Study abroad
Friday, March 8, 2019
By Allison Grier (BBA20)

While planning for study abroad, I not only had to think about what clothes I was going to bring but also materials I would need for school. I chose my classes with the intention of immersing myself in a new culture and maintaining my GPA. This meant only taking 13 semester hours and enrolling in courses that contributed to my major from an international perspective. So far, my classes have been manageable between my travel weekends; however, by no means are they less stressful. Between last week and this week, I had two quizzes, two exams, and a group presentation. Study abroad programs are often more condensed to accommodate time for traveling as well as student visa programs. For instance, the CIMBA program is only 83 days. This includes three extended travel weekends as well as a 10-day spring break. CIMBA students are not required to get a visa because the Schengen region, where the program is located, allows visitors from foreign countries to stay a maximum of 90 days.

What I appreciate most about the courses I am taking are my professors. My consumer behavior professor teaches my class in the mornings, and in the afternoon works as a marketing professional at the Tecnica Group, a top-five ski boot manufacturer in the world. Although she grew up in Italy, she has studied and traveled all over the world including China, Europe, and the US.   My Italy Live professor is also from Italy. She is always eager to hear about our travels as well as give us tips about restaurants to order from, in Italian, of course! My financial management professor and her husband both work as professors for CIMBA. They are originally from the States and enjoy comparing travel experiences with us. A few nights ago, they offered students the opportunity to participate in a cheese tasting with them and other faculty from the program. Finally, my international marketing teacher, originally from Oklahoma, encourages us to write travel journals and share interesting souvenirs in class.

Overall, my academic experience has been an interesting adjustment. I have found I learn just as much, if not more outside the classroom. It is truly amazing how much you realize you do know and how much you don’t know. For instance, I have found I can easily figure out how to use public transportation despite being unfamiliar with a language. I also found I did not know how generous and helpful others can be to travelers who are unsure of their surroundings. Please take this with a grain a salt as it is still important to be aware and cautious; however, I truly believe most people in this world want what is best for others as well as to surround themselves with those who make them better people.

If you're interested in other first person perspectives from Tippie students studying abroad, check out our Instagram Story "Q&A" highlight.