Whether you're a business major or just interested in broadening your knowledge of the global world, studying abroad can be a great opportunity to learn both cultural and business practices you won't get back home.
Taking classes in business while abroad can help you meet either general education or graduation requirements, and give you applicable knowledge for any profession down the line.
The greatest part about studying business -- at home or abroad -- is that there are so many areas within business that upon which you can focus your education. Here are a few to get you started:
Studying abroad and International Business go hand in hand; where better to learn the nuances of global business than somewhere around the world? International Business can cover everything from working with multi-national corporations and international non-government organizations to mergers, acquisitions, and trade agreements.
An important part of every organization, management skills and techniques are crucial to your education in business. Business administration may vary by country, and studying management while abroad will give you a great diversity of these nuances. You'll come back well-rounded if you can synthesize the different management styles from each culture into your future career.
Finance & Accounting
For the most part, financial practices are similar across countries, but studying finance while abroad can give you insight into the particular practices of different companies. While you hopefully won't experience creative bookkeeping or unsavory accounting practices, there are plenty of opportunities to improve your financial business acumen.
In this hyper-connected world, entrepreneurs and startups are blossoming all over the globe. If you want to learn about entrepreneurship in business, studying abroad is a great way to have unique experiences and learn lessons you can translate when you come back from studying abroad. The pressures of starting up a company in Delhi are very different than in London, and both differ from Silicon Valley. Learning and appreciating these differences can give you a competitive edge if you ever become an entrepreneur yourself.
While the theoretical foundations of marketing may stay the same, marketing is wildly different in each country. Studying marketing abroad will give you unique insights into consumer mindset for your host country, as well as in any countries you study. Being able to place yourself in the mind of your customer is an advantage, no matter where in the world you end up pursuing a career.
Where to go
South & Central America
Historically, business practices in South and Central America haven't had the best reputation, but there are wonderful options available now for students who want to study business in the region. Whether it's diving deep into Argentine culture while learning how colonial roots impact business in the new democracy, or immersing yourself in Costa Rica's unique "green" business practices, this part of the world has plenty to teach business students.
Studying business in Europe offers a unique blend of perspectives. Western European countries such as France or Ireland are similar in business practices to the United States, whereas you may get a somewhat different experience learning how to not rush negotiations in Mediterranean countries like Spain or Greece.
Asia & Oceania
Lumping these two regions together doesn't mean they are similar in business practices! The diversity you'll get by studying business in the eastern hemisphere will vary as much as the cultures between each country.
Whether it's learning to navigate the bureaucracy of Chinese government and its impact on business, or how distance and time affect practices in New Zealand, your educational opportunities are limited only by your eagerness to learn.
Planning your trip
For most programs, housing will be included as part of your cost of enrollment. The actual accommodations can vary between dorms or homestays, but you should be prepared to share a room or your living space (unless you want to pay for a single, in addition to your other costs).
Typically, business study abroad programs are completed as part of an ongoing degree -- such as a Bachelor's or Master's degree -- and scholarships will be available to support the cost of tuition. Your home institution will likely have some recommendations on general study abroad scholarships you qualify for, and there are a variety of other resources you can search to find ones to apply for.
Choosing a program
When planning your study abroad program, be sure to keep in mind when some countries take holidays from business -- such as parts of Europe taking most of the month of August off for summer holidays. The last thing you'll want to do is arrive just on time for your mentors and instructors to head to the beach.
Additionally, be sure to review the programs you're interested in to ensure they provide either a holistic or specialized business education in line with your goals. Some programs may not teach all the different parts of business that you want to learn, but this should be spelled out in the program materials before you apply.
As a business major, you may want to pack one or two "recruiting" outfits in addition to your daily, weather-friendly ensemble. Whether you're attending a networking event, interviewing for an overseas internship, or even applying for a business club at your host university, a tailored, professional outfit will help make a good impression on your peers.
Generally, you'll want to match your suit jacket and bottoms by color and style; for example, don't mix pinstripes with solids, and don't wear a navy blue jacket with black trousers. Stick to conservative colors, patterns, and silhouettes, and make sure to find an outfit combination that is sleek but comfortable. There's nothing worse than standing for three hours at a job fair in shoes you haven't broken in!
Don't forget to print out a few copies of your CV or resume, just in case!
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