Study Abroad Matters: Be Open,Take Chances

Elizabeth Heisler recently  graduated from St. Thomas with a double major in human resources management and business communications and a minor in communications and journalism. She now works for Target as a sales floor executive team leader. This post is the story of one experience--a particular class--which helped lead her on her current path.

The summer before my senior year I took the Management 480 class abroad. We spent time in London, England where we also took a cultural immersion class. Then we journeyed to Cork, Ireland. I had never been out of the country before and was both nervous and excited about the adventure. But, from playing bat-n-trap (a sort of cross between baseball, cricket and trap-shooting) with the locals at a 300-year-old pub to kissing the Blarney stone, this experience was one of a kind and my only regret is that I did not participate in more study abroad opportunities.

I was completely surprised that these experiences made me want to live in another country and open myself to a world of opportunities, people and cultures. This was something I had never considered before I went abroad.It had such a powerful impact on me today, in both my career and current outlook. I am more globally-minded; I actively sought companies which offer positions abroad. Fortunately, Target does! I have also considered continuing my education and working towards an international masters degree in business administration.

I have a greater understanding of what it means to live in a borderless world. I am interested in other cultures and experiencing new things. Instead of fearing the unknown, I reflect on my study abroad experience for motivation to take on the unknown.

Any student who is considering studying abroad, my advice is “be open and be willing to take chances.” Enjoy every moment and every person you meet. Take everything in. Amazing experiences will turn into unforgettable memories.