As I reflect on my time now, however, it is incredible to think of the real world application of my first year curriculum in the MBA program. One company visit that stands out as one I can relate back to a number of first year courses was at an Amazon fulfillment center outside of Munich, Germany.
My favorite visit was in Vienna to see OPEC. Here, we had a great Q & A session with an OPEC representative about the current oil situation in the world, the economic status of OPEC nations including the turmoil in Venezuela and how competitor nations like the US and Russia could threaten the oil industry in the future. Overall, we had a very enlightening experience.
As they left they told us to keep our horizons open and cease opportunities. That is what studying abroad is really about: broadening horizons, going to places you might never have gone to, doing things you might never have done, and at last meeting people and creating friendships across cultures. The world is a big place and this program allowed me to explore it in a way that was culturally enriching and educationally stimulating.
. In the future I hope to go into automotive packaging so Porsche and Mercedes Benz were two of my favorite companies and museums to visit. Being in the environment of these companies was a once in a life time experience that I will never forget.
Our first major stop was a French military cemetery, giving us a small glimpse into who the brave individuals were who fought and died for France in 1916. This moment, emotional at its core, was only the beginning of a truly eye opening experience.
Leaving my own country for the first time in my life not only opened my eyes to new cultures and countries but also helped me to understand the world from a different viewpoint, a necessary asset to any teacher. It allowed me to understand that there is so much to be learned from the world and its people.
As someone who grew up in an embarrassingly small town with not a lot of opportunities outside school, I could have never dreamed about having such an amazing experience halfway around the globe.
Having an inside look at the companies gave insight to the way that European packaging companies are different from American packaging companies. One major difference is that in Europe, sustainability has a significantly higher influence on the packaging. This comes from the customers, as they demand and expect sustainable materials for their products.
In Turin, I witnessed the outcomes of hosting the 2006 Winter Olympics, and in Milan I attended the World Expo on sustainable food. At this mega event, I critically assessed the World Expo itself and the impacts on the city and people of Milan from hosting the five month tourist attraction.
This summer I participated in one of the greatest adventures of my life - studying abroad in Hannover, Germany while participating in German research. Nine other students from Michigan State, including myself, joined students from across the world to participate in this adventure.
Before leaving for my study abroad, I was nervous it would be hard to make friends on the program and the days would be filled with classroom lectures and have a very structured schedule. My preconceptions couldn't have been further from the truth. All the students on my study abroad were eager to make new friends and explore the cities we visited.
As an engineering student at Michigan State, I have focused my academic pursuits on excellence in the classroom and innovation in the research lab. However, upon arriving at my institution in Aachen, I was quite stunned at how differently they approach academics. Their students conduct research in a much more collaborative and comprehensive way when compared to what I have experienced.
Meeting my mother's family and being surrounded by German culture allowed me to gain a deeper understanding of my identity as an American by birth and German by heritage. Although I'm still the same person, my experience in Germany did make me feel like I have a better grasp on who I am and how I fit into the world. The program was worthwhile for that alone.
I found a new appreciation for my major and found more desire to learn and be the most I can be. I also learned that the American way, isn't always the best or right way and that there is validation in accepting other techniques.
Initially, I was tremendously nervous and worried about studying abroad, because it was my first time visiting a country overseas. I began to question many things and was especially concerned about not speaking the dominant languages of these countries. Yet once upon arriving to Europe, I learned that English was the second language for many people in every country I visited.
I hope that other students at Michigan State University with mental health issues do not let their doubts and fears prevent them from participating in a study abroad program in their future. After a semester of encountering new people, knowledge and cultures I have opened the door to an endless world of possibilities.
At times I was in gigantic cities, alone on trains or buses, and in areas that I could've gotten lost in the blink of an eye, yet I felt comfortable and didn't experience any of the anxiety that I had anticipated.
The pure scholastic aspect of study abroad was the most amazing learning experience I've ever had inside a classroom. Learning became fun, and traveling became addicting. However, more than anything, I am walking away from my time abroad knowing I loved my experience for the people around me. Spartans stick together, and I am so grateful to experience it alongside some of the best students and professors at Michigan State University.
We worked with students of different academic and scholastic levels and were able to really learn about cultural and societal differences between our American students and the Swedish students.
