The Challenge and the Opportunity of 3 Study Abroad Trips

When Evening UST MBA student Molly Brusman will graduate this summer she will have taken complete advantage of the study abroad options offered in the program. In 2010, she traveled to London to study risk leadership, this past J-Term she went to Hong Kong to learn about global financial services and next month she departs for Belgium, Germany and Luxembourg to round out her experience studying business, law and ethics in the European Union.

Brusman, who started her degree in the fall of 2008, has a concentration in management. As an RN and a patient care manager at Allina Hospitals she manages two clinical units and leads a team of nurses.

"I jumped at the opportunity to travel for the cultural experience and because it was a different way to complete a class," she said. "Normally you work all day and you're tired coming into class. With a study abroad, you devote all of your focus and energy to the trip."

In London Molly noticed the energetic business culture and gained an appreciation for the history of business at Lloyds of London, where the insurance industry was born. "I could see the traces of early business practices even in today’s high-tech world," she said.

The cultural experience was worthwhile too. "London really was a fashion show, everyone seemed well dressed. We also noticed little differences: how businesspeople feel free to have a beer with lunch, and of course tea breaks twice a day."


Hong Kong provided an in interesting comparison and contrast of lifestyles. "The city is super advanced technologically-speaking yet you see tradesmen and fishermen on the harbor carrying on centuries-old jobs," said Brusman. " That city never sleeps. For us at nine, everything closes, in Hong Kong they haven’t even thought about what’s for dinner yet."

The trips are "not just a walk in the park," Brusman says. "Participation is required and you have to show what you have learned. Professors have high expectations." For her upcoming trip to Brussels, there is a lot of advance work to complete.

Molly is taking it in stride though. "Study abroad is a great way to connect with your classmates and cohort." She is planning events outside of the course to meet her future travel companions. "While traveling you get to know each other quickly, and can form a much deeper connection than in a normal group project."

For 2012, UST has added a fourth study abroad trip to Berlin, Germany focusing on comparative international finance. Though she intends to graduate this summer, with only one elective left, perhaps Brusman will hold off until that final J-Term to sneak in one more trip.