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Student Perspectives

Many of our Global Studies students have taken the time to share their experiences from abroad in our publication Global Currents. Below are links to student articles about their journeys abroad.
  • Emily Jansen, a May 2009 Global Studies: Global Security graduate asks "Can a person outside of the culture in which they work find ways to contribute meaningfully to regional social justice movements, or will there always be a gap in outsiders' understanding of the issues at hand and their capacity to help?" in the Spring 2009 issue of Global Currents.
  • Christine Brownfield, a December 2008 Global Studies: Global Communications graduate, shares her overseas internship experience in the Fall 2008 Global Currents issue. Christine interned in Italy in the fashion industry during Milan Fashion Week.
  • Laura Ubbelohde, a May 2007 Global Studies: Global Management graduate, is profiled  in the Fall 2007 Global Currents.
  • Laura Hetland, a December 2008 Global Studies: Global Security graduate, completed her international internship at a peacebuilding organization in Rwanda during the summer of 2007 and wrote about her life-changing experience in our Spring 2008 Global Currents.
  • Jessica Ochalek, a Global Studies: Global Security student studying Chinese, interned at the China Youth Development Foundation while studying abroad in Beijing in Spring 2007.  She discussed the joys and challenges of her experience in our Fall 2007 Global Currents.
  • Luba Aganina, a 2006 Global Studies: Global Management graduate, chose to study abroad and complete her internship closer to home - in Canada, and details her time abroad in the Spring 2007 Global Currents.

"A True Global Experience"  

By: Erik Alcaraz, Spring 2006 Global Management Graduate who participated in the FIPSE exchange program at the University of Colima, Mexico


For me, participation in a semester long exchange program in Colima, Mexico was more than a flight, a tourist destination, and a great time.  Through the semester I found myself questioning my own perceptions, points of view and ultimately realized subtle but poignant changes in my own life.  The impact of this learning process began as I stepped off the plane in Colima.  I was ready to open myself to a learning experience that I would take back with me.  My first perceptions of Colima were mostly influenced by the warmth and humbleness of the people.  Besides learning the simplicity of the Mexican people, I understood their feelings, principles, and their way of life.  I understood Mexico to be a culturally rich and diverse country with much to discover.

Mexico is rich in language as it varies from one region to the next. Colima is the third smallest state in Mexico, hugged by Jalisco to the north and Michoacán to the south.  Since Colima is such a small state, most of the culture has been adopted from the two surrounding states.  Since Jalisco and Michoacán are so distinct and unique, I felt this made Colima richer in culture.  This richness is not only observed in the culture but also economically.  Colima is at a stage where it is facing an amazing economic explosion.  Multinational firms are penetrating the market and are obtaining extremely successful results.  I had the opportunity to observe the acceptance of these multinational enterprises.     


Opportunities to work are abundant in the state of Colima.  The trick is to be aware of the unique social etiquette that exists in all businesses.  You need to establish a relationship prior to conducting any type of business.  I completed my business internship at the biggest and busiest hotel in Colima, Hotel Maria Isabel, where I had the opportunity to work on several projects while interning for ten weeks.  I spent time in the areas of reception, human resources, restaurant operations and ultimately learned a great deal about the basic concepts of hotel management and restaurant operations.

My objective was to do an internship which would link Global Studies with Global Management.  There is no doubt that the internship fulfilled my expectations. My internship offered me the opportunity to analyze how business is conducted differently than in the United States.  Some of the things that stood out to me were the strong relationships and harmony among the employees.  They had a fascination for the job they performed, were enthusiastic to give their best and were excited to work as part of a team.  However, Mexico is a country where social class levels are very apparent, and this is why discrepancies between line workers and management were obvious.

Studying abroad is vital as a part of today’s education because we live in a world where the borders dividing our countries are becoming more transparent.  Studying abroad opens your senses to horizons that cannot be stimulated just by reading a book or watching films.  There is a world filled with wonders like language, culture and diversity waiting for curious minds to go and discover.