Study Abroad Case Study: Edina – BA International Business student

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The exciting adventures of Edina

The below blog post has been co-authored by Edina Opoczki (BA International Business student) and Hayley Iovannelli- International Recruitment Manager for the Faculty of Business and Law.

Hi! My name is Edina and I’m currently studying the International Business programme here, at UWE Bristol. Now I’m in my final year, I decided to continue my studies overseas as part of the ‘Study Abroad’ scheme. I chose to study at one of UWE’s partner institutions (ESSCA) as it provided me with the opportunity to study in two countries; Angers (a city in western France, about 300 km (190 mi) southwest of Paris) and I’m currently in Shanghai, China.

It has been an interesting journey so far, and I wanted to share my experiences to help anyone who may be thinking about doing this.

Things I now know (that I did not know before)

I spent a lot of time researching the institution and the area in France and China. But, as I discovered, there’s always more you can and should do!

Here are my top tips:

  • Try to learn a bit of the language before you go – not everyone will speak English and if you can speak even the basics this will really help. And your language skills will evolve as you’ll have lots of opportunities to speak with other students.
  • Find out about the local amenities and services – I needed a dentist quite urgently when I was in France and it just wasn’t something I’d considered before, so well worth finding out about local English speaking amenities
  • Work out your budget – some areas are more cost effective than others so it’s worth scoping out the different places to live and eat
  • Reach out and speak to students who have done this before – they can give you valuable information about what to expect, places to visit to really make the most out of your time there
  • Be prepared for the cultural differences – find out the basics about how you should meet and greet people, restaurant etiquette, tipping etc. as each country is different
  • Enjoy yourself! – take every opportunity to explore, discover, practice the language and make the most of it!

Things I wish I had done differently

While I was in Angers during my first semester, I felt like I was missing out on the opportunity to make close friendships with the other international students because I found my accommodation privately rather than staying in the dormitory where most of the students were. On the other hand, in terms of money – value proposition, my room seemed to be the better option and that is why I choose it in the end.

When preparing to head out to Shanghai, the only thing I wish I had done even more before arriving was saving up money for travelling around the country. Life in Shanghai is more expensive than in Bristol so be prepared. Travelling around this huge country is costly and time-consuming because of the distances so I would advise everyone planning to study in Shanghai to save up as much as you can.

Why France and China?

The reason why I chose France to study is because I wanted to make sure I can build more international experience through my ‘Year Abroad’ scheme and France just seemed to be one of the perfect locations to do so. My goal was to live in a country which is a founding member of the EU and is totally different from the UK in terms of culture.

China has always been one of those destinations I have been dreaming about ever since I was a child. When I found out ESSCA has a campus in Shanghai I was beyond happy. China for me is the Rome of business world where all businesses leads to China. Because of the nature of my international business studies, I wanted to further build my experiences in a country taking a lead of newness, innovation and world trade.

How do I find my way around in Shanghai?

Before I came to China, I already downloaded multiple apps on my phone, saved all important addresses both in English and Chinese, made sure I always had a copy of UWE Travel Insurance on my phone and I already familiarized myself with the metro lines. There are several websites and apps you can take advantage of, and these are the ones that I found to be the most helpful:

  • TripAdvisor (guidance when visiting other cities)
  • Bon App! (like TA but more complex with local metro map)
  • SmartShanghai (detailed list of services, shops, information about SH)
  • Moovit (navigation app)
  • Sherpa’s (food delivery)
  • Epermarket (online supermarket for Western style grocery shopping)

This list is not full and there are many other apps and websites available.

How did I develop personally and professionally during ‘Study Abroad’?

‘Study Year Abroad’ allows me to further extend my knowledge and experience on the following topics: cross-cultural management, international human resources, international marketing, artificial intelligence, the energy sector, old and contemporary European and Chinese history and politics, the European Union, French and Chinese languages, doing business in China and many more.

As well as personal development, I have gained and further extended my academic skills and abilities. Both France and China have prepared me to take on the next challenges. I believe, with cultural awareness my ability to adapt to change of circumstances and openness for newness has prepared me to gain new experiences and makes me brave enough to apply for international jobs in the future.

Kick start your 2019 with an Executive Education short course from UWE Bristol

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Looking for a new challenge in 2019? Or simply want to learn something new? As a new year’s treat, we have early bird discounts on several of our executive education short courses.

