“I found this experience to be extremely beneficial in developing my global perspective and mindset.” As a Tippie College of Business student, Maria’s virtual study abroad experience helped to prepare her for future classes and discover her career goals once she graduates. Little did she know that virtually studying abroad would be impactful on both her studies and personal discovery!
From June 13 to July 2, 2021, I was a part of a virtual study abroad program in the Asia Pacific region through the Tippie College of Business. Our class focused on a different location each week, including Singapore, Australia & New Zealand, and Hong Kong. Every night from Sunday to Thursday, I was able to learn about international business management from world renowned professors, as well as engage in discussions with local business leaders and cultural activities.
One of the highlights of this experience for me was partaking in a cooking class that centered around Australian and New Zealander cuisine. With studying abroad virtually, I was not able to fully experience the culture of the places I was “visiting.” However, with this cooking class, I was able to get a taste of Australia and New Zealand. I enjoyed learning how to cook the meat pies and lamingtons from the area, and I look forward to making them again for my family and friends in the future. I was surprised at how delicious the meal was, but also how similar it was to British cuisine. I have a lot of British heritage, so I indirectly learned about my heritage by learning about the relationship that Australia and New Zealand have with Great Britain via the Commonwealth.
Another highlight of this experience for me was the academic component of studying abroad. On MyUI and documents from the Tippie College of Business, the class was titled Intro to Global Business: Asia Pacific. However, the course content consisted of International Business Management. Since I will be a sophomore this upcoming semester, the only classes I have taken for my business core are Principles of Microeconomics and Principles of Macroeconomics. The virtual class I took while abroad was my first experience with business theory and strategies, and it just happened to be about management abroad. I learned about different analyses that companies and business leaders typically use before bringing a business to a new country. These tests are the PESTLE Analysis (Political, Environmental, Sociocultural, Technological, Legal, Economic) and SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) Analysis. I will be able to use these analyses when I take Introduction to Management this fall.
As for self-discovery and personal growth, I realized a few different things. First of all, I realized that I am on the right track. I added the International Business Certificate back in February to my plan of study without having much information about what it entailed. Through this class, I discovered my enjoyment in learning about international business, which confirmed I am on the right path of study. Another thing I discovered about myself is my interest in bringing international business into my career. I now have a goal of either traveling internationally for my job or living abroad for a few years and working at a foreign office for my company. I feel like this experience would provide me some insight into how my clients or coworkers think when it comes to our roles and tasks. Lastly, I developed a global mindset from a place that I would not have normally chosen. I have always had a goal to study abroad, but I had only considered a European destination. This virtual opportunity in Asia Pacific was appealing to me because it not only fit my schedule, but was also virtually taking me to a region I would not normally think of studying in. I now have a desire to travel to these places, particularly Australia, and experience the cultures and sights for myself.
Going forward, I hope that I will have an opportunity to experience a study abroad program in person. I found this experience to be extremely beneficial in developing my global perspective and mindset. I feel that I was able to get as close to a normal study abroad experience as I could get from seeing everything on Zoom. Maybe I will choose a different location in the future to develop more of a global mindset, but in a different way.
Maria Hallenbeck is a rising sophomore at the University of Iowa originally from Saint Paul, Minnesota. She is a double major in Finance and Mathematics with a Finance Specialization and has a certificate in International Business. Outside of school, she is a data analyst student manager for the baseball team here at Iowa. In her free time, she enjoys reading and playing with her two cats, Sota and Nile.
Edited by: Delaney McDowell, Honors Student Admin