Worldly Experience: Studying Across Cultures

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Two students share their study abroad experience.

As study abroad grows in popularity, we thought it would be a good time to check in with a couple of students to see how their experiences have impacted them.

Kathryn Danielson, Fifth year Operations and Systems Management

Studied in Spain

Kathryn Danielson

Why did you study abroad?

I wanted to go abroad mainly because I haven’t had an internship experience. I’m entering my senior year, and I needed something that would set my résumé apart from other individuals applying for jobs. I love to travel, and in high school I went to Italy. As a business student, having experiences outside of the US is important, and understanding the global market is critical since it affects everything around us.

What did you experience?

I took a class in international management and completed a weeklong field study in Madrid. My class was much smaller than others I have had at Michigan Tech and was very hands-on. Our professor took us to businesses in Spain, and we saw how they managed their operations, what daily functions they fulfilled, etc. We also went to an entrepreneurship convention that provided me with an insight on how people would start a business in Spain.

What was the best part of your trip?

Two things really made my trip amazing: meeting different people and experiencing a culture and country that I’m not normally exposed to. Being a UP native, I haven’t had much exposure to large cities. It was eye-opening to experience various cities across Spain and view the culture and its people from a different perspective.

Would you study abroad again?

I would definitely find another international experience, if I wasn’t entering my senior year. I loved the area, made a lot of friends, and I look forward to returning someday for a visit!

Eli Karttunen, Fourth year Economics Major

Studied in Germany

Eli Karttunen 

Why did you study abroad?

Studying abroad allowed me to see how economics and finance courses are taught from a European perspective. Also, to take classes with foreign professors and students gives you a large networking advantage, as well as the chance to work in multicultural teams, all of which are invaluable experiences for graduate school, as well as later in life. All too often, it seems that economics has the potential of being taught from a politically skewed or nationalistic point of view, so understanding how Germans view different economic theories or events like the European Sovereign Debt Crisis was appealing.

What did you experience?

The first part of the program was a course on German language, culture, and business, which is designed to not only give the US students a working vocabulary and knowledge of German language and grammar, but also to provide insight to German culture and political institutions. Students present on a variety of topics and have to write a paper by the end of the program. I presented on “The German Banking Sector” and “The German Social Security System.” So far, the difference has been that homework and projects aren’t that big in German education. It’s all about the exam grade. In fact, for university classes, you don’t actually register for them here, you just attend the lectures you want, memorize the note packet the professor sends out, and you register for exams and take them. Nothing else is graded.

What was the best part of your trip?

The best part of the trip is simply being in Europe and being able to travel around and experience the culture. So far, we’ve been to Hannover, Hamburg, Amsterdam, Berlin, and Luneburg. With travel plans to Rotenburg, Munich, Heidelberg, and Helsinki the capital of the land of my ancestry in Finland.

Would you study abroad again? Would you go somewhere new or to the same location?

Study abroad is an invaluable experience in many ways: academically, professionally, personally, and socially. You learn of new ideas, new ways of doing things, and meet tons of people you’d otherwise never have known. I definitely would do it again, given the opportunity. Germany is a great place, and I’m sure I’ll return someday, perhaps for work—I’d definitely need to learn more German first—but for sure for vacation some day. But in order to see other places around the globe, I’d probably want to check out somewhere new!

Michigan Technological University is a public research university founded in 1885 in Houghton, Michigan, and is home to more than 7,000 students from 55 countries around the world. Consistently ranked among the best universities in the country for return on investment, Michigan’s flagship technological university offers more than 120 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in science and technology, engineering, computing, forestry, business and economics, health professions, humanities, mathematics, social sciences, and the arts. The rural campus is situated just miles from Lake Superior in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, offering year-round opportunities for outdoor adventure.

Last Modified 11:59 AM, May 23, 2023