There are so many benefits to participating in study abroad programs. I believe everyone should have the chance to travel while in college! There are countless benefits that I received from this trip, but there are certain goals related to my personality, academics, and professional skills that I was able to fulfill. The most important benefit I gained was related to my personality. I changed so much and these changes will continue to help me in the future no matter what my career path ends up being.
First, I will start with my personal goals. My goals were to get more personal experiences in new cultures, going out of my comfort zone, being more extraverted, and overall have a deeper understanding of how other people live their lives. I meet so many amazing people and added a lot of people to my network. But I think they are more than people in my network, they are real friends. There is a special kind of bond formed when you get through a trip to a foreign country together. I became more extroverted by talking to complete strangers and making some amazing friends. There were so many times when our group was talking to locals and they asked how long we all knew each other, and we would look at each other and state less than a week! The whole situation I just explained was the farthest I think I could possibly go out of my comfort zone.
Going forward, there will be so many situations that might seem uncomfortable and then I will think of this trip and it will seem so easy. When it comes to getting to learn about new cultures, I spoke with so many locals and listened to their firsthand accounts about what it is like living in other countries. There was one night we talked to two British guys for two hours. We talked about healthcare, living conditions, job markets, schooling, and even comparing drivers licenses. In Germany, I had a family friend who was able to give me a tour of the town and all the history along with the town. It was like having a personal tour guide. Overall, I think that this trip had a major impact on my personality.
Next on the list is how this trip helped me reach my professional goals. My professional goal was to get my name out to these international companies, gain an international mindset, and to get a unique experience to put onto my resume to talk to future employers about. On this trip, I got to go see and learn about different international companies like SAP, Grant Thornton, Hard Rock Café, Lloyd’s of London, and Frankfort airport. Going to these companies means that if I were to go for an interview then I would already have an advantage over all other applicants. Not only for just the companies listed above but others as well because it shows that I have some international experience.
I believe that someone who is willing to take a trip like this has certain traits that can be valuable to business and I think they know that too. I now have a deeper understanding of how an international business operates and the factors that go into consideration when making decisions. Just another competitive edge that I can use to set myself apart from the crowd. I believe that everything I learned and observed on this trip will help me in my future career. In that sense, all aspects of this trip can be defined as a professional gain which in turn more than exceeds my professional goal.
Lastly, I have my academic goals. The most obvious goal was to get class credit for this trip. So, not only am I having an amazing experience, gaining unique professional skills, and improving myself all while gaining school credit. I now can say that I have college credit in international marketing. There are some skills that can not be taught in a classroom and would not be considered a normal curriculum. Learning by experiencing topics like Brexit, investing, and entrepreneurship are just a few examples of topics that were presented to me. Also, broader topics like marketing, international promotion, and business growth to different countries. Overall, I believe that this trip met all my expectations and then some more and was extremely successful!