Unique Class Experience

There are a lot of different programs that you can choose from for study abroad.  I think it will be beneficial for you to read over my unique program.  This past summer, I studied abroad in the Netherlands.  My program was hosted by Maastricht University, ranked in the top 100 for the best universities in the world by Forbes.

My classes were unique, one was an economics class with a focus in culture and case studies.  In order for this mix to work, the class took me from the Netherlands, to Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg, France, and England.  We visited some of the biggest companies in the world and were able to ask them all kinds of questions.

Some of these company visits included the headquarters of Bayer and Bayer, Google, and Deloitte Consulting (more is listed at the bottom of the post).  We got to see the culture and operations that these companies implemented; which made me decide that I would love to incorporate a European environment for teams to thrive in.  I think the way that teams work over there is inspiring.  All of the desks face each other, there are lounges for the team members to eat together, Google had a board game room for their employees to play and share ideas in.  Almost every company provided some type of entertainment and health center to their employees, which I think improves moral for everyone.

While in these countries I also had the opportunity to talk with local artisans in Paris, walk in the tunnels under Maastricht City in the Netherlands, swim in Zurich Lake in Switzerland, have a champagne tasting at Pommery Champagne in Reims, France, along with so many other incredible experiences.

When we were back from the study tour, I took a class in leadership and management that focused on how to become an interdependent person.  It made me question how I view leadership, and it showed me the difference between leadership and management.  Leaders turn followers into leaders, managers make sure operations are going efficiently, and there is a huge difference between the two.  Once I got back to the States, I took another managmenet class, which does not preach these same topics.  It is really interesting to see the difference between what they teach leaders over in Europe compared to what they teach here.  Europe was 10/10 and I cannot wait until my next adventure abroad.  See the list below to see all the cities I visited:

  • Leverkusen, Germany (Bayer and Bayer Headquarters)
  • Cologne, Germany (Weekend trip: Chocolate Museum, Museum Ludwig)
  • Luxembourg City, Luxembourg (Central Bank of Luxembourg)
  • Brussels, Belgium (Grayling Consulting and the American Chamber of Commerce to the European Union)
  • Brugge, Belgium (Canal tour)           
  • Reims, France (Pommery Champagne House)
  • Strasbourg, France (European Union Parliament)
  • Paris, France (Edgar Quinet, The Lourve, The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development or the OECD, and Musée d’Orsay)
  • London, UK (Tate Modern Art Museum, Google Headquarters, and the UK Parliament)
  • Scheveningen/The Hague, Netherlands (Port of Rotterdam and American Embassy Visit)                                    
  • Amsterdam, Netherlands (Amsterdam Stock Exchange and Deloitte Consulting)
  • Zaanse Schans, Netherlands
  • Maastricht, Netherlands (School)
  • Zurich, Switzerland (Weekend Trip: Boat tour, river swimming)  This is also where I had my favorite meal out of the whole trip, Fondue at Le Dézaley. 

5 Helpful Apps for Traveling

When abroad there were some apps I wish I had known about while I had Wi-Fi back in the States. The apps listed in this post will be incredibly beneficial to you because they will minimize your stress levels and allow you to transition more easily into the culture you are about to immerse yourself in. I recommend you download these before your departure, because Wi-Fi is not always easy to find abroad.

1. Travel app for the company you book your flight with
Download the app of whichever company you buy your flights with. Usually these apps will have your flight ticket already downloaded on them, this makes the flight process less stressful.

2. Google Translate:
This app comes in handy when you are reading signs, menus, or trying to understand what products to by at the grocery. You just hold your phones camera over a piece of text and it will transform the words in front of your eyes – no data required! If you do not know the native language of whatever country you are going to, or plan on traveling to many countries with different languages, Google Translate is a must, there is not way around it.

3. Maps.me
You will get lost without this app, no question. This offers a downloadable map for virtually any city or place you may visit. It will include restaurants, and can tell you the quickest route to use to get somewhere you need! No data required, but it eats up battery power like no other!

4. XE Currency
It is likely that you may have to bum some money off of others, or the other way around while abroad. A lot of places only take cash, and ATMs are scare, so this happened to me A LOT. XE Currency easily converts any type of currency into another with the exchange rates applied – so you will be able to Venmo your friend the amount you need to, or they can send you the funds you loaned them.

5. Travelex / Travelex Card
Travelex made it easy for me to convert USD into euros. The card acts as a prepaid debit card and you can convert USD into any type of currency you need (except the Swiss Franc.) You can get this card at virtually any airport, and the process is pretty quick and easy. Just watch out for the fees once you get back!

If you get these apps, you will have an easier transition into whichever country you go to. Other students on my trip showed me these and it was honestly life changing. Be sure to clear out old pictures or unused apps, it is important to have memory so that you can document your trip and have room for these very important apps on your trip. Even though these apps will reduce problems you have while abroad, be sure to welcome mistakes and take away lessons from these. The trips you will embark on will test your independence, and you will learn a lot from those experiences.