Takeaways from Education Abroad
By Allison Duckloe, Class of 2013
I’ve been doing an awful lot of reflecting recently. I’ve been thinking about the amazing friends and professors, classes, and opportunities I’ve had during my 4 years here. Without a doubt, participating in two education abroad programs was one of the highlights of my Babson Experience. I spent the spring 2012 semester in Paris and I also spent two weeks in Ghana this past January. I look back at my blog I kept in Paris (www.parisspring2012.blogspot.com) often and it always brings back great memories, and seeing my fellow Ghana participants on campus always brings a smile to my face. Studying abroad has had a huge impact on my education and on my life and I learned some very valuable lessons:
While abroad, I had to take care of myself. Yes, I had either program or Babson resources available if I had a question, but I learned to operate and solve problems on my own. Lost in Venice with only an Italian phrase book and no one speaks French or English? No problem! I have to register at the Sorbonne in person and all in French? Sounds fun! The taxi in Sekondi has broken down and I need to negotiate for a new one? Bring it on! I learned to be self-sufficient and use my skills to solve the problem at hand.
2) Be open minded and try new things
Education abroad is a phenomenal chance to push the boundaries of your comfort zone and to explore your passions. While I was in Paris I did a marketing internship with a French-American Cooking school. I love marketing and I love food so it was a perfect chance for me to see how a business in France operates first hand. I was able to put my marketing skills to the test and to learn about French culture through food. I tried foie gras and escargot and I now I love them! You’ll never know what you can accomplish if you never allow yourself to take advantage of every opportunity.
3) Exploring the world is the best thing ever and the more you travel, the more you want to travel!
I have been lucky enough to have set foot on 4 continents (North America, Europe, Asia, and Africa). Hopefully I’ll be able to travel to South America and Australia sooner rather than later! And maybe one day I’ll go to Antarctica but that is not at the top of my list. Sharing my Education Abroad story and hearing about my peer’s experiences has made me want to explore more of the world and see what it has to offer. Employers also love seeing that I am not just a dual American and Canadian citizen but that I am a citizen of the world. With the language skills I gained in Paris and my experience teaching entrepreneurship in Ghana, I can set myself apart in a global marketplace.