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Study Abroad Is About Experiences and Meeting New People

Study Abroad Is About Experiences and Meeting New People

This Week's Student Spotlight Is Sarah Franklin!

Major: Dual Degree in Management, International Business with minor in Asian Studies
Class year: Expected graduation- May 2018 
Hometown:Richmond, KY

1. Describe your Education Abroad program(s):
My study abroad excursion was through KEI (Knowledge Exchange Institute). I went to Akita International University, Akita, Japan to study the language of Japanese and their business culture. I was originally going for one semester but I loved it so much I extended my stay to two semesters.

2. Is this a good program for other students in your major?
Yes, it is an amazing experience. I made so many lifelong friends and was able to truly immerse myself into the culture. There are only so many things one can learn in a traditional classroom setting, so to live and study in a different environment, experiencing first-hand cultural variances, while testing ones adaptability in managing cultural navigation will be a huge asset against others vying for the same job.

3. Was this your first time abroad?
I have previously done a winter abroad session in London, England over international business, but this was the first time for a long study excursion.

4. How do you feel that you benefited from studying abroad?
Studying abroad has provided me the chance to be educated in a variety of learning environments and business areas. It increases my qualifications and competitive advantage over others vying for the same job. Obtaining the skill to navigate different cultures will support my future business endeavors because the world is becoming more globalized. The benefits in the end will be that I have developed a global mind and the eagerness to cultivate into a global leader. These lived experiences will provide me with: deeper awareness, understanding, appreciation, and acceptance for divergent worldviews. I will have the chance to develop skills, facing new challenges and problem solving. My horizons will broaden with fresh perspectives and ideas that will influence my own way of life and beliefs.

5. How do you think this experience will impact your future plans?
My study abroad experience inspired me to find an internship in Japan for the Spring 2017 semester. I was accepted to an internship in the human resources department with Hitachi Automotive Systems (HIAMS). I began and ended my internship in Berea, KY. However, for a month, I gained acceptance to work in Tokyo at the HIAMS Otemachi Division. I recently finished my duties in Japan, and it was amazing to be able to experience Japanese Business Culture, which I have decided to write my honors thesis on. I currently have a job offer in Japan due to my internship and will be travelling there in August for an official interview.

6. How did the experience differ from your expectations?
I went by myself, so in the beginning, I was worried about "fitting in" to this homogeneous society and making friends. By the end of my first week, I had met so many people, both Japanese and international students. I made so many friends throughout the course of my study abroad time period that I look back and wonder why I was so worried/ scared in the first place.

7. What other countries have you traveled to?
England, Philippines, Taiwan, and Malaysia

8. Favorite thing about studying abroad?
Favorite- I was able to travel not only within Japan, but to three other countries (Taiwan, Malaysia, and the Philippines) and truly immerse myself into and experience a culture. I joined the different cultural and sports clubs offered and was able to make life long memories and friends.

9. Suggestions for future students?
1. When learning a new language, do not be afraid of making mistakes, it is all a part of trial and error.
2.Be ready for culture shock and homesickness. Study the culture before you go to get acquainted with the differences to help you better adapt. 
3. When living in a new cultural environment, one can not just be knowledgeable and show awareness of the culture, but one must adapt their behavior to respect the cultural differences and people.
4. Have fun. Travel to other places if the chance is there. Join a club or sports team. The study abroad life is all about experiences and meeting new people, so go out there wanting to experience everything you can. (but don't forget about school work).

Published on September 13, 2017

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