Tag: study abroad

Guest blogger: Sabrina Alexandre, Glazer Global Learning Scholarship Recipient, visited Hungary in May as a member of the Venture Advising Consulting Course. She will also be studying abroad next Spring in Scotland.

A Visit to the House of Terror
“Americans are united by a shared image of the future, but Hungarians are united by a shared image of the past.”

We were all sitting around the conference room table for our first day at the firm in Budapest when our professor stated those words. He was close to wrapping up a PowerPoint on Hungarian history when he started to share his past experiences living in the US. He shared a long list of differences between the two countries but he wanted us to understand how powerful a nation’s shared vision can be. For Hungarians, the past was something too fresh in their collective memory for them to escape.

One place we visited brought that vision of the past to life: the House of Terror. Something with the name “House of Terror” almost seemed villainesque, like the lair of the evil doer from your favorite cartoon as a kid. Everything about the outside felt grand and dramatic and it built up a lot anticipation. You could spot the building from blocks away in all directions. It was this tall gray fixture at the end of street. The neutral color did nothing to camouflage the building among its neighbors because one look above and you can see giant steel plates plunging out of the building with the letters RORRET meticulously carved into them. When the light shines through the letters, the word gets flipped and along the side of the building in big, bold and glowing letters to spell out TERROR.

The House of Terror is the museum that holds the shared Hungarian vision. Inside that building is the story of the country under both Nazi and Soviet occupation. Until recently, the people of Hungary were under the strict control of the Soviet Union and before that, they were occupied by the Nazis during World War II. Generations of Hungarians were held captive in their own homes.

The House of Terror was split down the middle. Half of the museum was dedicated to the atrocities of World War II and the other half showcased the terrors of being under Russian rule. Imagine one room, but one side there’s a Nazi Uniform and videos from World War II and on the other side there were Soviet uniforms and videos from their occupation. The displays blended the two eras to form this continuous memory of oppression.

Some rooms had pictures and videos, some showcased testimonials from survivors like any other museum, but others displayed the original cars of the eras. We even toured the secret jail cells in the basement.

As you’re walking through the galleries you are reminded of the many Hungarians, like our professor, who still have first hand accounts of these events because they are so recent. I couldn’t handle being in that building for more than an hour, but so many Hungarian citizens live with those memories everyday. You can see the city healing, but the scars are only now starting to fade away.

The tour of the House of Terror had left me completely drained. The building was designed to present visitors with a nonstop feeling of dread, and I felt it. After being inside for an hour, I wanted to escape. As I watched old men on the screen recollect their lives under Nazi and Russian rule, it dawned on me that they had to survive both eras of oppression. The fact that this could happen, but remain relatively untold by our history books, is depressing. I had to travel halfway around the world to understand the fate that the people in Eastern Europe were dealt.

To be honest, I could have been presented with a documentary from the comfort of my home and it would not have had the lasting impact that each exhibit had. It’s one thing to read it or even watch it on television but it’s another to stand inside the actual prison cells and think, how can anyone ever do this to another human being? Physically being in that space was too much to process in the moment. It was eye opening.

The people I met in Budapest were so happy and inviting and I find myself appreciating their hospitality even more after my trip to the museum. I can’t imagine living with those memories of oppression, but choosing to rise above them and still be so warm and welcoming to strangers.

Top Photo by Sam Whitfield  and Creative Commons License

Other photos provided by guest blogger

Guest blogger: Elizabeth Shabani, Associate Director of Global Programs & Advising

It’s the start of the semester, which means new roommate assignments, finally taking that first class in your major, Meet the Firms, and sinking your teeth into some much-missed Seoul Taco. But for more than half our Olin students, the start of the semester means the first time they’ll have seen their friends, faculty, and advisors in nine months! That’s because approximately 60% of Olin students participate in a Global Program, with 121 BSBA students abroad during the Spring 2017 term alone. And that number only seems to be growing each year.

Global awareness and cross-cultural competence are critically important to employers, and studying abroad can have a positive effect on your academics, career goals, and marketable skills. In fact, according to Frontiers Journal, CEO perspectives found that “studying abroad and internationally orientated studies are mentioned as essential and basic requirements for enhancing talent.” That is one of the many reason why studying abroad is so important to us here at Olin (let alone that it is often described as “the best time of my life!”).

But how do you go about studying abroad or knowing if it’s the right fit for you? Well, this is where your Global Ambassadors, Academic Advisors, and Global Programs staff come to help. Here are five quick steps to studying abroad:

1. Review program opportunities and requirements

Visit the WashU Study Abroad website for details on programs—and destinations— and the BSBA Global Program for the nitty gritty details, like scholarship opportunities, financing your study abroad, and more. Students with second majors outside the business school may also explore opportunities through the college. Meet with Global Ambassadors (past study abroad participants) to get their perspectives from abroad. We will also be hosting several information sessions this fall, so make sure to read the BSBA newsletter for dates, times, and locations!

2. Meet with your academic advisor

Meet with your academic advisor to discuss when is the best time for you to go abroad and what kind of credit you can earn abroad. For students seeking a semester program this may often be your sophomore or junior year.

3. Narrow down your program selection to your top two or three choices.

Keep in mind what kind of experience you’re hoping to have. Immersive with engagement with local students? Internship opportunities? Summer programs? What classes do you need and do you want to be abroad in the fall, spring, or summer? Once you’ve narrowed down your choices (or if you need some extra help working through your goals), meet with a Global Programs advisor. You can schedule an appointment or stop by during their walk-in hours in Simon 118.

