Hi! My name is Alyssa O’Donnell and I am an accountancy graduate from Northern Illinois University and am currently working on my Master’s in Accountancy at NIU. I was fortunate enough to attend the Winter Southeast Asia 2020 trip. I have always been fascinated with other cultures and love to travel whenever possible, so IBS was the perfect fit for me! There is no other program like it, and I was lucky enough to meet many new friends that I wouldn’t have met otherwise! One piece of advice that I can give whenever thinking about going on a new adventure or presented with a new opportunity is to just do it, find a way to make it happen because it will always be worth it.
Hear more directly from Alyssa:
Why did you choose your IBS seminar vs any other study abroad program?
I chose to go on an IBS seminar over any other study abroad program because of its unique aspect of being able to visit real businesses in an international setting to see how companies operate globally. As an ever-increasing global economy, I see the importance of being able to understand business concepts as a global concept instead of just experiencing the world from one point of view. I also understand that I will be working with people from all over the world and I believe to truly understand someone and the reasoning behind their thought processes, it is important to experience other cultures. The more experiences that I have with people from other cultures will only benefit me and make me grow as a person.
Did you develop or improve any qualities or skills during the seminar? If so, what were they and how did they develop/improve?
I had always thought that I was a personable person that could have conversations with anyone, however on this study abroad trip I realized that this skill wasn’t as good as I thought. On this trip, I was exposed to a brand-new experience that I had never undergone, and I found out that I am not always comfortable talking to new people in an environment where I am no confident. Through this trip, I was given opportunities to speak with the locals, including those that were students! Sometimes it is uncomfortable, but if we don’t push ourselves then are we really growing? I went in with that mentality and I learned more about the culture than I would have just by reading a book.
What company did you enjoy learning from the most and why?
The company that I enjoyed learning from the most was Ikea Thailand because I could do a direct comparison of Ikea Thailand and Ikea America. This comparison, the tour, and the management who were from all around the world were all very interesting to me. Ikea had management from each individual sector of their business so that we were able to ask questions about their specific departments and get an even more depth comparison. It also helped that we were given bubble tea by Ikea as well!
If you have any questions email me at: Z1812245@students.niu.edu