Leaving home for college can be tough. Add traveling abroad to the mix, and things get even trickier.
But according to three students at the College of Business, fearlessness is the key to success in international studies.
“When people decide to study abroad they get a little scared,” said undergraduate international business major Nicole Acosta. “As you meet more people, stereotypes are broken and walls come down, and you realize how alike you are.”
Acosta and fellow international students Cecilia Hernandez and Nadia Malouli will guide fellow students through the ups and downs of studying abroad at a panel discussion, taking place Thursday, November 20 from 2-3 p.m. in GC 316. The panel is sponsored by the Office of Global Learning and the College of Business’ Office of International Affairs and Projects. It is part of a dozen activities scheduled for Florida International University’s (FIU) International Education Week, which runs through Friday, November 21.
Researching options is key to success.
Their best advice for fellow international students, as well as those looking to study abroad: don’t be afraid to talk to people, get involved, and do your research.
Even though she was familiar with FIU professors from classes they taught at Santo Domingo’s Universidad Iberoamericana (UNIBE), taking a class at FIU’s Miami campus felt different to Acosta.
“In the Dominican Republic, classes are really small and the teaching methods are more personal,” she said. “Here, it’s more independent. Since it’s a big class you don’t have that one-on-one experience.”
It’s not that classes are a lot harder, said Hernandez, fellow panelist and graduate student from Uruguay who expects to graduate in the spring with a Master of International Business.
“It’s intense here,” said Hernandez, 30. “You have to be open-minded.” Her advice: talk to everyone you can. “I met a classmate from Brazil and he really helped me a lot on a paper on that I needed to submit for class,” she said.
Added Malouli, a Master of International Business student from France: “You have to open your mind to every culture and every different way of working.”
In spite of the challenges, panelists agree: studying abroad is an experience that shouldn’t be missed.
“In my business school in France, almost all the students go abroad for at least a semester or for a one year exchange program,” said Malouli, who hosted international students in France. “Even though it could be challenging sometimes, everyone I knew loved the experience.”