While many University of Delaware students are at home relaxing during winter break, some are spending the six weeks learning about other cultures and studying abroad. Through January and February, we will be featuring some of those students here on the blog. We’ll be interviewing students studying in France, England, Spain, China, and Australia… just to list a few. Their experiences and adventures not only help them develop professional skills useful for their careers, but also gives them a taste of what other cultures are like around the globe.
This week, meet Andrea. A senior marketing major and advertising minor at the University of Delaware, Andrea is studying in Thailand and Australia for the next few weeks. Read our interview with her below to learn more about the trip, the program, adventures Andrea’s had so far, and her first experience at a floating market!
Studying abroad or know someone who is? Email Keri at firstname.lastname@example.org to be featured on the blog!
Expected year of graduation: Spring 2014
Where are you studying abroad? Thailand and Australia
What made you want to apply to this study abroad trip?
Studying abroad has been on my bucket list for college since day 1 and I decided I wanted to do it in my senior year. The Thailand/Australia trip jumped out to me because I have heard nothing but wonderful things about both places from friends who have traveled there. Also, the course descriptions for the International Marketing and International Finance courses we would be taking appealed to me and I thought that learning about these topics in another country would be a priceless experience.
We have only been here about a week so far, but we have already seen so many awesome things! My favorite part so far was going to the floating markets. Thailand is famous for these markets where you sit in a boat and someone leads you through these passages where people have set up shops in houses along the river or in boats. If you see something you want to buy, you motion to it and your boat driver leads you over to it and you bargain for it. It was a really cool cultural experience and I had never seen anything like it before!
What is one thing you have learned through the experience so far that you could take with you into the workforce (whether career or internship)?
One thing I have learned so far is the importance of learning about how people from other cultures do business and the importance of knowing your target markets’ needs and wants. For example, the other day we visited Ford and got to tour their factory facilities and hear about how they do their jobs– from things such as how they treat their employees and what their work days look like to how they make market decisions based on the demands of their industry within Thailand. We have had many eye-opening experiences about how cultural differences play into how businesses are run and how they interact with each other.
I think the most challenging thing about studying abroad for me so far has been making sure I know the Thai culture and what is appropriate and inappropriate to do. Sometimes things might seem surprising or confusing, but I have found it to be crucial to ask questions in order to learn more and make sure I am interacting appropriately with the Thai people and culture. It is so important to make sure you are respecting the culture you are in and doing all you can to soak up as much information about it as possible. When I get back to UD, I plan on using what I am learning here to interact more with people from the many diverse cultures that are represented within our university and share with others the importance of having a more global mindset.
Learn and explore as much as possible! Our schedule is filled with a lot to do which is exciting because we have gotten to experience so many different things and have been able to get a good picture of what the Thai culture is like. Even though it can get exhausting, we keep reminding ourselves that we are abroad and that we want to see and experience as much as possible. Another piece of advice is to try to learn things about the culture before you come so you are prepared to handle the differences. Surround yourself with like-minded people and meet people from the culture in order to get an inside perspective. Finally, take advantage of every opportunity and soak in as much as possible!
Want to follow Andrea’s experience abroad? Andrea is a UD Social Media Ambassador and her twitter handle is @BlueHenAndrea. She’s also a UD Study Abroad Ambassador and her and her group’s blog is http://thaiaus2014.tumblr.com. Her group has also made a hashtag for their journey, which is #ThaiAUS2014.
Social Media Marketing Intern
University of Delaware Career Services