Guest Post By: Beatriz Cortez, a Junior studying Accounting and Human Resources Management. She is a Global Business Center Study Abroad Scholarship Recipient, and she studied abroad through a Foster Exploration Seminar for Early Fall Start in Ireland, during 2022.
Studying abroad has been one of the best decisions I could have made for myself as an undergraduate student because I feel like this experience has allowed me to develop personally and professionally. Some of how I grew personally are by knowing myself better and understanding the things I like to do, like going on walks while listening to a podcast or music, building friendships, being adventurous with groups of people, and enjoying trying new food and desserts. Professionally some of the ways I grew were learning to present myself in a business setting, learning to be engaged, and asking thoughtful and meaningful questions during our company visits. Furthermore, I learned how business is done abroad, and the different problems and decisions businesses have to face from an international point of view. In my study abroad program, we had the opportunity to visit many companies and industries, all the way from small family-run businesses to tech giants and the big four accounting firms.
Some of the things I learned about business abroad is that many companies are facing similar situations with transitions in the workforce after the pandemic. Companies are faced with the dilemma of returning to the office, continuing to work remotely, or introducing a new hybrid model of work. Another common feature in the businesses we visited was the different markets they had and the way they had to manipulate their business depending on the market they were looking at, for example, if it was the European market, Asian market, or the Americas. One example I can give is Clonakilty which is a black pudding producer and a staple of meals in Ireland. The company’s main product is a meat sausage, and the product development manager was looking to expand the business into a vegetarian option. Another example of how a company uses advertising and marketing to attract a specific market was Tullamore Dew, a popular Irish Whiskey Distillery whose main persona in their advertising is an elderly woman, they have never used celebrity advertising since they began in 1829 because they believe in the authenticity non- celebrities provide.
Studying abroad has impacted my life and career because I want to continue traveling and learning about different cultures and countries. I feel like studying abroad in Ireland made me appreciate its beautiful culture and made me grow my love for my own culture and heritage while also being more appreciative of others and interested in learning about the world’s history and culture.
During the trip, I learned to grow my connections with people and be open to new things. I look forward to maintaining my connections with the group and being proactive about meeting up. Some of the memorable moments I remember and will cherish are the city exploration we did as a group while walking the Irish streets and enjoying the beautiful scenery and landmarks. I enjoyed having my first actual horseback ride across a pathway and biking and then hiking up to a stonehenge in Dingle, Ireland. We also visited many castles and historical sites along our bus ride, like Blarney Castle, the Rock of Cashel, the stone walls, and Belfast. I enjoyed watching the sunsets from the beach, exploring tea shops, and getting my first experience with Penneys, a European clothing store. Overall, I am very grateful for the opportunity to study abroad, and I would encourage all students to do it because it made me appreciate the most important things in life and feel privileged to call this world our home.