Iman Janoo Goes Down Under: Study Abroad Trip to Australia!

Guest Post By: Iman Janoo, a Junior studying Finance and Information Systems. She is a Global Business Center Study Abroad Scholarship Recipient, and she studied abroad through a Foster Exploration Seminar for Early Fall Start in Australia, during 2022.

This summer was a busy one, but it was a special summer, and most definitely fulfilling. I feel like I didn’t have time to even sit… started with summer courses and an internship with Deloitte, filled with catching sunsets, going to the park, and cooling off by the lake in my spare time, and ended with going to the Kid Cudi concert after my summer quarter finals and booking it immediately to Australia for study abroad (and then Bali right after!) Studying abroad in Australia was phenomenal. It opened so many new doors for me, gave me new perspectives, helped me make new connections with people, and forced me to try things out of my comfort zone. I highly recommend any and all students to try to study abroad at least once during their college career. It adds a completely new and different dimension to your academic experience, and it was certainly nice to get a break from Seattle. A change in pace can help you find new motivation and seeing new faces and places honestly just helped me thrive more! 

I originally was accepted into the quarter long Business Italy program for winter quarter. However, it was a hard no from my parents. I guess it is important to know a little bit about my background to give this some context. I am the oldest daughter and come from an immigrant family. I was born in Pakistan, and moved to Washington at around three years old. Being the oldest, with five sisters, and the youngest a brother trickling in after me, I of course had to set the stage and have always had it more tough from my parents. My parents did not feel comfortable with me being away from home, but I knew that I wanted to break this barrier, and I’m someone who does not back down. I learned that I have to slowly push my parents to understand what I want so that ultimately I can have it my way. I knew that study abroad was something I longed for, and I always wanted to add an international perspective to my studies, and more so to prove that I can do it, even as a Pakistani woman. After rejecting Business Italy, I applied to three of the EFS programs, because I knew my argument to persuade my parents would be that it is a shorter program, so there is no way they would be allowed to say no. Of course they said no again, but I was not willing to back down this time, and simply accepted it and forced them to accept it too. As the saying goes… when there is a will, there is a way. 

I ultimately decided to choose Australia out of the other EFS programs because it was led by Tod Bergstrom, and I had taken MGMT 200 and MGMT 320 consecutively with him, and I knew that he had ways to get some influential people to meet with us. This definitely proved to be true because we had amazing business visits, from big firms like Macquarie, to government organizations like the Parliament House and Senators, to nonprofit organizations like Clothing the Gaps. It was a super well rounded experience from being able to meet people in the business, government, and society sectors of business. I also knew that I would be able to get a balance of academics, sightseeing and adventure in Australia. Plus, visiting Australia randomly on my own would be hard, whereas visiting Europe seems more doable. Aside from the business visits, I had ample time to explore, from trying new foods and bakeries, to visiting botanical gardens, to hopping on a train to catch the sunset, to snorkeling and surfing, and even skydiving (after the program ended!) It was amazing. Of course there are things that I would do differently, or wish were different, but every experience teaches you something, and I know I can apply these wishes to my next travel experience! 

Studying abroad has resulted in multiple positive lessons and experiences. For one, it has made me more comfortable just booking a ticket and traveling to explore a new place (with some caution because of course I am still a college student and have a budget). It has also shown me how business runs differently across transnational boundaries, and what values are different among people in that country vs where I am from. It has allowed me to be more open minded and patient with other people as well. Lastly, it has shown me how to stay connected with the world despite being from the US. I like keeping up with world news more frequently (and checking scholar trips to find deals for new destinations). I know that this experience only solidified that I want (in fact, need) some sort of international perspective with my future career. Right now, my desire is to go into consulting, but I hope that I can fit a way to consult for businesses existing in different countries with different norms! 

I am so proud to say that studying abroad allowed me to break barriers within my Pakistani community by displaying that women are capable of being independent, and for myself, it pushed me to pursue any and every adventure that I want. I tried surfing one time in Brisbane as part of the program (I did not catch a single wave), but I was so determined to get better and visited Bali right after the Australia program and fell in love with practicing surfing with the locals. Who would have thought that Iman, the same girl absolutely TERRIFIED of sharks and going in the ocean, would be ok with being smashed by salt water until she finally got up on the surf broad. I am so happy I got to experience so many spectacular things this summer, and for anyone hesitant about studying abroad: just do it! Take a leap of faith because the worse that can happen is you learn what you like and don’t like. Start with a smaller EFS program if the quarter long ones seem too extensive, and apply to scholarships! There are so many resources and so much support available, but start looking early and talk to the GBC! Aside from familial reasons, financial reasons also held me back, but I took the leap of faith and let the scholarships fall into place after. I am happy to say it all worked out, and if it can work for me, it will most definitely work for you!