Studying abroad is an experience that you should definitely take advantage of before you graduate. McIntire’s Dean Z has a goal of having 100% of McIntire students participate in a global experience before graduation. With business becoming increasingly global, it’s important to get a feel for different cultures, languages, and ways countries operate. With so many opportunities, including J term, May term, summer abroad, or a semester abroad, studying abroad is an experience that is accessible and a great way to expand your knowledge! There are many ways to fund your trip, whether it’s through the global commerce office, international studies office, or outside grants, so talk to an adviser to figure out how you can make study abroad an option for you.
Last January, I went abroad to Australia and New Zealand with Professor Sherri Moore and Professor Ryan Nelson to learn about doing business in the Down Under. We were specifically focused on learning about the wine industry and aboriginal art industry. These were two topics that I had no knowledge on, and through this experience, I was able to gain in-depth knowledge in these areas while experiencing the culture and sights of these countries.
During our J term, a typical day would involve us visiting two to three vineyards. There, we would tour the vineyard; see the process of making, bottling, and storing wine; and then learn more about the exportation business. We also had a chance to meet many winemakers who shared with us the complexity of the industry. Last but not least, we were able to taste the different wines in the region and see firsthand why the wine of this region is so well-known. At the end of our days, we would either have dinner as a group or on our own, return to our hotel to work on our class projects, or go out and explore the area. Most of our days were jam-packed with both class experiences and excursions, but it was awesome being able to see and do so much in just the two weeks we were in the country.
Another great thing about my J term was that I was able to bond with my classmates and professors. On the trip, our professors ate and sat at tables with us, so we were able to learn a lot about them outside the classroom. With my classmates, it was awesome exploring the countries, nightlife, and the beaches of Australia and New Zealand. What’s great about study abroad is that although there is a lot going on, learning and getting as much out of the trips as possible, there is also a lot of opportunity to actually interact with the culture and see the historical spots of a country. For example, as a class, we had a tour of the Sydney Opera House, saw the 12 Apostles, and met koalas. We also had a couple days of free time to explore and see what the area has to offer.
Because I had such a great experience studying abroad, this coming January, I am going on another J term. This time, I’m going to Argentina to consult different vineyards in Mendoza. I look forward to using all I’ve learned in Australia and New Zealand to help vineyards in Mendoza and expand my knowledge (and love) for wine!