into as many programs that interest you and don’t let the time span hold you back. Everything about being abroad was incredible, you grow in so many different ways. I always knew I wanted to study abroad, but an entire semester seemed intimidating. That is why I chose to go on a summer program but, personally i wish It was longer because it was very hard to return home.
Overall, I had a great experience meeting all sorts of new friends, learning in a different teaching environment, and pushing myself out of my comfort zone.
American University of Rome in Rome, Italy (ISA Program)
My biggest takeaway from the experience would be the ability to adapt to other cultures. I don't think we in the United States fully realize how instantaneously we expect to be satisfied. Everything abroad took longer than I was used to, and had an emphasis on things that I previously did not think was important. It was a great experience that helped me to work on my weaknesses.
For those who are thinking about studying abroad absolutely go out and do it. There are so many different programs available that you will be able to find whatever education, length, language, and location you are looking for. My one bit of advice would be to research the country you are thinking about going to just in case there is anything you would not be willing to compromise on. For example, I went to Italy in July. Italy is not a big believer in air conditioning, which would have been fine, except it was pretty much 90 degrees Fahrenheit with 80% humidity and no clouds for shade my whole time I was there. It was very difficult for my Michigander self to adapt. Fortunately, I had a lot of gelato to stay cool.