On the banks of . . . Lake Constance? It’s not the familiar tune a student at Michigan State University’s Broad College of Business is used to hearing. But, thanks to 250 study abroad programs available from MSU in 60 countries, that’s where marketing senior Julie Roper found herself — an MSU student in Germany learning marketing, practicing language skills, and immersing herself in a different culture.
“Study abroad was an experience I treasure,” says Roper. “It was a once in a lifetime opportunity, and it really widened my perspective, made me appreciate different ways of life, and opened my eyes to integrating new ways of thinking into American life and the business world.”
She isn’t alone in her experience — of the 2,577 MSU students that took part in study abroad in 2010-11, Broad students made up the highest percentage of participants. Opportunities exist for everyone, ranging from 2-5 week summer programs led by MSU faculty to semester programs and winter break options. Programs also exist for master’s degree students, including in the Full-Time and Weekend MBA programs. Incoming freshmen can even take part in study abroad through Freshmen Seminars Abroad the summer before their first semester at MSU.
These study abroad programs give students an opportunity to define themselves personally and professionally. Not only are they able to explore a new culture, visit international companies, and even sometimes experience life as an international student, they are challenged to adapt to new ways of thinking about the world and business.
Global business experience
Dwight Handspike, assistant director of Undergraduate Academic Services, explains that these experiences are vital to a new, global workforce. “Many students will work for multinational companies or for ones who supply for those companies. By thinking beyond East Lansing, study abroad will help students compete globally and stand out as potential employees with the ability to successfully navigate international business experiences.”
As Julie explains, “Even if I work in the United States, this experience made me more comfortable with different cultures and challenged me to get out of my comfort zone. And, as more companies are global with offices across the world, employees may take part in conference calls with different countries and this experience will be a valuable asset.”