Like what you see? This was my view of the Shanghai skyline on a boat tour when I was studying abroad last semester (Spring 2015). A few of my peers and I would like to share our advice on how to make studying abroad a reality for YOU.
Studying business in a different country adds profound value to your personal experience and your business education. Everyday, you are learning something new: whether how to say Finance in the native language or the way business meetings are conducted in that country. Hours of world class learning, literally.
How to get started with making study abroad your reality? Just like any significant project… RESEARCH.
A few things to consider:
Do you have a country in mind you want to study at? Not vacation at… STUDY. You will be spending months living, learning, and exploring this place. You want a country that will be your classroom. A place that you hear about and the first thing that pops into your head is: Business. For me, I kept reading about China in the Wall Street Journal and knew it had the second largest economy, so I started my research on China as a country and study abroad programs there. When I came back home, I was able to connect my abroad experience to my career interests and business in general.
If you don’t know where to start, a great place (and a must-go-to place) would be the Study Abroad Office at UIC (http://studyabroad.uic.edu/ ). Attend a First Steps session to brainstorm where you would like to study!
Also, talk to your advisor at the College of Business about what semester would be best for you. The sooner you know the semester you want to study abroad in, the sooner you can prepare your materials.
In my process, I knew a year in advance of the semester I wanted to be abroad in, the program I wanted, and the country of my interest. I took advantage of that time to research scholarships for that semester and the deadlines for my specific program. The more you can prepare ahead of time, the less you have to work on during the academic semester between classes, work, and your extracurriculars.
By now, you’re probably breaking down either one of two topics with me: Finances and Time.
Many people asked me how I financed my study abroad trip. I often reply with one word: Scholarships. If you’re thinking about studying abroad, let me tell you that there are many scholarships out there JUST TO STUDY ABROAD. At UIC, I recommend visiting two offices that can assist your search.
1. The Study Abroad Office
2. The Office of Special Scholarships
Another question is how did I find the time? Or my peers would tell me, “I’d love to study abroad, but I don’t have the time.” Everyone’s academic path is different than the next. As I stated before, I would advise talking to your advisor and see if studying abroad could be a fit for you soon. For my study abroad plans, I found that I was studying abroad sooner than most students, so that meant I would be taking general business core classes once I returned whereas most of my classmates will be almost done with business core classes. I would be taking a comfortable amount of classes for my next two years at UIC, but I had a balance of classes for the business core and my major.
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Check out my friend, Patricia’s blog! (patriciaseverythingblog.weebly.com). She is studying abroad in Bilbao, Spain this Fall semester!