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Study Abroad Experiences Broaden Perspective, Says Supply Chain Senior

In December, the Penn State Smeal College of Business International Programs Office sponsored a photo contest, providing students an opportunity to share photos of their experiences abroad. Markea Dickinson, senior Supply Chain and Information Systems major, won the contest with her photo from Machu Picchu in Peru.
January 21, 2014

Markea Dickinson in Machu Picchu, Peru
Markea Dickinson took this photo in Machu Picchu, Peru, while on her semester-long study abroad experience in Argentina.

In December, the Penn State Smeal College of Business International Programs Office sponsored a photo contest, providing students an opportunity to share photos of their experiences abroad. Markea Dickinson, senior Supply Chain and Information Systems major, won the contest with her photo from Machu Picchu in Peru.

Dickinson traveled to Peru during her semester abroad in Argentina with the Latin American Societies and Cultures program. She says she knew she wanted to study abroad before she ever came to Penn State.

"This photo captures the most important lesson I learned while abroad—the essential nature of taking risks and losing sight of the shore in order to make my dreams a reality.”

One of her main goals in choosing a non-traditional, Spanish-speaking location was to immerse herself in the language. Though she traveled to Argentina with limited Spanish skills, after a full semester in the country, she now feels fluent in the language.

“The knowledge you gain in the classroom isn’t the same as speaking with native speakers,” she said. “I would go to the café every Sunday and just talk to locals to enhance my language skills.”

The classes Dickinson took in Argentina were mostly related to culture and language, but she says the lessons she learned will be vital to her career in the supply chain industry.

“Supply chain is a very global industry,” she said, adding that her experience working with people from different cultures and adapting in unfamiliar environments will benefit her future career.

Dickinson’s photo from Machu Picchu, Peru, was symbolic of what her study abroad experience meant to her.

“Through living as a resident in Argentina and embracing the cultural differences, I was able to embark on one of the most risky, yet rewarding experiences of my life,” she said. “This photo captures the most important lesson I learned while abroad—the essential nature of taking risks and losing sight of the shore in order to make my dreams a reality.”

Talk to Dickinson an a number of other students about their international experiences at the Smeal Abroad Expo on Friday, Jan. 24, from 11:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m. in the Business Building Atrium.

Dickinson will be one of several ambassadors at the upcoming Smeal Abroad Expo talking to students about her experiences abroad. Students can attend the expo, to be held in the Business Building Atrium on Friday, Jan. 24, from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., to learn more about available study abroad programs. The deadline to apply for summer study abroad programs is Feb. 1.

Runners up in the International Photo Programs photo contest were Emily Grier, a student in the Master of Accounting program, who spent her fall 2012 semester in London, and Kristopher Johnson, a Marketing major who spent fall 2013 in Buenos Aires.

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