Study Abroad: Jolie Kozlowski

Cherry Blossom viewing (called Hanami) festival at Yoyogi Park in Shibuya, Tokyo

Students in the College of Business and Technology (CBT) are taking advantage of Eastern Kentucky University’s study abroad programs. CBT students are studying abroad through a variety of affiliates and exchange programs.

Following is the next in the Study Abroad Series aimed at sharing students’ life-changing experiences studying abroad through EKU. 

Study Abroad Series: Part Twenty-two – Jolie Kozlowski

Q -  What is your major? When is your expected graduation date?

A - My major is International Business and I am expected to graduate in Spring 2018.

Q - Where did you go? 

A - Tokyo, Japan.

Q - Did you take a course and earn academic credit that transferred back to EKU?

A - Yes, I was able to take 3 or 4 courses that transferred back to EKU to count towards my minor and major.

Q – What study abroad organization was your trip through? (Magellan Exchange, CCSA, KIIS, etc.)

A - Mine was an exchange agreement between EKU and Rikkyo University.

Q - How long did you study abroad?  

A - I studied abroad in Spring 2017, from March-July 30th.

Q - Why did you decide to study abroad?

A - I decided to study abroad because it was one of the first goals I made for myself in high school. It is also a requirement for my major – to earn at least 6 hours abroad so I was able to complete some of my degree while also doing something that I have always wanted to do. I decided to study abroad because I would always think to myself that, “There are things out there that I want to see and experience for myself that I cannot possibly see here. I feel stuck.”

Q - How did you decide to go to that particular location?

A - In high school, I researched exchanges between the United States and Japan but I couldn’t do it because I was already a senior at that time. I think one of the reasons why I decided to go to Japan was because it was one of those countries where it was just so completely different from the United States, you know? Everything from the history and the culture and the food—I thought that it would be the perfect place to help broaden my horizons and open myself to the many different facets of the world we live in.

Q - What were three of the most important things you learned from your experience studying abroad?

A - (1) The world is not as scary as you think.  (2) Never be afraid to open up and show your personality to someone you meet, even if it’s in a different country. Be open to meeting and becoming friends with complete strangers. If you think to yourself, “There’s no way I can get along with this person and be close friends because we come from 2 completely diverse cultural backgrounds,” you must quickly shut that line of thinking off! Some of my closest friends are the people whom I met in Japan—I met people from all over Europe, native Japanese (of course), and even Taiwan, China, South Korea, and Indonesia; open yourself up to the idea of learning more about the world you live in, and it can greatly benefit you. (3) To find beauty in the small things. There are things I find here in the States that I think, “Wow, this reminds me of so-and-so in Japan!” Or perhaps it’s a particular flavor I remember, or perhaps a building here that reminds me of a building I had seen while site-seeing in Japan. It makes you feel all warm and nostalgic and it’s truly a beautiful thing.

Q - What was your favorite and least favorite part of your abroad experience?

A - My favorite part of my study abroad experience was the different landscape and environment I lived in and also the people I met! I wouldn’t change it for the world, and every day I think about it all and cherish my memories of that time. My least favorite part of my abroad experience was the language barrier. Even though I had taken 2 semesters of Japanese before I went, it was still difficult—especially when I needed to ask for directions and couldn’t 100% understand. I had also joined a dance club there at the university and it was just so difficult because I couldn’t understand half of what they would say and I felt I was constantly holding them back. Not knowing the language made me feel guilty and also frustrated with myself.

Q - What did you gain from studying abroad that has changed you as a person and professional?

A - I would say I have changed quite a bit from study abroad and have gained irreplaceable things. I’ve gained an independence from traveling alone to a foreign country, I’ve grown more confidence with myself when it comes to talking to people and approaching others. At my university abroad, in my classes I was put into groups as the group leader where I would work on the skills a leader should have, and I’ve learned I can lead if I believe in myself. I’ve gained an appreciation for many diverse cultures—not just Japanese.  Since I’m an international business major, all of these are important gains not just now, but for in the future when I pursue a professional career in the international workforce.

Q - Would you recommend that other College of Business and Technology students study abroad? Why or why not?

A - A thousand times yes! This is an experience you can’t get anywhere else—studying in a different country and culture opens you up to new ways of thinking. It makes you a more open-minded person which I think is important for working the business or marketing field. If you gain a global perspective, I think that makes you a unique candidate for many job opportunities and makes you stand out amongst the masses.

Q - Who do students contact if they are interested in studying abroad? 

A - ‚ÄčKatie and Jennifer in the Study Abroad office in the Keith Building! They are more than willing to help you! Even if it’s with helping you decide where you want to go, or even if you’ve chosen, they will help you in any way they can in the process.

Q - What advice would you give to College of Business and Technology students before they study abroad?

A - Don’t go into it thinking you know everything about the country. Everyone has something to learn when they move to a new country, whether it be negative or positive. Believe in your ability to succeed while abroad, and I think you will have a great time there.

Q - Since you have not graduated, how is your study abroad experience helping you with your job search?  How has it helped you network with potential employers?

A - It had made me realize that I definitely would like a job in an international-based company or position. I get along well with people of diverse backgrounds and cultures so I think I want to put my focus there, so I now know what to look for when going for a job search. It has helped me network with potential employers because I was able to meet people from all over the world and even lived with them. Establishing a relationship with these people aided in my networking since it opens branches of opportunities from all over the world that could be beneficial for me in the long-run.

More photos from Jolie Kozlowski's Study Abroad experience...

Find out more about Study Abroad:

Students interested in studying abroad may contact Jennifer White in the Education Abroad Office in the Keith Building, Room 129, to discuss all the program options. Jennifer can be contacted via phone at 859-622-1705 or by email at ekuabroad@eku.edu.

Find out more about International Business. Contact Dr. Weiling Zhuang, Chair of the Department of Management, Marketing and International Business via phone at 859-622-1377 or by email at weiling.zhuang@eku.edu.

Published on September 13, 2017