by Chelsea Balderston
At Rady, we believe that one of the best ways to make the most out of your undergraduate experience at UC San Diego is to participate in the Study Abroad Program. Both culturally and educationally enriching, studying abroad provides lifelong benefits that shape people, both personally and professionally. Not only are students able to earn major and minor credit, but studying abroad allows students to gain international perspective by giving them the opportunity to explore new topics and partake in new experiences. It also enables students to acquire new language skills, as well as meet and network with people from all over the world.
In the undergraduate department, we encourage students to study abroad whenever possible, as it is a unique and rare opportunity that is often most feasible during the college years. We also love to hear about students’ experiences and almost always receive extremely positive feedback about their time abroad.
We sat down to talk with undergraduate student, Avi Kabani, to ask him some questions about his experience studying abroad. Here’s what he had to say:
Q: Where did you study and why did you choose your destination?
I studied in Brighton, England at the University of Sussex during the summer of 2012. I chose the University of Sussex because of the location on the English countryside and the business classes they offered. I truly felt like I was centered around a lot of old British culture, which made me feel very excited and thrilled. Also, the old castles were amazing.
Q: What business classes did you take at the University of Sussex?
I took a Marketing Strategy class and an Entrepreneurship class. The marketing strategy class dealt with applying high level marketing theories to businesses today. The Entrepreneurship class dealt with famous entrepreneurs who started their own successful businesses. I gained a lot of insight into how these business people thought and how they implemented their ideas into their own businesses. For example Kevin O’Leary, star of the hit show Shark Tank and Dragon’s Den, used aggressive business practices to really push himself and his first business called SoftKey to be the number one educational software company in the world.
Q: Did you find it difficult to acclimate to a new culture?
For the first couple of weeks I had a difficult time trying to get a feel for the areas and locations around me. After I found a niche group of friends, it became a lot easier to go out and meet locals. The more locals we met, the more we understood British culture and the history and background behind the things in the city.
Q: What were some of the biggest differences between the University of Sussex and UCSD?
The major difference between UCSD and Sussex was the amount of homework. My classes were each only 4 weeks long, so there was a lot of work crushed into a short period of time. I was doing homework every day for 5-6 hours plus studying and meeting up with other students to work on group projects. In terms of teaching style, it was also very different. The professors were much more strict and engaging. For example, my teacher for my global marketing class would always question our answers and make us think about it in a different way.
Q: What sort of insight do you feel you’ve gained studying business from a different world view?
I’ve now understood that people are different. Everyone comes from a different home, has different life experiences, and even conducts business differently. Sussex really taught me that no matter how different people are, there is always a common ground somewhere that can help connect two people together. This has helped me in my own education, current internship, and future career.
Q: Did you take any interesting trips or excursions?
I toured basically all of England and went to France. I visited museums, breweries, gardens, castles, mansions, and the Downton Abbey show set. It was amazing!
Q: Do you feel like your experience abroad has better equipped you for life after college (job market, grad school, etc.)?
I would say 100% yes. The Professors have worked a full professional career and have a lot of wonderful experience to share. Asking them questions and hearing their thoughts on business has really expanded the way I think about business issues today.
Q: Do you have any tips for those interested in studying abroad?
Bring a towel. Just kidding! Be open with your study abroad experience. Allow things to affect you and change you so you can better understand how people live halfway around the world.