During my time spent at Osaka University of Economics, I was afforded the opportunity
to participate in a graduate level business course conducted in Japanese that was
geared towards applicable problem solving in the work environment. What made this
class so interesting was that my other classmates were working individuals who were
participating in order to solve issues within their own workplaces. The goal of the
course was to allow students to take a step back and view their relative companies
from a new perspective so as to potentially identify and correct the issues at hand.
Interacting with these individuals provided excellent insight into the Japanese corporate
environment and the approach to business in an unfamiliar setting. In the fall, once
I began my internship at Nikkou Shoukai Corporation, I was able to solidify in my
own mind and apply what I had previously learned in the classroom.
My absolute favorite thing about studying abroad is being able to do things that you
can't do in the United States or you will never, ever have the opportunity to do again.
I stepped out of my comfort zone while we were in Peru when I agreed to trek the Cordilleras
Blancas with my roommates. Sure I have hiked and camped before, but never "trekked"
per say. When I signed up to trek the Santa Cruz, I signed up for a 4 day/3 night
adventure with 5 fellow trekkers, a guide, a cook and a donkey driver. The Santa Cruz
is a trail that goes through the Andes with the highest point at Punta Union which
is 4,750 meters above sea level, or 15,617 feet. To put it into perspective, the highest
peak of the Smoky Mountains is Clingman's Dome which is 6,643 feet. Wow. Overall,
it was around 31 miles in those three days at incredibly high altitudes. It was one
of the hardest yet most amazing things that I have ever done in my whole life. I have
never been so disconnected with civilization to where I could enjoy the outdoors and
soak in the beauty all around me. The star and sunset were like I have never seen
them before. Additionally, our guides and travel companions were amazing. We were
a diverse group made up of Americans, Germans, British, Peruvians and Norwegians.
We learned a lot about each other and our unique cultures during our long treks during
the day. It was a once in a lifetime experience that I will never forget.
Saying that living in Peru was an eye-opening experience would be an understatement.
I spent the first few weeks adjusting to the everyday aspects of life, like truly
immersing myself into the language, working to obtain my geographical bearings of
the neighborhood, and learning how to fit my life into one backpack. Once the initial
shock of the new life kicked in, I was able to focus on learning about the culture,
not only at face value for the noticeable differences, but the underlying reasons
for the differences. Traveling to Cusco and Machu Picchu, incredible areas left behind
by the Incan Empire, reminded me of the fact that the United States is so young. Cusco
is a city that is sprinkled with people dressed in traditional garb and it was impossible
not to feel the pride exuding from each local that passed by. They wore their colorful
patterns with honor, and know that the tourists appreciate the historic culture. Having
the opportunity to strengthen my knowledge of the Spanish language and culture was
the main reason I chose to join the International MBA Program at the University of
Memphis. My semester in Peru is unforgettable and made me even more consumed by wanderlust.
Coming from India, I definitely have many different experiences in this country.
It is pointless making comparisons between any two nations as there will be differences
in almost everything. I would say it has been a good journey for me in Memphis so
far and I had a chance to work in International Paper. The business culture is indeed
very different from where I come from. The people, their style of communication, their
habits and outlook towards their work is way too different from that of in India.
People here are very professional and like to get things done well before the deadline.
In International Paper, they value each and every employee and everybody is treated
with equal respect. Everyone was so friendly and polite. Their company motto is “People,
Customers and Operational Excellence”. This explains a lot about the work culture
I think people overall are very well organized and usually punctual to work. In fact
they prefer to come in early just so they have enough time to organize their day.
I rarely see anybody coming in late even for their meetings.
I’d like to say it’s important for everybody to travel abroad, study and learn different
cultures. It is important not just for success but for overall personality growth.
“To say in the least, my internship was a fantastic, eye-opening experience. At NTT
West I assisted Sales and Marketing professionals by greeting clients, developing
ideas for growth, improving the foreign tourism sector, and presenting an informative
presentation in Japanese. During my internship, I traveled to many famous historical
places and experienced many fine cultural points of the Osaka area. I was able to
meet many professionals in various industries as well as experience and learn a great
deal about Japanese organizations in general. I also conducted a major social research
project where I interviewed over 500 women employees and studied their stress and
job satisfaction levels in comparison to many working women in the United States.
This was truly an amazing and inspiring three months. Everyone treated me well, much
like family, and helped me whenever I was unsure of myself or needed assistance with
anything. Not once did anyone make me feel unwelcomed or embarrassed. This internship
was an awesome and excellent experience that has enriched me and made me so much stronger.”
“When I went to study abroad in Germany this Summer, I was fairly certain about what
to expect since I had lived in Germany before, although I had never actually studied
at a German university before. University life in Germany is vastly different from
what it is here. Although there is no student housing on campus, student involvement
with the university seems to be much greater than that of typical universities in
the States. I think part of this fact may be due to the overall lower level of workload
in German courses. German professors, in general, are very lax about attendance to
their courses and rarely assign homework or papers throughout the semester. This is
deceptive, however, because the final exam/project required at the end of every course
is extremely demanding. I found this out the hard way (though my grades were still
good in the end) with my last two weeks being extremely stressful. My study abroad
experience in Ingolstadt was overall very rewarding. It helped introduce me to that
aspect of German culture to which I had very little exposure throughout my previous
study abroad experiences.