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I had the privilege of studying abroad with two UGA programs this summer. My perspective on the business world and my life will never be the same after these incredible experiences.

First, I went to Eastern Europe during Maymester through the Terry Travels program to study International Finance and Shared Service Centers. We were briefed over a week’s time in Athens about key differences between doing business in the U.S. and Europe. Then for three weeks we traveled to Budapest/Hungary, Krakow/Poland and Prague/Czech Republic. We toured a variety of enterprises, financial and government institutions, and learned about a range of topics, including outsourcing, currency exchange, crisis in the EU, economic recovery measures, entrepreneurial opportunities, operation efficiencies, technologies, brands, markets, you name it! I particularly enjoyed visiting and touring manufacturing facilities like Can Pack, Skoda, and the Krusovice Brewing Company. But I also enjoyed hearing how IBM Finance is gaining from the use shared services while giving to the hosting country by hiring skilled locals, and how they select cities abroad to locate offices based on resources such as workforce, tax incentives, etc.

The business and academic experience was remarkable, but the cultural experiences were beyond amazing. I had never before traveled outside of the States, then in one summer I had the opportunity to visit ten different countries! The world outside of Georgia and those that actively influence global economics have inspired me. I have a new appreciation for what the rest of the world has to offer in terms of a wellspring of history, business and culture. Europe is one condensed area of immense historical heritage. Being able to see firsthand the Eastern and Western sides in a comprehensive and yet condensed manner has been one of the best experiences of my college career, if not my entire life.

UGA gave me this opportunity to learn outside of the classroom through a scholastically and culturally interactive program that has prompted serious individual growth. I am forever changed from this experience.