Study Abroad: Spencer Stanley

Spencer Stanley and friends in Germany

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 Thirteen – Spencer Stanley

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

A - I am a general business major with concentrations in both International Business and Global Supply Chain Management, graduating spring 2016.

Q - Where did you go?

A - ​I went to Schmalkalden, Germany for classes but had the opportunity to explore other parts of Germany and also parts of the Netherlands.

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

A - ​I earned 3 hours which go toward the six hours abroad required by the International Business option. The ‘course’ was actually a series of six different classes or modules that all shared the overarching theme of ‘Intercultural Management’.

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

A - Magellan Exchange

Q - How long did you study abroad?  

A - The program lasts about three weeks, from June 1 to June 20.

Q - Why did you decide to study abroad?

A - It is a requirement for all International Business program participants to gain at least six credit hours abroad.

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

A - Cost. The Schmalkalden summer business school is by far the most affordable program I found while doing research and also pertained directly to my major and professional interests.

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

A - First and foremost I’ve learned that people are generally similar no matter where they are from. The Schmalkladen summer school invites students from 10+ countries, and we all got along great.

Secondly, I’ve learned that people should experience the world for themselves instead of blindly accepting perceptions. Culture and diversity can be studied in textbooks but immersion is the only way to experience it and truly gain the benefits doing so has to offer!

Lastly, I learned to just go for it! There were multiple times in Germany where I had to make decisions with less than full information. Whether it was ordering food off of a menu in which I couldn’t read or an impromptu excursion to a neighboring country, sometimes you just have to dive in head first and find an adventure.

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

A - My favorite part of my experience had to have been the trip from the airport to the home university when I first arrived. It was up to us (myself and another EKU business student) to navigate our way from Frankfurt airport to the home university 200km via the German rail and bus system. It wasn’t easy but it was the moment I knew the world was out there waiting to be explored.

There weren’t any parts of the trip I would take back, but nobody looks forward to long layovers and cramped flights. However, it was a great time to work on my online class back at EKU.

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

A - Professionally speaking, my study abroad experience provided me with a unique environment to learn and develop ideas from other cultures and backgrounds. It has developed my global awareness or citizenship which will have multiple benefits as I pursue a career with a global or multinational company.

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

A - ​I would highly recommend all CBT students study abroad, regardless of major. Business is becoming globalized on all levels and the importance of a global perspective or ‘bigger picture’ thinking is very important. Additionally, immersing yourself in a foreign environment and becoming comfortable with the uncomfortable is valuable both professionally and in everyday life.

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

A - ​Jennifer White is the study abroad coordinator, she is a great starting place for tons of information. Also, Dr. Lana Carnes is a great resource as well and can help you with issues specific to the CBT, such as how credits will transfer back.

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

A - Brush up on the foreign language, even just a little. You don’t need to be fluent to get around in a foreign place, but knowing a few key words and phrases will definitely help. Secondly, listen! You’re only there for a short time; absorb the culture, the people, the ideas, and consciously reflect on the significance of all these things. 

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 is something I definitely plan to market to employers. If nothing else, the trip is a talking point where I can highlight my experience and the benefits it brings to the workplace. The networking advantages are incredible, I’ve added tons of contacts that will soon be in the professional world and there is no telling how our paths may cross again.

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 and Global Supply chain Management. 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 September 20, 2015