I didn’t know that I’d call Madison home until one day I started missing it while travelling in Europe. I’ve been very fortunate to travel a lot with my school friends, learning and creating memories with them over the past year. As part of the Wisconsin MBA Global Trip, I started 2019 in Peru, South America by visiting some business firms, having great fusion food, and hiking up the beautiful Machu Picchu mountain. Two months later, the Risk Management and Insurance MBA students went to London to visit companies including Aon, Marsh, Swiss Re, and PwC, and we toured Lloyds of London–the place where it all started!
This year’s Wisconsin MBA global trip destinations were Croatia and Germany. The moment I landed in Frankfurt, a few changes were instantly evident, like too many privacy-related permissions while surfing the web, long white cloths flowing out of the hand tissue machines instead of paper, and beer signs everywhere. I was fully aware of my surroundings and was observing every tiny detail. As part of the trip, we met with several business professionals, government officials, and the US ambassador at the Croatian US Embassy. These interactions exposed me to many new ideas and values that are different from what I experienced in the US or India. Traveling is an incredible teacher.
One of my favorite experiences from the trip is the local cultural immersion activity in Munich. We used the local public transport in Germany to explore the city like a local would. Students in small groups went to a coffee shop, a supermarket, had lunch at a local restaurant, and visited a department store all in one day. Afterward, we shared our observations about the differences in business etiquette, culture, grocery prices, and interactions with the people in general.
All these interactions fulfilled my curiosity to truly experience a foreign land’s culture and helped me develop a broader view, be more open, communicate better with people despite language barriers, and make some really good connections. In my opinion, all of these are valuable learnings that might not come with a personal trip. Hence, I’d say “yes!” to another opportunity like this in a heartbeat, to travel abroad with school friends, and explore a different culture. And then to come back “home.”