Southeast business student Alexis Boldin of St. Louis recently participated in a study abroad trip to Schmalkalden, Germany, combining the International Summer School and the Intercultural Management in Germany, known as the IMAGE program.
The IMAGE program is an intensive program between Southeast Missouri State University students and students from UFMG, the Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais in Brazil.
“I was interested in applying for the summer school because it was so internationally oriented,” Alexis said.
Alexis, who is pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with an emphasis in international business, earned six hours of college credit for attending.
She said she experienced more than 50 different cultures in one place during her time in the International Summer School and enjoyed German faculty member and a professor from Mexico who currently teaches at a university in France.
She said the best part was the Midnight Sun Lecture, when the group hiked to a field in the Thuringian Forest and listened to a lecture on the four major world religions from sunset to sunrise.
“I met some of the most incredible people from all over the world and was able to hear some of their opinions and learn about how they lived,” Alexis said.
Alexis said she also enjoyed intercultural communication presentations. Each student was placed in a small group consisting of one American student, one Brazilian student and one Chinese student. Alexis said it was unique because of how different everyone’s cultural communication styles are, but it was rewarding.
At Southeast, Alexis has served as the interim president for the International Business Club the past year, and is a member of DECA.
“Affiliating yourself with organizations related to international business is very important because the single most important strategy to a businessman or woman is networking. Taking part in organizational activities allows you to network with others in related fields and earn face amongst your peers. You also get to have a lot of fun,” Alexis said.
When she graduates in December, Alexis wants to attend law school, emphasizing in international and comparative law, and then hopes to open her own business.
Alexis enjoys working with different cultures, traveling and learning about the world.
She says her favorite Southeast memory is when she helped host the first International Food Fair.
“Far too often there are divisions between traditional and nontraditional students, but this event brought everyone together,” Alexis said.
Alexis says she has gained a lot from Southeast.
“I feel that Southeast has allowed me to learn and grow in a safe environment with many resources. I also was able to attain an education while incurring minimal student loan debt and being awarded several scholarships,” Alexis said.
When she’s not assisting with the international business program, Alexis likes to volunteer.
“Not only does volunteering help someone else, it's good for the soul, and is a great opportunity to network,” Alexis said.
She said she also likes to eat at local Cape Girardeau restaurants and enjoys cooking, fine arts and traveling, as well as volunteering and outdoor adventure sports.
“I did a study abroad in Ecuador in December 2012, and one of my favorite activities was hiking near the outskirts of the Amazon and swimming in a natural waterfall,” Alexis said.
Her favorite travel destinations so far are Jamaica, Ecuador and France.
“They are all so different, so it's hard to compare, but I'd say [I enjoyed] Jamaica for the people, Ecuador for the nature and France for the cuisine,” Alexis said.
She has several future travel destinations in mind. She says she wants to visit Spain, Asia and Italy. She also wants to go on a tour of Egypt, Jerusalem and Israel. She also would like to attend the 2016 Olympics in Brazil.
Alexis says she gained a lot from her study abroad trips.
“I would suggest involving yourself in at least one program that allows you to study abroad. The wisdom and understanding you gain by studying abroad cannot be matched,” she said.