As a plant biologist, I was very excited to hike through rows of grapevines cultivated on rolling hills of a German countryside. The sights could not do my imagination or my camera justice.
We would adventure through Mayen with our friends, often hiking, or we would bond with our host families. On the weekends, we used our Eurail passes and did traveling throughout Europe.
Being completely immersed in a foreign culture allowed me to practice my language skills in an environment full of native speakers, who had no problems correcting my atrocious grammar and pronunciation.
These are experiences that will be engraved in my head forever, and the best part of each memory? I was learning and taking classes at the same time, surrounded by Michigan State students and representing the remarkable University all over the world
While I was abroad I realized that if at all possible, every single student studying planning at Michigan State University should be required to study abroad before graduating.
Our first stop was Barcelona, a city that pictures could never do justice. It was here that our group was approached by a Spartan alum (Class of 1966) who noticed our green and white apparel and had to say hello. That encounter was one of many incredible moments throughout the month.
All day and night long there was sounds of people talking, beer bottles clinking to cheer with one another, the sound of bike bells, food cooking, music playing, soccer balls being kicked around, and traffic.
The amount of enthusiasm and excitement Dr. Harrell expressed about the future experience made me realize that this was something I couldn’t afford not to do. From that moment I knew I had to take a leap of faith.
Having participated in the European Planning and Practice: Urban Redevelopment Study Abroad Program has [...] given me the opportunity to abound myself in new cultural knowledge, share feelings and gain a new outlook of the world from people outside of my own culture and upbringing.
Everywhere you turned felt like you were walking through history, and everything seemed so strange and thrilling. I have lived and traveled all around the United States, but there was just something about Dusseldorf that made it seem completely different.
German culture is something I never tire of. It is really a very beautiful country to see, with the scenic Alps in the south and centuries old castles near just about every town.
When you commit to doing something solely for yourself, your limits disappear. I learned so much, not only about the culture that I placed myself into, but about myself, and what my abilities actually were.
I remember giggling as I watched one of my classmates try to convey that all he wanted was water. The more she didn’t understand, the louder he would get. And hand signals were our way of trying to show them what we needed.
Going to the heart of Nazi Germany and going up to Hitler’s Eagles Nest in the same elevator he used was a surreal experience for me.
I am glad that we did not spend the whole five weeks together as one American study abroad group, but instead, we were able to go off on our own and meet new people and interact with those people in order to get more of a feel of the German culture.
Just by living across the Atlantic Ocean the names and numbers of divisions like the 101st Airborne “Screaming Eagles” are relatively unknown, but here in Europe U.S. flags fly with the names and numbers of division, regiments or units and often names of soldiers to go with. The Europeans know more about WWII than us Americans who majorly fought it, but they don’t forget like we often do.
70 years later their memory remains in the minds and lives of Europeans as it should for all Americans, though it seems that education in this topic for American students is too limited as the places, people, ad events we learned about were often unfamiliar.
Even as I write now I can still feel the great range of emotions from proud at the American Cemetery to dejected and empty at Buchenwald. Not only do you get to experience the subject you may already know so much about, but you get to see it within the context of another culture.
The extensive public transit systems, brownfield redevelopments and old historic sites mixed with new inventive developments just can’t be experienced through a text book or classroom. Working side by side with German students and then presenting to an international committee was one of the most intense, stressful and rewarding experiences
Thanks to scholarships such as the ones I received from Thomas and Brigitte Huff and the Office of Study Abroad, this experience was made possible for me. I am very grateful to those who have made this experience possible to a girl they don’t even know. All I can say is that you have truly changed my life by making this experience a part of my life.
People say hello to one another when they pass, a store employee helps you find an item, a server takes your order, maybe you meet someone new and have to make extended small-talk. All these activities are carried out thoughtlessly, because they are so routine. We anticipate what sorts of phrases will be used based on the situation, what responses are expected, how formal a situation is, what to say in order to sound “normal.”
Going around the classroom, helping the students with their compasses or with the problem set they were working on, I realized my tentative decision to become a teacher was the right choice. I felt “right” helping the students and guiding them in their learning process. I felt “right” about helping to keep the classroom in control, as if I were born to do it, and I felt “right” about my future role in education and the responsibili
By taking on these other cultures, I was able to see the beauty of another culture, something that most people of the world never get to partake in. I was able to realize that my way of life is not necessarily the only way to do things.