Want to make the most of your educational experience? Study abroad!
By: Denis Guba
Denis Guba is a Business Management Senior at UW-Parkside, who is currently studying abroad in St. Petersburg, Russia.
The University of Wisconsin-Parkside offers great opportunities to travel abroad and these include one week cruises in the Caribbean to full semesters at partner Universities worldwide. As a transfer student coming back from a three year break, I decided to finish my Business Management degree at UW-Parkside. In my first semester, I met Professor Abey Kuruvilla. Dr. Kuruvilla teaches Operations Management and a number of MBA courses. He also leads several study abroad trips. His friendly personality and enthusiasm regarding study abroad opportunities was contagious and I quickly became convinced I would do at least one trip during my time at UW-Parkside, no matter what it would entail!
The first thought I believe every student probably has is, “How will I finance this trip!?” I was not afraid to ask the helpful staff at the Study Abroad Office in Greenquist Hall Room 210 this question. I learned there are numerous scholarships and grants available for students who have a desire to go aboard and these cover a big chunk of expenses such as travel, accommodations and even a bit of spending cash. Yet, I did not solely rely on this “free money.” Therefore my advice is this: if you set your mind to study abroad through UW-Parkside, start planning now. Cut down on your extra spending, like your Starbucks coffees and open a savings account right away or simply use a piggy bank (seriously!). Take action well before you find out all the details of a trip and start sharing your ideas and trips you’re interested in to keep anticipation alive.
After all this excitement and preparation, I might have annoyed some faculty with too many questions but in the end, it all paid off. My dream caught fire and by summer 2015, I was booked for a trip to Italy with 10 other UW-Parkside students. I did not know any of these students before the trip but by the end of the “Doing Business in Italy” course/trip, we all formulated strong and unbreakable friendships. The trip to Italy actually developed into a second course/trip while we were in Italy. Dr. Kuruvilla connected with UWP’s partner university in Finland and it resulted in another three more weeks of study abroad in Finland. Originally, I had planned for one trip but ended up taking two! What an experience!
More companies than ever are going global and having a study abroad experience on your resume is very attractive. Not only are you learning academically but you are also forming relationships with future global partners while making friends around the world. I learned so much traveling last summer as a student which is very different than traveling as a typical tourist. You meet other students from all over the world, taste a bit of their culture (literally and figuratively) and learn their perspectives on life. My recommendation to all students is to take a step out of your comfort zone and reach for teachable and humbling study abroad opportunities. You will find these experiences will be ones you will deeply appreciate and never regret.
Who would have thought a year ago, while I was in Dr. Kuruvilla’s office discussing study abroad and world travel, that I would now find myself taking my third trip? This spring 2016 semester, I am studying abroad in Saint Petersburg, Russia for the full term. I’m actually finishing my last semester at UW-Parkside as an American foreign exchange student in Russia! Having landed on February 5th, I cannot wait to get started, make new friends and open my mind to new experiences – at UW-Parkside’s partner school Saint Petersburg State University of Economics in one of the most beautiful cities in the world. I wish everyone a happy semester and challenge you to make and take your own adventures by studying abroad sometime in your educational career at UW-Parkside. Cheers!
Update from Denis 4/22/2016
I hope all is well back home! Keep making a difference where you are at! Just over halfway through my time here and it's been amazing. I wanted to share with you about an opportunity I had that reminded me of being a CBEC intern. I've been meeting so many students from all over the world here and connecting with locals as well. You never stop networking!
On one occasion I was invited to speak to a Russian class about American culture and there was an open forum at the end for the students to ask me any question. It went so well I was invited a second time for another hour and half time slot. All the CBEC presentations I did last semester definitely prepared for this, but to make it more difficult the presentation was in Russian.
Below you will find a photo of one of the presentations.
I cannot say it enough how much studying abroad has broadened my perspective on business and life in general. I miss you all, don't stop doing what you love and challenge yourself more to be the