International Connections

Michelle Pasek

Major: Hospitality Management

Minor/option/emphasis: Event Management Minor

Year: Sophomore
Hometown, State: Chicago, IL

Type of experience: Faculty Led Program
Experience: Study Abroad Shorts: Introduction to the Bahamas
Experience website:
Destination: Bahamas

Overall experience..
Studying abroad is an amazing experience, and being able to do it in such a breathtakingly beautiful country was an experience I will always cherish. I plan to study abroad for an entire semester, and this short trip was a good step towards getting ready to leave for a whole 4 months.

I learned...
I first learned that Iowa State offered this study abroad short experience when I took my first college visit here. Once I got accepted to ISU, I couldn't wait to apply to this program.

An impact to my life...
I met so many new people on my trip, and for better or for worse, they made the trip a unique experience that I will never forget. I learned so much about how resorts and hotels are run, down on the island of New Providence and Paradise Island. I am so glad I got a behind-the-scenes look at what it takes to keep everything running smoothly and to please the millions of guests the Bahamas host each year. During our tours, I think I received a lot of good advice, which will help me sort out exactly what I hope to do with my life once I graduate with my degree in Hospitality Management. I want to learn as much as I can about the world, not only to help me succeed in my career, but to broaden my personal knowledge; I think this trip helped me toward reaching my goal of traveling the world and experiencing all it has to offer.

I will never forget...
I really loved the People to People experience we were lucky enough to participate in. This experience entailed dinner at the home of a local Bahamian family, where their friends and other tourists joined us. I spoke to a woman named Sandra who had been in the Hospitality industry for over 35 years and she gave me advice on how to survive the industry as long as she has. All the interactions I had with locals were special and educational, and I think that's what really made this trip one to remember.

A surprising discovery...
Before going on the trip, we were told the Bahamians are a friendly people, and once we got there, they really were very friendly. Almost every person you passed on the street would greet you with "good morning" or "hello, welcome to the Bahamas". This just made me wish we were more like that in America. The Bahamians live a really laid-back, relaxed lifestyle, and I think that if we were all kinder to one another here, we wouldn't be under as much stress and our lives and careers would be more fulfilling.

Advice for others...
If you ever have the opportunity to study abroad, take it. Sometimes it's hard to study abroad due to money issues, but there are ways around that. There are plenty of scholarships offered by ISU and other websites specifically offering money for you to study abroad. Or even take out a loan. You can always pay back a loan, but you might not ever get another chance to study or travel abroad once life really starts. If you have the chance, GO!!!

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