November 11, 2013

Studying Business Abroad

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Hamline students have many opportunities to participate in high-impact learning experiences, among them are study abroad programs which allow students to travel to another area of the country or world to take college classes. One such student, Hamline School of Business undergraduate Alia Abboud ’15, is currently studying in Nice, France. Abboud is double majoring in international business and music at Hamline, with a minor in French.

“In France I am taking a combination of management, economics, and music courses,” Abboud said. “I wanted to come to the University of Nice because I knew I could take courses within both of my majors.”

As a Hamline School of Business undergraduate student, Abboud was able to apply for, and be awarded, the Holt Fellowship to help fund her trip. The fellowship is endowed by Ann E. Holt on behalf of her parents Darrel and Elizabeth Holt, both Hamline University alumni from the class of 1936. The fellowship is awarded to undergraduate and graduate students who have demonstrated, through academic pursuits, a commitment to deepening their understanding of global citizenry, increasing their multicultural competencies, and immersing themselves in the ideas, customs, and languages of other cultures. For Abboud, it is also the opportunity to accomplish a goal she’s had since grade school.

“Since I started studying French when I was in 6th grade, I have always wanted to go to France,” Abboud said. “In the United States I haven’t had too many opportunities to use my French knowledge outside of the classroom. Therefore, I decided to look for a program in which I could take classes in French and experience the culture firsthand.”

Abboud had an chance to meet Ann Holt during her stay in France and thank her personally for this life-changing opportunity.

“Since arriving in Nice, I have had many opportunities to spend time with Ann Holt and her husband Al, who were vacationing in Nice,” Abboud said. “ They adopted me into their lives for five weeks and introduced me to their friend circles. This was an invaluable way to see Nice through the eyes of a couple who know the city very well.”

Abboud says one of the most rewarding aspects of the experience is becoming fluent in the language and comfortably engaging in conversation with native speakers. Adapting to France’s culture has been one of the more interesting and challenging parts of Abboud’s study abroad experience, specifically the pace of a usual day in the United States versus France.

“I believe that in every part of France besides Paris, everything goes at a slower pace,” she explained, “For example, at any restaurant the waiter will not bring the bill until you ask for it. I am not used to spending more than an hour and a half at a restaurant for dinner, but here dinner could last for three hours.”

Overall, Abboud says studying in France has been a great experience and she believes that everyone should have an opportunity to immerse themselves in another culture.

“I think every American should have an international experience before they graduate from college,” she said. “No matter how long your voyage is, you will learn lessons of value. Studying abroad is not just to have fun and travel the world. It’s likely that you will go through times that are very difficult, but dealing with these challenges really builds your resilience and character.”

You can read more about about Abboud’s study abroad experience by reading her blog

For more information on Hamline’s study abroad programs and the School of Business, visit their websites.