As a Wharton student, I have had several opportunities to contextualize my business studies with international experiences. For example, my freshman year, I traveled to South Africa and Botswana as part of a Wharton International Program, and this upcoming winter break, I am traveling to Rwanda to participate in a Global Modular Course with a group of Wharton MBA students. My favorite experience through Penn came my junior year, when I had the opportunity to spend six months studying abroad in Barcelona, Spain. I chose to study abroad in Spain based on my interest in advancing my language skills. The semester abroad was also a fantastic opportunity for me to get a fresh perspective from living, studying and working in another culture. The new mindset I gained from living in another country greatly enhanced my academic experience.
The program that I attended was through the College of Arts and Sciences at Penn, and it allowed me to take five liberal arts classes at Pompeu Fabra University and University of Barcelona. I chose to take classes on comparative law (EU vs. United States), 16th Century Spanish literature, Catalan history and culture, surrealist art, and an internship seminar. The last class allowed me to intern with Yahoo! part time alongside a weekly seminar on inter-cultural differences in the workplace, which was a perfect way to balance my interest in studying business within the liberal arts program. I also volunteered as an assistant teacher at a local high school, teaching English classes about three times per week. My volunteer experience and interacting with the local students as well as my liberal arts courses helped me to better understand the culture and history of the city that I lived in.
Overall, studying abroad was a wonderful way for me to understand firsthand the importance of having a global perspective and an understanding of distinct cultures as a businessperson. Although my program was strictly liberal arts focused, I feel that the experience as a whole greatly enhanced my business education. I look forward to my next international adventure with Wharton to further broaden my global perspective.