Study Abroad

How to Study Abroad as a Business Major

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Caitlin Smyth
Topic Expert

Caitlin is an avid traveler with a passion for writing. During college, she studied abroad in Ireland where she fell in love with traveling and has made her way to seven countries.

How to Study Abroad as a Business Major
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Traveling abroad and business can go hand in hand.

A business survives by knowing what their customers want and need, and the best way to do that is by learning about their values and beliefs. Studying abroad provides you with countless opportunities to immerse yourself in different cultures. You’ll learn about many different peoples; not only from where you choose to study but also from all the people you’ll meet from around the world while you are traveling and sharing your views and experiences with. It is this exchange of ideas and exploring of the ways that you differ or may be similar that you can’t get by staying at home.

Studying abroad as a business major allows you to gain insight on international businesses as well as ones that are local to that specific area. You're able to gain an understanding about the differences in which business is conducted in diverse places and learn things that you may want to incorporate into a business that you either worked for or operate on your own. It opens your eyes to the many environments in which a business may be run and can be a great help to your career discovery if you keep an open mind.

Can I Study Abroad as a Business Major?

Yes, you definitely can study abroad as a business major. In fact, I strongly encourage it!

There are numerous colleges and universities abroad that offer many different business study abroad programs for you to choose from. I encourage you to research them and think about which educational track in business you are interested in pursuing.

Related: The Best Programs to Study Business Abroad

Most importantly studying abroad allows you to get a better understanding of a country's business culture. There are so many things that influence this including social norms, values, traditions, and cultural factors such as language. Traveling abroad, in general, is the best experience that you can get to learn. It is the most hands-on experience, especially if you get out of the major cities occasionally to see how people live in the countryside.

I studied abroad as a business major during my senior year of college. Before I left for my four months in Ireland, I looked at what required classes I still needed to graduate. I then compared them to what the school I was interested in going to was offering and I was able to take my required classes and even choose some electives that weren’t offered at my current college.

Since I don’t speak any languages fluently besides English, I made sure to go to an English-speaking country so that I could more easily observe the people and how they conducted their business.

How to Find a Good Business Study Abroad Program

How to Study Abroad as a Business Major: How to Find a Business Study Abroad Program
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Location is one of the most important factors in choosing a good business study abroad program.

Typically it is beneficial to study in or near a city. Most businesses are located in cities, and if you want the chance to observe, learn from, and possibly work with local businesses in your host country, that's where you'll need to be too.

Studying business abroad in a city will allow you to see how both the consumers and businesses interact. You’ll even be able to learn some different business practices that they have just by being a consumer. For example, studying abroad in Ireland showed me some of the differences between business cultures. From my experience, Ireland has a much more friendly and welcoming environment compared to the fast-paced environment of New York that I was used to.

While it's possible to study business abroad in a rural setting like a school that's not located in a major city, you should keep in mind that this may impact how much exposure you get to business practices in your host country.

The business habits and behaviors of your host country could also play a factor in your decision-making. For example, China or India have very different cultural norms and behaviors for consumers and businesses -- compared to each other or to North American business practices.

I also chose a place (Ireland) that I thought would suit me personally so that I would be able to meet other people and learn from their experiences, and dive further into their personal philosophies and the business customs that surrounded them.

Popular Destinations to Study Business Abroad

There are so many places that you can choose from; focusing on what will suit you best is crucial.

Whether it is a country that speaks a language that you are fluent in or not or if that country is highly advanced in technologies or not might affect your decision. Picking a place that a very successful businessperson has come from may be something else that you may want to take into consideration. For example, Elon Musk , the CEO of Tesla, is from South Africa and Sundar Pichai, the CEO of Google, is from India.

There are multiple countries that offer amazing educational experiences for business majors abroad. Countries like the China, Japan, and Germany are are well known for their business practices. For example, if you're interested in the auto industry, Japan and Germany would be a great choice due to their large influence and market share of the industry. Similarly, If you are interested in the entertainment or media business industry, China would be a great place to study due to their large growth in the industry.

While studying in Ireland I was able to explore their business practices and learn about new ways to conduct business as well as grow the knowledge I already had. Even though Ireland may not be one of the most well-known countries when you think of business, I was able to learn about some thriving Irish businesses such as Ryanair and Primark.

Think about what it is that you would like to get out of your experience and then research schools and countries that you are interested in to see if they can provide you with that experience.

Final Thoughts on Studying Business Abroad

How to Study Abroad as a Business Major: Final Thoughts
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Even after reading this information along with your additional research, wherever you choose to study business abroad you will be able to learn so much about different cultures and how they affect businesses. You will discover the differences in which they are operated and why; and what effect local influences or laws in that country have on their operation. Every country has their own way of doing things that may be different from where you are from or what you are accustomed to.

It’s important to remember that if you go into your study abroad experience with an open mindset, you will have an unforgettable experience. Going into this adventure with an eagerness to learn is so very important. Making the leap to study abroad is the first and most important step and once you make that leap, your experience will expand from the classroom to the entire world.