Expectation of Virtual Study Abroad 2021

My full name is Nhung Thi Hong Tran (Emmy). I am from Vietnam and have been in the United States for more than four years. I am senior and majoring in International Business at Millikin University. I am interested in trading goods and services between country to country, continent to continent. Therefore, I decided to study this major. International Business Major gives me the chance to study abroad for one or two semesters, so I can have more experiences of living abroad and adapt to new cultures and understand their economies. That is also one of my dreams for my career path.

Unfortunately, during COVID-19, the travel restriction is affecting many students including me who wanted to study abroad, so the only way to help them achieve our goal is virtually to study abroad. I was planning to study in Europe because I believed the economy of Europe is very high standard. However, European schools do not open any courses for virtual study with Millikin University in this spring semester.  My next direction is Chile. I have never studied virtual study abroad before, I feel excited for two courses at Finis Terrae University, Chile. This is a great  option for me because the time zone of Decatur, Illinois is behind Santiago, Chile just three hours. That can help me adjust or balance my schedule of studying in both schools. 

Expectation for virtual study abroad experience

I expect three things for my virtual studying in Chile: understanding the courses, developing intercultural skills and having some time to exchange and learn more about the culture of Chileans or other international students. Virtual study abroad is a new option for global academics and it is via the internet. It helps me save a lot of money from staying abroad and also saves me time. I appreciate it, but I am not sure how it works and I cannot experience the reality of Chile. Business styles of each country are different from another even though they are next to each other such as the United States and Mexico. It is not likely that the Chilean economy will be the same as the U.S. Moreover, I have never taken any class in this school or in Chile. I am concerned if there are any troubles while the Chilean professors are presenting and how their institutions are. 

A description of Universidad Finis Terrae

Universidad Finis Terrae or Finis Terrae University (UFT) is one of Millikin University Partnership in Chile. The school is located in Santiago, Chile. It was established in 1981 and owned by the Anahuac University Network. The maxim of UFT is “Vince in Bono Balum” means “Overcoming Evil with Good”. There are 7,909 students, 9 faculties and 476 academic staff in total. UFT has a good faith in Catholic Religion as known as a Cathalic School. There are a lot of activities related to Catholicism at UFT. Their purpose is willing to encourage students in moral, professional technique and high knowledge in their career. UFT put the value of students and society above everything else. 

A Bit About Me

My name is Tyler Madding. I am twenty-nine years old. I was born and raised in Decatur, IL. I have three sisters and six brothers. I have three children. Their names are Tynslei who is five, Tyia who is two, and Tyler, Jr who was born on Thanksgiving last year. My mom lives here in Decatur and my dad lives in Californina. I go visit there at least once a year and plan to move there after I graduate from Millikin. I am a business owner for a lawn care service called CoTyns. I am also a landlord and own five properties. COVID-19 has really impacted my business. I also have a home improvement company for various household tasks such as flooring, windows, siding, plumbing, drywall, etc. This business was not hit as hard as people who are sitting home tend to want to remodel to pass the time. I enjoy being able to make my own schedule and spend more time with my kids at home.

My major is International Business. I want to be able to do business with other countries to expand the market of my business and invention ideas. I previously studied at Richland Community College. I studied welding at Richland and graduated in 2014. I worked for a year, had a baby, then went back to school. This time, at Richland, I studied business management and graduated in 2018, right before having another baby. While attending Richland, I also achieved a certificate for Entrepreneur. I began attending Millikin University in Spring of 2019. I am expected to complete my courses in the summer 2021. I then want to move to California and obtain my masters degree in Economics.

Some expectations that I had before we had to go virtual was meeting lots of new people and connections. I was expecting to have a close experience with the people so I can learn Spanish. I was looking forward to bringing my family with me so they could have the experience as well. I expected to work hard but still have time to explore the University and the area in which I would be living and studying. Now that we are virtual, I am expecting to still learn the culture but in a less personal way. Instead of experiencing it, I would now be learning through short class times and internet searches. I still expect to meet some great people although not as many since we are split into groups and its hard to communicate with a lot of people on an online platform. There will still be lots to learn and I look forward to it.

I am studying at Universidad Finis Terrae. It is located in the capital of Chile, which is a city called Santiago. Like Millikin, it is a private university. It is a part of the Anahuac University Network which is a group of universities led by the Legion of Christ. It is hard to find much information on the University itself because all of their pages are in Spanish.