4. Apply!

You should apply online before the below deadlines. Keep in mind you’ll want to start your application early in order to allow enough time for faculty to complete their recommendations or to submit any supplemental materials:


  • Summer 2018:  February 15
  • Fall 2018:           February 1
  • Spring 2019:      May 1

5. Continue researching the program, university, and culture.

We’ll review your application and touch base with you if we have any questions. Upon admission to the program, we’ll continue working with you on your next steps such as preparing for a new academic culture, completing host university materials, travelling safely, and making the most out of your experience.

Global Programs advisors can also help you research funding opportunities. Scholarships are available through the Glazer Global Learning Fund as well as external sites (check out our resources online). Additionally, your financial aid, scholarships, grants, and loans go with you on semester programs.

So you’re on your way… what’s next?!

Check out the gallery, below, of amazing scenes from Spring 2017 study abroad trips. Click thumbnail to expand image.

Last week, 71 Olin students participated in the annual European Study Tour in Brussels, Belgium. This academic study tour, offered annually, is designed to develop research, analysis and presentation skills in an experiential format and serves as a comprehensive introduction to the European Union and European markets.

Prior to arriving in Belgium, each student visited a pre-assigned EU member country. During the visit, students met with government and business experts to research their country’s attitudes about a specific issue such as increasing EU membership or the Euro financial crisis. The research trips allowed students to prepare for a mock parliament exercise. The experience gave students an intense introduction to challenges facing the European Union.

While in Belgium, students were hosted by EU offices and delegations throughout the city, including the Turkish delegation, the Croatian Ambassador and delegation to the EU, and the European Commission, among others.

Guest Blogger: Liz Shabani, Associate Director of Global Programs & Advising in the Olin Undergraduate Programs Office.


I wasn’t sure it would be possible to spend time abroad. Exploring new international places was something I always enjoyed doing, but since I had graduated college, extensive travel was never a reality due to the nature of working full-time.

So when I started researching the Olin MBA, I was delighted to find that studying abroad was not only possible, but highly encouraged.

I write this blog post from an Amsterdam train bound for Germany. While in Germany, I will study at one of the premier institutions for Management studies called WHU. Not only will I be able to graduate from Olin on time, but I also will have exhausted all requirements prior to my last quarter of study, leaving me to enjoy my last two months in St. Louis before moving.

At Olin, you quickly realize you are the catalyst of your own fate. You can get involved in whatever way is best suited for your wants and needs. I knew I wanted to study abroad so the administration worked with me to make that a reality.

Because of the personalized experience Olin offers, I had resources at my disposal in every way. As in the real world, all you need to succeed is to have a support system—which is pretty easy when you know everyone and everyone knows you. From someone to help through the application and nomination process, to people helping set up my health insurance, I never felt like I was making a blind decision. I’m not sure this would have been as possible if it weren’t for Olin’s unique ability to make everyone feel like a name.

I’m excited for what I’ll learn during my time abroad—from cultural to classroom education. And I am eager to share these learnings with my classmates and the greater Olin community upon my return to St. Louis.

Living in the Netherlands for three months has been surprising and challenging in many ways. Adjusting to total independence, fitting in to a new culture, and making new mistakes have all been interesting, but the most surprising thing for me has been how comfortable I felt in this new home.

Comfort is something I did not expect from my abroad experience. Whether it was flying on budget airlines with not enough leg room even for my short legs, sleeping in 16-person hostel dorm rooms, or simply always feeling out of place, discomfort — a clash of a person with their immediate environment — felt like an inevitability. While I did experience my fair share of embarrassment and confusion, something unexpected happened when my abroad country became my home. It was only as I was preparing to leave that I realized just how at home I felt in my little city of Maastricht.

The main way I realized that I had acclimated to Dutch life during my semester abroad was through my relationship with my bike. In the Netherlands, there are famously more bikes than people and that fact was clear everywhere I went.

Bike paths went everywhere, and cars would always stop for bikes, something wildly unfamiliar to me even in my bike-friendly home of Seattle. Even stranger was seeing Dutch toddlers perched helmet-free on their parent’s handlebars, blond hair blowing carelessly in the wind, looking as comfortable as if they were held in their parents arms.

While I knew how to ride a bike, it had been years, and my first few trips were unstable to say the least.

Cobblestones are a Maastricht mainstay, and bouncing along on my old bike was uncomfortable.

Grace PortelanceI wasn’t sure if I would actually bike everywhere, or just walk. However, as time passed I became more attached and more comfortable on my bike. I began to enjoy the rush of zooming down cobbled paths. I began to use my bike for more trips, more challenging trips. When I felt restless, I would just hop on my bike and ride — sometimes into Belgium — with confidence that I could make it home. And finally, when I had to sell my bike I felt like I was losing a friend, a right hand. I never imagined myself being so comfortable on a bike! Biking was what made me feel like one of the native Dutch people in Maastricht, and without it I felt like a tourist.

I believe that living in Maastricht gave me a confidence and comfort on a bike that will last my whole life. I am going to be a bike commuter at my job this summer, something I never imagined I would do, and I hope that each time I ride I remember the city that fostered this love of biking in me.

Guest Blogger: Grace Portelance is a junior studying Economics and Finance with a minor in Computer Science.

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