Below we’ve included some information on some of the courses but there are loads more on our website

Coaching and Mentoring (ILM Level 5 and 7) 

Aimed at anyone who undertakes coaching and/or mentoring in their workplace, this short course is ideal for managers with significant responsibility for coaching and mentoring as part of their day-to-day role working with employees and colleagues. It is also designed to develop learners planning to move into a development role or start a career as a freelance coach or mentor offering coaching and mentoring to people within work settings.

Next course date: February 2019. Early bird discount ends: 20 January. Find out more here.

Professional Certification in Digital Marketing

Whether you are a business owner who wants to improve online engagement, a professional marketer, or a complete beginner, this certification will provide you with an introduction to key digital specialisms, from mobile and social media marketing, to email, PPC and SEO.

Validated by the Digital Marketing Institute, the certification is delivered here in Bristol by experienced academics and consultants who apply our expertise and cutting-edge thinking with a practical focus

Next course date: February 2019. Early bird discount ends: 16 January. Find out more here

New Leaders Programme (ILM Level 3)

Our New Leaders Programme is an exciting interactive course blending theoretical knowledge with practical skills, designed to give those new to management or looking to obtain their first line management qualification the core skills needed to succeed in a role as an effective team manager. You will be given the space to work closely with your course peers and to explore real life examples of your management practice.

Structured over a four month period the programme offers you the opportunity to take away learning from the training sessions to apply in your workplace; in addition to the opportunity to reflect on and assess your impact as a manager.

Next course date: March 2019. Early bird discount ends: 22 January. Find out more here

Finance for Non-Financial Managers

 As a decision-maker in a small or medium sized business you can use financial information to resolve problems and improve performance. This programme will provide you with the basic skills and understanding of how to do this.

This programme is specifically designed for managers and supervisors who need a basic understanding of the principles of finance, those new to a role with responsibility for financial control, or anyone working with finance and accounting staff.   

Next course date: March 2019 Early bird discount ends: 28 January. Find out more here

Design Thinking for Managers

Design Thinking has emerged as a human-centred, creative and robust approach to solving problems and identifying opportunities in business and social contexts.

Rooted in the creative strategies that professional designers use in the process of designing products and/or services, Design Thinking is an approach without boundaries. Everybody is creative given the right process to ‘unlock’ their creativity and provide an alternative mindset in approaching a challenge.

This highly practical programme will introduce you to Design Thinking as a process for finding new, relevant and transformative solutions that create a positive impact

Next course date: April 2019. Early bird discount ends: 6 February. Find out more here

Successful Events Management

This highly practical course focuses on utilising the potential power of events to achieve personal, organisational and social outcomes for both the public and private sectors.  It explores the purpose of events and how event managers can develop appropriate experiences for their intended audiences and clients.

This course is purposely designed to immerse you in developing event ideas, pitching concepts and designing research to capture event outcomes.  The course will incorporate a site visit within Bristol as part of a fieldwork activity relating to event design.

Next course date: April 2019. Early bird discount ends: 6 February. Find out more here

Institute of Directors’ prize awarded to Bristol Business School student for second successive year

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A student who launched an innovative healthy meals delivery service while studying at the University of the West of England (UWE Bristol) has won a prestigious national Institute of Directors (IoD) award.

Alex Gatehouse, founder of start-up company Pelico, was named Student Director of the Year at an annual awards ceremony in London celebrating directors at the forefront of leadership excellence.

His success follows that of fellow former UWE Bristol student Jamie Rawsthorne, founder of higher education analytics business Unique Insights, who won the prize in 2016. Both graduated from the pioneering Team Entrepreneurship degree programme, where undergraduates are encouraged to set up and develop their own businesses as part of their studies.

Pelico, whose co-directors are current Team Entrepreneurship students, offers its customers nutritious, chef-made meals delivered within 30 minutes for under £6. The company’s aim is to make it as easy as possible for busy professionals to eat well. Alex has steered the company’s growth and development over the past three years, helping create a successful food technology venture.

The Student Director of the Year award recognises students who have implemented brilliant and innovative projects that have created real tangible value for their audience.

Adrian Rivers, Programme Lead for the Team Entrepreneurship programme, said: “These awards are major achievements and provide added evidence of the ability of the students on our programme. Well done Alex!

