It’s sad to say, but this is my last blog post. Even as I sit in a cafe in Cambodia, I still feel like it was yesterday when I walked into the McIntire School for the first time. I remember walking into orientation meeting peers who would become my future friends and travel companions. When I think back on my year at the University of Virginia, I cannot help but think of my amazing classmates. Yes, I’ve learned so much from my academic experiences throughout the year; but the people make the M.S. in Commerce Program so special.
It was a truly enriching experience to learn from students from all over the world. The international students brought a great perspective on different cultures and business practices. American students who studied at similar liberal arts colleges also brought a wealth of knowledge to my class discussions.
It’s funny to think I have only known my classmates for less than a year, but I know I will stay in touch with them for years to come. I’m excited to see where everyone ends up and how their careers take off. I hope to be a part of their adventures in the future.
For the future students, I have three pieces of advice for you this upcoming year.
1) Get ready to jump in. From day one, be prepared to immerse yourself. Be open to meeting new people especially during orientation. You never know who you are going to end up in a group with or traveling with for GIE. And don’t forget about the faculty and staff!
2) Prepare to be busy. The Program is truly time-consuming. Group work is unlike the individual work during undergrad. Don’t be afraid to take leadership roles.
3) Explore Charlottesville. Make the most of your weekends. Go to Football games, take a weekend hike, go out in the downtown mall — Charlottesville has a lot to offer.
Since I’m fresh off of GIE from Southeast Asia, I’ll give you three pieces of advice for GIE.
1) Take risks. Step outside of your comfort zone. Seriously, GIE is the time to do it. Try new things, explore new places, and try different foods. You won’t regret it.
2) Be open-minded. You will definitely experience norms that are different from American customs; so be patient and learn why other cultures do things differently.
3) Backpack around before or after GIE. I’m so glad to be traveling for 3 weeks after GIE; it allows me to see what I want to see and be on my own time table while immersing myself into other cultures.
Well that’s all, folks. Good luck to you all and best of luck!
Written by McKenzie Roese