In January 2017, 56 undergraduate students at the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business participated in short-term study abroad programs, traveling to Japan, Europe and South Africa. Read about their exciting journeys, in their own words.
Students in the South Africa study abroad course visited Robben Island, the Langa Township and Mount Nelson.
Doron Tadmor, Class of 2020
I chose to participate in this program because I really wanted to see social entrepreneurship and innovation in practice in a culture very similar yet very different to the United States. What I got out of this trip was something I wouldn't trade the world for. This program taught me to be more confident, it allowed me to become a better leader, and it made me realize and appreciate who I am as a person even more.
I started this travel experience thinking it would be very interesting for me to develop my skills in the business and social entrepreneurship realm, but little did I know this trip would give me something greater. This was an emotional rollercoaster, that at first I was uncomfortable getting on, but in the end, the ride changed my life. I have learned more about myself in these past two weeks in one country, than any other place I’ve traveled to since I was born. I’m more open. I’m more accepting. I’m more questioning. I’m more of a disruptor, in a good way of course.
I think the most impactful aspect of this trip was going to the townships, such as Langa and Khayelitsha. You see things on TV and you may hear one-sided stories, but when you actually physically go to these places, you get a sense that this is real, this is actually happening, not to mention Apartheid ended just 23 years ago. But despite going to some townships in very poor conditions, kids are still playing and laughing and dancing in the streets, and you come to realize that we live in such a materialistic bubble and tend to block out reality. I've come to appreciate the life I have even more, and I will now always see beauty in unlikely places.
Students in the University of Maryland’s Quality Enhancement Systems and Teams (QUEST) Honors Program visited Japan.
Sarina Haryanto, Class of 2018
I choose to participate in a Smith School global program because learning about Japanese culture aligned with my personal and professional goals. I have heard of quality management tools, lean and just-in-time manufacturing through my QUEST coursework. I was excited to finally see these concepts practiced in the real world.
The greatest benefit of participating in the program is developing an appreciation of Japanese culture. In the Japanese tea ceremony, I learned the phrase “Ichi-go ichi-e” (translates to “one time, one meeting”).
A highlight of my time abroad was the sushi-making class. After making our own meal, it was time for dessert. I can’t eat apples and was surprised when the lady brought me wagashi (a rice cake), which made the meal so special.
Students in the “Accounting's Future, Present and Past” study abroad course visited top accounting firms in London, Brussels, Amsterdam, and New York. Visits were held at PwC, Deloitte, and KPMG, among others.
Nakiso Mgodi-Kaiyo, Class of 2017
I chose to do a Smith School program because I have always wanted to work abroad and I think it is important to have a global worldview in this increasingly globalized world. As a business student I also wanted a trip that was business focused because it would help me understand work abroad in the business context.
The greatest benefit of participating in the program was that it increased my self-confidence. I am more confident in myself because I took on a challenge I was not necessarily comfortable with in the beginning. I feel more confident taking on international travel by myself and I am also more comfortable taking on a global assignment should one come up in my career. This trip opened my eyes to the world and left me yearning for more international travel, it has definitely opened the door to many more international trips in my lifetime.
The relationships I made with the professors were absolutely the highlight of the study abroad program. You really get to know your professors outside of the classroom and are able to form strong professional relationships with your professors. I am confident that as I get ready to enter the workforce I can always reach out to the professors from this study abroad trip whenever I have questions about my career or need any advice. The relationships I formed with my classmates were also amazing; I think networking even with classmates is always important. I was surrounded by so many intelligent students who will have amazing careers post college and I know I can comfortably reach out to them should I ever need their help in my career.
Visit the Smith Goes Global Blog for more highlights: blogs.rhsmith.umd.edu/globalsmith.