“Jamie was a member of the first cohort of students to join the programme in 2013 and Alex was in the second cohort. Both graduated with good degrees. Alex’s 1st Class Honours degree classification was boosted by an outstanding dissertation in his final year, based around the future development of Pelico as a business.”

Nick Sturge, regional chair of Institute of Directors South West, said: “Our student membership has been incredibly successful and we’re delighted to have brought the award back to the South West and to UWE Bristol for a second year. The feedback we get is that the membership really helps entrepreneurial students make valuable connections, gives them access to mentoring and ensures they develop not only a portfolio of practical business tools but also an understanding of the role of effective directors in a business that will stay with them for the rest of their career.”

The BA (Hons) Team Entrepreneurship course is one of only a handful of its type in the UK dedicated to giving undergraduates the practical experience to launch and run their own ventures.

An alternative to a traditional degree, students work to a tailored programme to equip themselves with entrepreneurial and teamwork skills ready to start businesses or become effective team players within dynamic and changing organisations. The course was inspired by successful methods pioneered in Finland and tested in Spain and Hungary. The programme’s undergraduates – known as Team Entrepreneurs – develop skills in everything from event and budget management to marketing, PR and graphic design.

The course is based in UWE Bristol’s new state-of-the-art £55 million Faculty of Business and Law building and is part of Bristol Business School, recently shortlisted in the Business School of the Year category of the Times Higher Education Awards 2017.

Internships at UWE – ‘The past 10 weeks have been wonderful’

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UWE Bristol offer a number of opportunities for their students. Candie Walters, a third year Business and Management student, has just completed a 10 week internship in the FBL Faculty. Keep reading to find out what she got up to.

I am a UWE Bristol Business and Management student who has just completed a 10 week internship in the Engagement and Enterprise teams in the FBL Faculty at UWE Bristol. The past 10 weeks have been wonderful. I have thoroughly enjoyed every aspect, from managing social media accounts to planning events. The diversity of tasks has meant each day has been different and interesting; allowing me to continuously learn.

I was responsible for managing the social media accounts; writing weekly blogs, tweeting daily, and updating the Instagram account. I had to make sure I was aware of the different stories and activities that were going on in the university and publicise them. I created a content plan for each week covering what I needed to include in the following weeks social media posts. This meant I was able to keep track and make sure the content was interesting and informative for the audience.

Another task I was responsible for alongside Izzy, another intern, was to organise the FBL Level One Induction Activity. Izzy and I had to organise an event for 1500 FBL students in fresher’s week from start to finish. The activity consisted of four sessions spread out across three days in fresher’s week. The aim of the activity was to energise the first year students and introduce them to the enterprise pathway. The activity consisted of problem solving and crowdsourcing ideas on an online platform. We liaised with external companies, and were able use iDeeter’s online problem solving platform. It was an awesome tool to find opportunities and solve problems. Students had the opportunity to ‘up vote’ solutions and ideas in which a winner was granted a prize.

This event required event management skills along with a huge degree of organisational skills. Myself and Izzy, had to organise times, dates, groups, leaders, speakers, rooms, prizes and resources for the event; whilst also coming up with an agenda for each activity. This required successful communication with myself and Izzy as well as with other members of staff. Emailing and calling people was our main form of communication, but we also organised and held regular meetings with the academics and the iDeeter staff to ensure everyone was on board and knew exactly what was expected.

Furthermore, my role consisted of basic data entry tasks, data management, shoot logistics, event and research planning, liaising with stakeholders, project management and general organisation for meetings and car parking bookings. As you can tell, my line manager packed so much over the 10 week period for me, and I am leaving with a book full of knowledge that I can now put into my studies for my final year at UWE Bristol.

The team at UWE are the most welcoming and friendly staff I have ever worked for. They are always happy and willing to help with anything. I can’t explain how much I have learnt during my time working for UWE and I put that down to the amazing alumni team – Anna, Rachel and Laura.

I strongly recommend that anyone who is thinking about doing an internship, to come to UWE!

I am hoping to return once I have graduated! ‘

 

UWE Student’s ‘Memories will last forever’ after volunteering in Fiji.

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Volunteering abroad can be an invaluable experience. You are able to experience new cultures and ways of life; when you get back home, those lessons can translate into skills and experience that benefit you, both personally and professionally – and it also looks great on your CV.

