Hi, I’m Alvin Zheng, a Finance major from Louisiana State University. I have wanted to study abroad for several years, and I am so glad I was finally able to have the opportunity. I traveled with IBS tours to Southeast Asia. Between the warm weather, mouthwatering food, and, of course, the most wonderful people, I can honestly say I could not ask for a better experience.
Hear more directly from Alvin:
If you had 60 seconds to convince a friend to attend an IBS program, what would you say?
Sixty seconds is not a lot of time to convince a friend to attend an IBS program, but here’s what I’d say. Be open-minded. Try new things. It is ok to be away from your comfort zone. The world is not static; it’s dynamic- always changing. Sometimes you need to remove yourself from your environment to see that. And it is a beautiful sight indeed. It’s a big world, please explore it to your heart’s content. We are social creatures by nature, but we are bound to habits and routines. We become complacent and make our own ideas of what is “normal.” When you travel, you can begin to fully grasp the idea that the world is much bigger and much different than what you are used to. It is these differences that you will begin to celebrate. So, let us celebrate.
What did you learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I’ve learned so much from my experience abroad. Firstly, it’s not as scary as you think. The people are kind. In terms of the companies we visited, I learned that the biggest thing to consider is culture. The rest of the world is not like the United States. Multinational and international companies hire a lot of local employees. For a good brand image and market confidence, being mindful of local customs and traditions are essential. A deal could go awry if you, for example, did not bow to greet and show your respect. There are many uncommon practices in the U.S. that one needs to associate themselves to fully integrate with a foreign country. Overall, the trip was worthwhile. I never previously considered working abroad, but after my experience, it is very much a possibility.
Did you develop or improve any qualities or skills during the seminar? If so, what were they and how did they develop/improve?
I have improved on some qualities and skills during the seminar. The biggest quality I have taken away is to be comfortable with the uncomfortable. At times, there were so many concepts I didn’t understand. I felt confused, but I learned to not lose composure. This wasn’t the first time I was disoriented. I’m certain these are not the last times, but I will be prepared for future challenges. As a result, I learned that it ok to ask questions and plenty of them. Being able to figure out a situation when you are not in control is a useful skill and can be applied to business practices and careers.
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