Monthly Archives: August 2015

How to Study Abroad Without Studying Abroad

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Craving travel? Want to study abroad but you do not have time or your school program does not offer study abroad options?

Source: thestudyabroadblog.com

Source: thestudyabroadblog.com

I have realized in my international business program that it is possible to study abroad without actually leaving your campus or the comforts of your home. For students, studying abroad goes beyond traveling to a new country. How can you study abroad in your daily life?

  • Get to know your classmates. More often than not, universities are attracting diverse students from throughout the world. Your classmates can give you an insider view of international cultures and customs.
  • Get to know your professors. Similar to my note above, universities often recruit diverse faculty members. If you have a particular country of interest, you can reach out to professors to learn about their experience abroad and their research. Most professors love to share their experiences, particularly related to their research.
  • Listen to international radio stations. TuneIn Radio offers over 100,000 radio stations that give you with an international music experience. Hearing foreign languages in music is also an effective way to improve language comprehension when you are studying foreign languages.
  • Join university clubs that relate to your country of interest. For example, many universities offer salsa clubs, international sports clubs or food tasting events. I am participating in a wine and beer club to learn about wine and beer throughout the world.
  • Attend local concerts and events relating to international cultures. Many cities offer international performances, art exhibits, and more to develop cross-cultural understanding in the community.

All of these ideas help you have an inspirNational experience while living on campus, regardless of whether you are studying at your local university or a foreign university. What other ideas do you have to study abroad without actually studying abroad?

Making Art Accessible

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Recently I visited Andy Warhol’s exhibit, From Marilyn to Mao: Andy Warhol’s Famous Faces at the Columbia Museum of Art. I had seen Andy Warhol’s art in books, but I had never understood the purpose or impact of his art.

While exploring the exhibit, I learned that Andy Warhol  is “central to the pop art movement and one of the best-known 20th-century American artists. From Marilyn to Mao uses 55 of Warhol’s famous portraits to explore pop art’s tenet of the cult of celebrity, the idea that pop culture adores the famous simply because they are famous. Warhol exploited society’s collective obsession with fame like no artist before or after him.”

I was inspired by Andy Warhol’s ability to make art accessible. While some people may not understand abstract art, they do understand celebrities and pop culture.  Andy Warhol took abstract concepts (such as society’s obsession with fame) and turned them into relatable, understandable images (such as photos of celebrities with added colors and designs). By manipulating celebrity images, Andy Warhol was able to communicate with viewers, especially when he intended to convey humor. Below are few of my favorite works by Andy Warhol:

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For those of you who are interested in art but struggle to understand its meaning, I encourage you to learn more about Andy Warhol’s art. He can relate to our fascination with fame and evoke emotion while we view his work. You can experience an interactive tour of the exhibit here. If you are in the Columbia, South Carolina area, be sure to visit the exhibit before September 13!

Conquering Boredom

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How many times per month, per week, or even per day do you find yourself saying “I am bored”?

Whether you feel bored at work, at school, or at home, it is important to think about whether your boredom is a short-term feeling or a long-term problem that you need to address.

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Source: The Guardian

Boredom, to a certain extent, is a completely natural human experience. Many of us face boredom at some point of our lives. However, if we feel bored consistently, we may want to understand the cause and find ways to ensure that we are fulfilled in our daily lives.

I have gone through phases where I have felt bored, and it ends up causing stress if there is too much boredom. I decided to research this topic recently and found some interesting suggestions to help us all conquer boredom when it comes our way.

  1. If you are doing too much, you may feel bored as a coping mechanism, and should slow down. As my dad says, prepare for what is going to bite you first (aka, take each day as it comes and finish what is due first).
  2. If you are doing too little, you may feel bored without the mental stimulation of activities, and you should get involved. Find networking groups at work or school, seek meetup groups in your community, or plan to spend more time with your friends or loved ones.
  3. If you are bored at work or school, find ways to be active. Actively learn, actively meet people, go for a walk at lunch, and get involved in new projects to regain interest in your work. Active thinking and active doing will keep your mind from wandering and will distract you from any bored sentiments.
  4. If you are bored in general, find new hobbies that combine your passions or expand your talents. For example, if you are a financial analyst by day but prefer creative assignments, consider creative hobbies at home such as decorating, cooking, or painting.
  5. Lastly, if you are bored of your daily routine, go somewhere out of the ordinary! This could be a new restaurant in your hometown, a nearby city, or a vacation. For most people, “newness” often implies that the place/activity is interesting, so we will forget about being bored when we do something new. We will also gain new insights from our surroundings and the people we meet along the way.

I hope these insights help us all in our endless quest for fulfillment and engagement in our everyday lives!

Eastern Philosophy to Simplify Life

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While in my global strategic management class, I heard the following insightful quote:

“To attain knowledge, add things every day. To attain wisdom, subtract things every day.” -Lao Tzu

Our class was learning about the importance of considering eastern and western philosophies when expanding business globally. In East Asian strategy, simplification is a priority for business success. As a person who has been mostly influenced by western philosophy, I was inspired by this quote from the eastern part of the world. Outside of the business context, this quote has lifestyle implications about simplifying our days to become wise. I am constantly trying to add more to my life: more school, more certifications, more social events, and more experiences. Tzu’s quote reminds me that I can grow just as much, if not more, by simplifying my life, subtracting distractions and filtering out any excess things.

Source: Oracle Modern Marketing Blog

Source: Oracle Modern Marketing Blog

It has taken me many years to understand the importance of simplification, and it wasn’t until my experience studying abroad in Spain that I learned to simplify and prioritize the people and activities that bring me the most joy and positive energy. Now in graduate school, I am easily tempted to add things every day, but I am working to remind myself to stay focused and prioritize in order to achieve my long-term goals. Graduate school is a time to specialize and if I truly want to be an expert (a happy expert I might add), I need to continue to live simply. Regardless of our life stage, we can all remember the importance of simplification in order to maintain balance at work and at home.

Over the past couple months, I have enjoyed learning global perspectives from my international business classes. It has been fascinating to combine international philosophies in the field of business. I will continue to share my favorite insights with you!