Time to Go Pack! Two Poole Students Win Study Abroad Scholarship

Each fall, the Poole College of Management Global Programs Office empowers Poole students to make a global impact in their choice of over 200 different international locations. This year, two of these students will represent not only the excellence of Poole, but also the NC State global community. On April 24, the the Office of Global Engagement hosted the 2018 Global Engagement Exposition and awarded Ari Alexandrescu and Anna Zhao the Jackson Rigney Study Abroad Scholarship.

This award, created in honor of Dr. Jackson Rigney, an agronomist and pioneer in global education who served NC State for forty years, recognizes students for academic achievement and demonstrated ability to serve as ambassadors abroad and to positively impact NC State upon their return. The scholarship awards $1,000 to each student, which gives each of them a head start as they represent the global reputation of the Poole College of Management and NC State University.

Ari Alexandrescu, a senior in economics, will be attending the Vienna University of Economics and Business Administration in Vienna, Austria this fall. Anna Zhao, a junior in business administration, will be attending the SILC Business School at Shanghai University as part of the International Dual Degree Program (IBDD) in Shanghai, China. Anna and one other student are the first ever NC State students to go to China in this program.

As they prepare for their adventures abroad, we got some perspectives from each of these students.

Ari Alexandrescu, a senior in economics, will be attending the Vienna University of Economics and Business Administration in Vienna, Austria.

What are you most excited about as you get ready to study in Vienna?
The new and unforeseeable ways that I will be challenged while living abroad. The things that make me the most nervous–like living in a new city on my own, experiencing cultural disconnect, being vulnerable and bold in learning a new language– are all the things that are going to make this experience the most impactful and worthwhile.

How do you feel your education here at Poole has has prepared you for studying abroad?

As an economics major, I feel that Poole has helped me to construct a strong foundation in the principles of economics. This education is invaluable, as it has given me the tools to maximize my learning potential and gain a greater depth of understanding in the field of economics from the European perspective when taking my economics electives in Vienna. Additionally, I feel so fortunate among my peers to have access to Poole Global, as its updates and resources have helped me to feel extremely supported in every step of the process.

Of those who had studied abroad, I heard a resounding “It was the best experience of my college career!”


What would you say to other Poole students who are considering studying abroad but haven’t yet decided?

I kept going back and forth on whether or not studying abroad was a good choice for me. I am a self-supported student, so I often thought that the experience was financially restrictive. I didn’t think I had the time or the resources. But, fortunately for me, I was consistently curious and passionate about learning more. I asked graduate students, professors, friends, and acquaintances if they had studied abroad and what they thought of it. Of those who had studied abroad, I heard a resounding “It was the best experience of my college career!” Of those that did not, the most common response was “not going abroad as a student has been my biggest regret.” I encourage you to ask the people around you what they think of studying abroad, and I would be surprised if you do not come to the same conclusion that I have.

Any other thing you want highlighted as you get ready for Vienna in the fall?

As a 25 year old transfer student, I was nearly dissuaded from going abroad because my experience isn’t traditional and doesn’t fit within the usual study abroad narrative. Now that I am so close and have received such amazing guidance and resources, I know better. I know that people are worthy of any experience that they are willing to work for, and my journey in this process is no exception. I want to encourage others to pursue experiences that are challenging or seemingly out of reach, because the outcomes can be surprising (as I have discovered many times).

Anna Zhao, a junior in business administration, will be attending the SILC Business School at Shanghai University dual degree program in Shanghai, China.

What are you most excited about as you get ready to study in China?

Shanghai is one of China’s most high tech, modern and beautiful cities with delicious food! Shanghai is also China’s city for international finance and trade. The city is very diverse, with top business professionals visiting from all over the world. I can already see myself in two years having many connections and opportunities waiting for me when I graduate because I’m going to graduate with a dual degree from one of China’s top business cities. It will prepare me for many international business opportunities, especially ones between America and China.

How do you feel your education here at Poole has has prepared you for studying abroad?

I feel like the business classes I’ve taken here at Poole along with the foreign language classes have prepared me very well for study abroad in China. If Poole did not require these classes, how confused would we be if we took intro to business in Chinese!? We would be struggling to learn a brand-new topic in a foreign language! The language classes are definitely very important for survival in China. It makes me feel more confident in speaking and I believe that is the first step to fluency.

By the time I graduate, I will have two internships completed, will be fluent in two languages, will have study abroad and travel experience all in just four years!

What would you say to other Poole students who are considering studying abroad but haven’t yet decided?

I would say do it. If you can obtain financial aid, it covers the bulk for you. If financial aid is not available for you, there are an endless number of scholarships specifically for study abroad (specific scholarships increase your chances of receiving one) that reward in hundreds or even thousands of dollars. For me, China’s expenses are much cheaper than America’s expenses. Tuition is cheaper by over half, food is only about two US dollars per meal, textbooks are only a few dollars or sometimes even free for electronic copies. I think I’m actually saving money by studying abroad in China.

If you study abroad, it’s a vacation in another country. You will have the opportunity to visit many cities and try different foods in that country. You will most likely learn the language. You will make lots of friends and have connections abroad that may open future offers for you. When I chose to do study abroad, I looked at the benefits of the dual degree program. By the time I graduate, I will have two internships completed, will be fluent in two languages, will have study abroad and travel experience all in just four years! Why not?

How does it feel to be one of the first students to participate in this Dual Degree program in China?

I still can’t believe I’m a pioneer. I don’t know exactly what to expect, but that’s also what makes it super exciting! I feel like I’m clearing a path for future dual degree Chinese track students by returning and talking about my adventures as well as giving advice. I feel like even though this dual degree program is quite young, is a very prestigious opportunity and has a lot of potential and professional opportunity for students like me. Why? Because it is a two-year commitment that gives you potential for more opportunities. Within that extended time, there is continued learning and growth as well as opportunities to find internships. There is also opportunities to form stable, solid relationships with peers and potential employers. I truly believe this program has tremendous potential.

Any other thing you want highlighted as you get ready for China in the fall?

The Rigney scholarship, to me, means more to me than a thousand dollars. It’s my plane ticket to China- an opportunity to spend Chinese New Year’s with my grandmother that I haven’t seen since I was five years old as well as an opportunity to pursue the International Business Dual Degree study abroad program that I’ve always wanted to pursue. The scholarship will, mostly importantly, finance NC State’s first ever International Business Dual Degree program with China and will pave a smoother path for future International Business Dual Degree Chinese track students.

 

This post was originally published in Poole College of Management News.