UWE partnered with Think Pacific to offer students the chance to spend four weeks at one of their projects in Fiji. The project consisted of assisting local teachers with rural primary and secondary schools, organising one-to-ones, leading kindergarten classes, pioneering extra-curricular activities and youth clubs, and implementing grass roots sports development initiatives ,which included daily PE classes and sports outreach workshops. The aim of this project was to empower disadvantaged children living in remote and rural Fiji to overcome poverty issues and achieve holistic health.

This summer 18 students from UWE were lucky enough to join Think Pacific on this project. The Think Pacific Project is run in partnership with the Fijian Government and supports remote schools in Fiji.

Second year Business Management Student, Lisa Mathews was one of the students who went on this amazing trip.

Lisa commented:

“I have just spent the last month living in the most warming village, amongst the most positive, smiley, carefree individuals, who have honestly changed my life forever. I will never look back”

She explains she was:

“engrossed in the culture, with treks and adventures on Saturdays truly exploring the area you’re living in. We climbed up a waterfall, crawled through a cave and trekked to some hot springs. Everywhere we went locals would climb trees to pick us oranges or carve papayas with their machetes. Their kindness is phenomenal and this is definitely not my last trip to Fiji”

Think Pacific were extremely positive about each student that went out to Fiji on this trip:

“What a privilege it has been to have such a passionate, caring & energetic bunch of UWE University students on project with us Fiji. It was incredible to hear from the Nubuyanitu families how quickly the students settled into village life. And even more than that, to hear from the teachers how much every volunteer gave to inspire, motivate & enagage the children through their education and sports sessions.”

This fascinating project is one of many volunteering experiences on offer from UWE Bristol. Find out more here http://ow.ly/4pBH30eo0sO

UWE also provide financial assistance for undergraduate students who are looking to work or volunteer abroad – The Go Global Bursary Scheme.

 

 

UWE Bristol Business and Management Student Year Abroad in Mexico

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The students at UWE Bristol have the opportunity to study abroad as part of, or alongside, their studies. This can be for a semester or a year, studying with partner universities from across Europe and around the world.

One student whose year abroad has come to an end, was lucky enough to study at Technologico de Monterrey, Mexico for a year. Isham Adawia, Business and Management student, was one of two students who were offered the opportunity to go to Mexico and he said it has been the best year of his whole life.

Studying abroad may be one of the most influential decisions for a university student; gaining international experience and immersing themselves in a new culture. The study year abroad team put in endless amounts of time into providing UWE Bristol students with amazing opportunities.Deciding whether to go ahead with studying abroad was one of the hardest yet best decision Isham says he’s made. Going into a foreign country, not knowing the native language is a daunting prospect to say the least. However, there are so many other people in the exact same situation. They say that living in a foreign country is the most efficient way to learn the native language, Isham says that this is certainly the case and he can now have basic conversations with Spanish speakers. Meeting new people from various parts of the world and learning about each other’s culture and life is so interesting. This experience opened Isham Adawi’s eyes to the way people think and act which are influenced by their culture; meeting people from all over the world.

Isham commented

“During my time studying overseas, I made lifelong friends from all over the world: Denmark, Germany, Mexico, US, Honduras, Ecuador, Italy, Canada, Venezuela and Sweden. Furthermore, it gave me an insight of academic knowledge from the viewpoint of others and to understand how the field of study varies, when studying overseas”.

“Studying abroad opens your eyes to what the world has to offer making you a more confident, open minded individual that recognises and appreciates a whole new lifestyle in a country that is far different from the UK. The social side of this experience is one that will stay with you forever.”

blog mexico

Isham said he enjoyed exploring parts of Mexico in his free time with his fellow students and really immersing himself in Mexican culture. Isham always wanted to work and live abroad and the experience has only made him want to continue his travels after he graduates.

The overall study abroad experience is something you will cherish for the rest of your life. Not only because of the people you will meet, experiences you will gain and the memories you make, but because it develops you as a person.

It can influence the rest of your life and your career goals. You may discover a newfound passion or career path, or maybe you will decide to work abroad. Whatever it may be, you will have a great discussion topic on your CV with future employers. They want to see someone who has challenged themselves and learned from experience. The experience and knowledge you acquire while abroad can give you plenty of real life examples/situations to integrate into an interview or cover letter.

It goes without saying that studying abroad will be one of the most memorable experiences that you will ever have. You become truly independent, meeting new people from around the world, developing your language skills, and experiencing a new culture. So why not get in contact with the UWE Study Abroad team to discover your options!

 

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