Carrie Agustin

Time Abroad Leads Students to Try Multiple International Experiences

Friday, October 25, 2019

Growing up, Luisa Resendiz and her family moved and traveled a lot, and it inspired her.

By the time she arrived on campus for her freshman year at the University of Minnesota, she had already visited six of the seven continents.

So when it came time to prepare for her International Experience at the Carlson School, the supply chain and entrepreneurship double major thought big: She wanted to do a full academic year abroad.

“I’ve always loved to travel. That was something that my parents instilled in me,” she says. “So when I had a few extra credits coming into college, I knew I wanted to study abroad and take a chance to explore the world.”

cgi year in review

For Resendiz, she originally had hoped to spend an entire academic year in Hong Kong at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) because of its world-renowned supply chain program. But since that was only offered for one semester, Resendiz took the opportunity to find a second program, and chose the Aalto Business School in Finland.

During her two programs, Resendiz says she learned a lot about herself, including how to be more self-reliant and self-confident.

“I found out that I was capable of doing a lot on my own,” she says. “When you’re overseas and by yourself, you have to look inward and rely on yourself.”

CGI works diligently to create an abroad experience that will have a lasting impact on each student, no matter the student's background or whether or not they have been overseas before.

“Our goal is always to help students find a program that is the best fit for their interests, goals, and readiness,” says Kirsten Canterbury, director of education abroad for CGI. “Students like Luisa coming in with previous international travel can build on those experiences by choosing a program with a longer duration, a less familiar cultural context, or a different language or academic environment.”

Carrie Agustin, an entrepreneurship management major, also went the extra mile and completed two international experiences in one academic year, spending her first semester in Korea and her second in Australia.

“When I talked to a lot of students, many of them said their biggest regret was either not going abroad at all or only going on a short abroad experience,” Agustin says. “I always want to live my life with no regrets so I jumped right in and made the most of my opportunity.”

The two experiences taught Agustin a lot about herself, she says. In Korea, she had to overcome the barrier of not understanding the language, whereas Australia was much more similar to life in the United States with a few cultural differences.

She says she learned to be independent throughout her time in both countries, a quality she plans to exercise for the rest of her life.

Stephen Drott
                               Stephen Drott in India for IBUS 5150

“It can be intimidating to go to a place where you know nobody and try to fit in,” she says. “But my time abroad affirmed a lot about myself and my willingness to always try something new.”

Students such as Resendiz and Agustin who complete multiple international experiences are rare. But some are so inspired by their time abroad that they want to take part in multiple programs. Stephen Drott, ’19 MBA, took full advantage of the international experiences offered throughout his time in the Carlson School’s part-time program. After his first education abroad experience for a practicum in Eastern Europe, he was hooked.

“I’ve always been internationally focused and loved to travel and explore,” Drott says. “In today’s business world, you can’t just have a U.S.- centric mindset.” Since then, Drott has traveled to take Carlson School classes in the Middle East, South America, Hong Kong and China, India, and Sweden with the Medical Industry Leadership Institute Valuation Lab. Without a cohort similar to that in the Full-Time MBA program, Drott’s international experiences helped him form relationships that he wouldn’t have developed in the traditional classroom.

“At times, it can be a lonely journey through the Part-Time MBA program, but going abroad really solidifies relationships,” he says. “These are experiences that you can’t recreate yourself and they’re so worth the time and investment.”

“We certainly don’t expect students to study abroad more than once as Carlson School students, but it’s really fun to see those like Stephen who value the experience so much that they want to do all the programs in our portfolio,” added Canterbury.

For those considering going abroad again or taking part in multiple international experiences, Resendiz has some simple advice: go for it. “Don’t think too much about it and do it,” she says. “You learn so much about yourself and what you’re capable of. College is one of the only times when you can go abroad for a long period of time. Take advantage of that and make the most of your opportunity.”