Who doesn’t ask you the ultimate question about your decision to study abroad? Every conversation brought up about your program and travel also involved one small question with a very big answer—why?

Why I chose to study abroad 02

Industry Experience

Making the decision to study abroad was the best choice I have ever made. I made the step to go overseas because I knew it would benefit my career focus and open opportunities to find employment abroad after graduation. As a hospitality business major, it is very beneficial to understand other cultures and environments. Tourism is today’s largest employer and Australia is one of the most desirable destinations. It has been described to be “the world’s greatest playground offering the most exciting and diverse range of experiences imaginable.” Reading this in our program outline drove my decision to study abroad. I wanted to gain a greater understanding of cultural differences that I could use in the future to know how to better deal with people from all over the world, as well as learn about the different business techniques used to create such an impressive tourism industry.

Tour Tourism
Visiting ANZ Stadium in Sydney Olympic Park from the 2000 Summer Olympics

Networking Opportunities

This opportunity expanded my network with connections all over the country and all over the world. In the beginning I knew I would meet new friends, but I didn’t imagine, how many and the amount of different demographics they would come from. I am so fortunate that my program was not only filled with students from my home university. Being surrounded by a diverse group of people allowed me to connect with and learn from others who come from all over The States. During my program, our living accommodations were mostly hostels and this was probably one of my favorite parts because that is where I made friends from Germany, New Zealand, Spain and more! I never could have imagined the network I gained from this experience.

Tourism Ladies
Some of our Tourism program group representing schools across the country

Exposure to a New Culture

Another factor that persuaded my decision to study abroad was the ability to learn about Australia and the culture. I researched programs that I found interest in, but I wanted to travel to a country I could connect with while still learning everyday. Personally, I love koalas and by going to Australia I was able to learn so much more about one of the most fascinating marsupials in the world. I also wanted to learn more about life in Australia. This was accomplished daily because of the new people we met and how passionate they were about their country.

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Meeting my first sleepy koala

I chose my program because I wanted to expand my understanding about the subject focus, but I came out with so much more than a transfer credit and knowledge about Tourism and Event Management. From tourism to new friends and Aussie life to koalas, making my decision to study abroad was the best choice I have ever made.

Melissa Lichota is a TEAN Alum and Global Ambassador at Michigan State University. She studied abroad with TEAN in Australia on the Tourism and Event Management  Summer Down Under Program.