Why I Chose IBS…Twice

student group abroad in china

It was my first month as an accounting transfer student. I was attending a new college and living in a new apartment in a new city when I was thrown into my first recruiting season. I was being recruited for accounting internships, recruited for business fraternities, for honor societies, and for studying abroad. After an IBS student alumni came to my classroom to share a short story about his experience in Europe, I decided to travel with International Business Seminars to China just 10 weeks later.

students networking with business executives
I didn’t know much about International Business Seminars before my first trip with them. I knew I would be going to China with a group of students from around the United States, and that is about it. I followed the steps provided for me in getting my Chinese Visa and recommended vaccinations and before I knew it I was at the airport in Chicago meeting a couple students I would be traveling with.

During my trip, the group got the chance to visit businesses of all shapes and sizes from Earnst & Young to a fifth-generation family business. We ate the most spectacular food in each city, many meals of which were accommodated by IBS (at least one per day) and were given free time and discounts on a variety of expeditions. I came home with a journal and cell phone photo gallery full of memories and spent the next semester processing the experience.

Becoming an IBS Ambassador

Realizing the impact the trip had on me, I decided to become a Campus Ambassador for IBS at Northern Illinois University. I hoped to convince others to take a trip that would have the same impact on them personally and professionally as mine did. I spent the semester working closely with the Faculty Advisor for IBS at my school and retold my experience with hundreds of students. I shared stories of my evenings exploring Beijing and Shanghai, praised the IBS staff for their dedication and efficiency, marveled at the opportunities I had to meet international business professionals, and reminisced memories of the new friends I had met.

Somewhere in between writing ambassador blogs and making classroom presentations, I recruited someone I did not expect…Myself! I decided that the value of the trip was too great to turn down the opportunity to see another part of the world in the unique IBS way. Post-graduation, I knew it would not be possible for me to travel with a group of ambitious business students just like me and get personal tours of businesses and talk to managers in international offices. I couldn’t say no!

My Second Trip Abroad

Just seven months after leaving the continent for the first time ever, I found myself flying to Vietnam with a new business visit itinerary group of people (aside from my roommate from China, who also came for a second seminar!). The visit was similar to my first in the fact that it included amazing people, laughing until my sides hurt, and learning as much as my heart desired. It was different to my first in so many ways, though! I could not believe how different the cultures, foods, and business practices were in each country. I came home with another journal and cell phone photo gallery full of memories and am currently still processing the experience.

After completing both the well-established Summer China Seminar and the brand new Winter SE Asia Seminar with IBS, I think you can trust me as a subject matter expert when I say that this is an opportunity business students should not pass up!

Amanda Mapes

School: Northern Illinois University

My experience abroad taught me as much about myself and the way I perceive the world as it did about China and Chinese culture.

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