Why I valued and invested in the IBS program before attending and why I valued my experience after
Since I was a senior in high school, I knew I wanted to study abroad in Europe. However, planning to do so is not the easiest thing. There are many programs to choose from and many places to go to. For me, I chose the IBS program because I am a business student and wanted to gain a better perspective on international business practices as well as experience European culture. Therefore, the IBS experience was a perfect fit!
I have never been out of the country nor have my parents, and I knew this was going to be a once in a lifetime opportunity I would not want to pass up. After I applied, I received a package in the mail with my itinerary and IBS swag inside. The 23-day program was very detailed and planned out. I knew what I was doing every day of the trip and what companies we were planning to visit. Because each day was organized I got to do some personal research and plan out what I wanted to do during my free time in each city. I really valued how organized and structured the program was. It could be challenging to book hotels and plan some activities, especially in a foreign country. Being my first time out of the country, I really appreciated that this was all done and taken care of by IBS.
During my trip, I met so many amazing and like-minded peers from all over the nation whom I grew close to in only a few short weeks. There were also two students from my school that were also studying abroad with me. On the way there we had the same departing flight from Chicago as well so it was nice to travel with people from the program and my school. Overall, I really valued the friendships and cultural experience I gained.
I learned so many new things while abroad. For one, I learned how to exchange US currency for euros. It was strange to use at first since the money was very colorful and looked like Monopoly money, but it was neat to see and use. I also was able to culturally compare and contrast the many countries we visited and gained a great perspective and insight on how they function.
Overall, the biggest takeaway from my study abroad experience was a new profound sense of self-confidence. I realized that I can do anything I set my mind to. Leaving the country and making so many new friends along the way has been a very special experience I will never forget.