Students Share Thoughts on International Experiences Here, Abroad

By Lacey Hinsa, Katie Madsen, Kim Morris, Angie Peters

The world seems to be getting smaller every day as students become more connected to other countries and cultures. UW-Eau Claire has over 150 international students studying abroad here every semester. While UW-Eau Claire students are not required to study abroad, some schools, including the University, are considering adding an international experience as a requirement for graduation.

Business students can learn about the field in the United States and in other countries. Many study abroad to broaden international business skills and learn the different cultural business practices through classes and interaction with other students.

So, why do students from countries with sandy beaches and palm trees come to a city with four seasons, three of which are cold? Many focus on the College of Business accreditation as their reason for coming to UW-Eau Claire.

Jing Wang, a junior from China studying finance said, I chose to come here because of the accredited business program, not because of the state or size.

Like Wang, Anita Leerskov, a management student from Odense, Denmark chose the College of Business for similar reasons.

I looked at the courses offered and the business accreditation before deciding what school I wanted to commit to, she said.

Study Abroad Coordinator at the Center for International Education Colleen Marchwick said, UW-Eau Claire is a great institution with great professors, service learning opportunities, and student collaborative research at the undergrad level. All these factors, she said, contribute to international students picking this college as their study abroad destination.

The international students studying here said that there differences in the education process. University education systems in many other countries are quite different than in the United States. Don Gurante, a junior accounting major from Sri Lanka who studied in a British education system before coming to the United States, said that Sri Lanka schools have one big exam at the end of the term where as in the United states there are quizzes, exams, papers and homework given throughout the term.

The work load is greater in the United States, he said.

Leerskov said this is also true for Danish universities too. In Denmark, there is one big exam at the end of the semester and you dont even need to attend the class as long as you pass the final exam, she said.

Learning about different cultures and business practices is also part of studying abroad as many international students have found.

Compared to Sri Lanka, Gurante said business is conducted informally in the United States. In my country, employees address their supervisors formally at all times. Here I can call my boss by his first name, he said.

UW-Eau Claire, which is ranked 14th in the nation for study abroad, has a very diverse campus filled with students who have studied abroad, are studying abroad right now or plan to in the future. Meagan Lowenberg, a senior accounting major who studied in Florence, Italy said she enjoys talking with international students studying at UW-Eau Claire.

I want to make sure it is a great experience for them because I had the time of my life (studying abroad). Not only was it fun, it was educational and an excellent decision for my future career, she said.

Lacey Hinsa Katie Madsen Kim Morris Angela Peters

Lacey Hinsa, far left, is a senior marketing major from Tomahawk, WI Katie Madsen, middle, is a senior public relations major and marketing minor from Watertown, WI Kim Morris,right, is a senior accounting major from Cottage Grove, WI Angie Peters, far right, is a senior public relations major from Appleton, WI. They wrote this article for their BCOM Advanced Business Commuincation.

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