Study Abroad: Paige Van Zandt

Paige Van Zandt

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 Fifteen – Paige Van Zandt

Q -  What is your major? Are you currently a junior or senior, and when is your expected graduation date?

A - International Business major from Muscatine, Iowa; graduating in 2016

Q - Where did you go? What study abroad organization was your trip through?

A - ​I have now studied abroad three different times during the course of my time here at EKU. First, I studied abroad with KIIS in Italy in the summer of 2013, next, I studied abroad in Greece with Global Links in the summer of 2014, and I just returned from an Internship abroad in Barcelona with KEI program.

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

A - In Italy, I took a course in Intro to Italian culture and also Conversational Italian.

In Greece, I took a course in Business in the European Union and The Life and Teachings of the Apostle Paul.

In Spain, I interned for a recruitment firm in Barcelona and also took a course in cross cultural communication.

All of the courses I took abroad were transferred back to EKU for academic credit.

Q - How long did you study abroad?  

A - In total, I have spent 5 months abroad (1-2 months each summer)

Q - Why did you decide to study abroad?

A - At first, I decided to study abroad to make sure that my international business major was the right fit for me. I thought that if I went abroad and didn’t like it, international business was something that I probably should invest the rest of my college career studying. After I took my first trip abroad and realized how much I loved it and how passionate I was about it, I followed up with a summer in Greece and then in Spain.

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

A - When I decided to study abroad in Italy, it was all about the location. I had always dreamed of going to Italy and to the European Union so it seemed like a great fit for my first time studying abroad. With Greece, I was a winner for the “spin the wheel” event the office for International studies holds and I really didn’t have much choice in the matter. Lastly, when I chose my internship in Barcelona, location was secondary; I was more focused on being able to intern abroad as opposed to where I wanted to go or ‘visit’.

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

A - Open-mindedness and acceptance to different cultures of the world. 

Adaptability

Independence

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

A - My favorite thing about studying abroad is having the opportunity to travel abroad and learn about the worlds cultures and meeting life long friends along the way. My least favorite thing would have to be the bouts of homesickness you get when you are away from home but that phases out rather quickly when your enjoying yourself and immersed in the culture.

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

A - I gained a lot of knowledge through studying abroad. I have gotten to experience different cultures of the world, meet people from all over the world and make life long friendships with these people. Through the study abroad process I have learned more about myself and feel that I have become a stronger, more open minded, independent individual. I also have gained many transferable skills that can help me in the work force in the future like communication, and adaptability.

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

A - I would recommend any of these programs to people in my major and to all EKU students in general. I am a huge advocate for studying abroad and I firmly believe it is one of the most enriching opportunities you can experience while you are in college. I feel that studying abroad is less about academia and more about cultural diversity, cultural awareness and adaptation. Each and every one of the study abroad programs I have been on and experienced have taught me more than what I could learn here in a classroom about the world, culture, people and myself.

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

A - ​Students can contact many people to find out more information. EKU’s website has a lot of information. The international Studies office in Keith 129 is probably the best place to talk to someone about options for studying abroad- Jennifer White has been with me through every trip of mine and she is the most knowledgeable, helpful person here at EKU for all things study abroad.

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

A - My advice to those who are going to partake in any study abroad venture is to go in with your mind wide open and to go in without any expectations. Studying abroad is about adapting and that is much easier and you will feel more immersed if you go to your host country with an open mind and a willingness to learn.

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 - My study abroad experience has shaped my professional potential and future career in the sense that I have set myself apart from many other college grads thanks to my trips abroad. Studying abroad looks incredible on a resume because it shows that you can adapt that you are willing to learn and put yourself in a place that isn’t familiar and you can thrive. I know that when I begin looking for a job and enter the work force  I will be better prepared because of these experiences and I’ll be able to use the transferrable skills that I have learned throughout studying abroad to differentiate myself from the competition and thrive in any environment whether it be here in Richmond Kentucky, or half way across the world.

More photos from Paige Van Zandt'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. Lana Carnes, Chair of the Department of Management, Marketing and International Business via phone at 859-622-1377 or by email at lana.carnes@eku.edu.

Published on October 07, 2015