Angela’s Belgian & Chilean Exchange

My name is Angela Arnold and I am a junior International Business major here at Millikin. Due to the pandemic, I have spent this academic year at home taking virtual courses. This was the year that I was supposed to study abroad but Millikin sadly had to prohibit in-person travel. Still wanting to make the most out of my junior year, I enrolled myself as an exchange student at the Universidad de los Andes (UANDES) last semester, and this semester I have also signed up for classes with two other partner universities. In February, I will begin classes with Artevelde University of Applied Sciences in Ghent, Belgium and then in March classes will start at Universidad Finis Terrae (UFT) in Santiago, Chile. 

I am truly looking forward to my virtual study abroad experience this semester. Last semester, I went in completely blind as I had no idea of what to expect. Things did not start out that well because three of my four classes were cancelled. My one remaining class, Latin American Business & Development, turned out to be one of the most pivotal classes of my higher education experience thus far. I have never had a teacher quite like Professor Nagel, and he made me realize the vast differences between higher education in America compared to the rest of the world. Something that I really valued and took away from the class was the attitude towards higher education and what it means to be a student. I am excited to compare these attitudes and values with my upcoming experience in the Belgian higher education system. 

The first school that I will be attending is Artevelde University in Belgium. It is located in Ghent, which is the largest student city in all of Belgium. It is also one of the largest universities in Flanders, and the city plans to be carbon neutral by the year 2050. Originally, Artevelde was never on my list of possible study abroad universities because I was determined to study abroad in France since I am a French minor. But last semester I realized that none of our partner institutes in France were promoting a virtual exchange program, so I knew that I needed to look elsewhere. A representative from Artevelde came to a virtual study abroad panel last semester and I was very impressed by their program. I initiated contact several months later enquiring into the exchange process, and everything ended up working out perfectly! I will be taking People Management and European Business with them, and I’ve also joined in on the virtual meetings for the Artevelde International Club! I’m interested in seeing how this experience compares to the Chilean universities. 

I’ve also enrolled at UFT in Chile, and I am interested to see the differences and similarities of their university compared to UANDES. UFT is a private religious university that has over 9,000 students. In terms of my courses, I am taking a Current Affairs course along with a Beginning Spanish language class. I’ve been trying to take a Spanish class for years now but it has never worked out in my schedule, and now I finally get to take one! Even though this semester definitely is not what I expected or hoped for, I am glad these universities are being so accommodating and considerate of international students who are not allowed to travel in-person for the semester. I am excited to see how this semester goes!

Erik Labroo’s Introduction

About Myself: My name is Erik Labroo, and this is my final semester here at Millikin. I am originally from Quincy, Illinois and came to Millikin in 2017 after I graduated high school. When I am not busy with school, I like to spend most of my free time listening or playing music with my friends. My other hobbies include reading, cooking, and hiking. I am also very active in Millikin’s Greek Life. I am a proud member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon, Illinois Delta. I have held several positions within the chapter and have made many lifelong friends along the way. I currently serve as the House Manager. I also have served on the Executive Board for Interfraternity Council as the Vice President of Public Relations. These have both allowed me to volunteer my time in the community to help others, which is one of the many reasons that I joined Greek Life here at Millikin.

About My Major: I am pursuing a degree in international business with a minor in political science. I chose international business because I have always enjoyed meeting people from other cultures. I grew up in a diverse household, so I figured it was only natural to want a career with diversity as its key element. I added my minor because politics from around the world have always been interesting to me. My goal is to one day work for a business that operates on an international level. I have recently accepted a position in Human Resources that I hope leads to a successful career.

Virtual Study Abroad: Like most, COVID-19 completely changed my plans for studying abroad. Nonetheless, I am very excited to be immersed into a different environment while being able to remain at home. Yes, I would have preferred to travel and experience another country with my own senses, but I believe that it is important to keep an open mind so that I do not miss any valuable experiences in the online setting. I have already been placed in a WhatsApp group chat with the other international students and it is very interesting to see the interactions that take place in a semi-formal environment. I am also excited to see how everyone interacts in a classroom setting. It is also nice to be exposed to students who are from all over the world, and not just the same country as the university.

Universidad Finis Terrae: This semester I will be taking six credits at Universidad Finis Terrae which is in Santiago, Chile. The university began in March 1988 and has made a prominent name for itself as one of Chile’s private universities. At the university, there are 26 different undergraduate programs, ranging from subjects such as art, humanities, engineering, health, and education. Something that I found interesting about UFT is the school’s slogan. The slogan is “Vince in bono malum” which translates to “defeat evil with good”. This stems from the institutions catholic roots, but its values and mission statement can be applied to people of any faith.