This Fall I will be packing my bags, getting on a plane and flying to a country where English is not the first language. This fall I will be studying in Vienna, Austria at the University of Economics and Business. I decided to Study Abroad mainly because I wanted to gain perspective on how life works outside of my own personal sphere. I get this curiosity from my parents; they are the type to prefer experiences to gift giving. They believe that while most material gifts lose value, what you learn from other people’s cultures can always be valuable. With that, I also look forward to how this trip will help me grow as a Management Major. The opportunities to network and learn about financial markets in an international setting can also benefit me later in life. This is why I chose to leave this sunny paradise for a semester to see what its like to live in another country.

When asked about my trip, a lot of my friends ask me what how my classes will be taught, and if the classes might be tough. What they don’t realize is that that’s not the point. To me, I think the biggest lesson one can take away from this program will come in learning the differences and similarities of a different culture. There I expect to find myself thrust out of my comfort zone, fully immersed in a world I don’t understand in order to learn about myself, and my place in the world. Eventually becoming more open-minded and appreciative of how diverse the world can be, as well as building a work ethic that can be attractive to potential employers.

By taking classes in an international setting, I can learn skills that will help me differentiate myself from future competition. Skills that will help me become better equipped to handle unforeseeable obstacles that come with any type of management position. More specifically, dealing with a language barrier and the patience and the ability to place oneself in another’s shoes. I also imagine I will have to learn a certain level of resourcefulness if I want to get anything accomplished in a city that I am unfamiliar with. Part of this will come in networking and meeting new people. One of my goals for the next semester is to form good relationships with the other students in the program, and others that I meet at Vienna, so that I may have better visibility when the time comes to apply for jobs. I also hope to get the chance to learn about a foreign market and their advantages and disadvantages compared to us.

All in all, I cannot wait to see what this next semester holds for me. The Study Abroad program at UCF is giving me an awesome opportunity to expand my horizons and truly learn through experience. I plan on taking full advantage of everything the program offers and want to come back with a stronger pursuit of my goals.

Jacob Botsford

Management Student, UCF College of Business