Alumni Spotlight: Anna Liljas

Anna is currently a junior at California Lutheran University majoring in Business Administration and Music. She loves to travel and has traveled to Europe for both her majors and participated in a semester abroad in Australia!

Why did you choose this program?

I chose IBS's Summer Europe seminar, because it allowed me to travel multiple European countries and meet with several internationally known businesses.

In the beginning, I thought studying abroad was out of the question, and IBS offered the perfect solution. Plus, I received college credit for the seminar.

What did your program provider assist you with, and what did you have to organize on your own?

I dealt directly with International Business Seminars when it came to making the payments for the trip and arranging travel details. However, my university offered a class once a week to familiarize our group with the cities and businesses we would be visiting.

What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?

Travel light and be prepared! I ordered some foreign currency before leaving the country and that proved very useful. Also, bring comfy walking shoes and a water-proof jacket. Make sure to have travel adapters for your electrical devices (European and UK adapters are different!).

What does an average day/week look like as a participant of this program?

An average week with IBS consists of huge breakfasts at the hotel followed by a business meeting or city tour, followed by a couple hours of free time to explore the area.

Some days are completely on your own, while others are filled with meetings and driving to new destinations. Every day is a little different, which makes this seminar so fun.

Going into your experience abroad, what was your biggest fear, and how did you overcome it and/or how did your views on the issue change?

My biggest fear, was being with a group of 31 people I didn't know. That fear was squashed the very first day, because everyone was super friendly and outgoing.

Every place we went, our hotel roommates changed, so we had the opportunity to meet new people. Every city had something new to offer, and I always found a group of people to go explore with.

Is a business seminar completely about business?

Yes, and no! IBS takes you to fun places as well as more serious meeting places. In Germany we toured a brewery and were able to taste all the different beers! In Italy we had a wine tasting at a winery after touring the grounds. Plus, usually after the meeting the whole day is free.

We went white water rafting in Innsbruck, hiked up in the Alps, went horseback riding in Verona, experienced Disneyland Paris, rode the London Eye, and more.

There is so much to do abroad, and everyone experiences this trip a little differently. It is most definitely one of the best trips I've ever taken. You learn so much about other countries and how international businesses operate. Plus, I had a bunch of fun and made a lot of friends!