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Ben Schmig
      Ben Schmig

Hometown: Thiensville, Wisconsin
Program: Foundation for International Education (FIE) - London
Location: London, England
Semester Abroad: Spring 2008
Major: Business Administration (Finance; Human Resource Management)
Memorable Experience:
How do I pick just one thing? Surfing in the Irish Sea in February? Playing ultimate frisbee in front of Kensington Palace? Front row for the St Patty's Day Parade in Dublin? Cliff diving in Wales? Third place in the Pancake Stack Relay Race on National Pancake Day?

All of these experiences were amazing and unforgettable. But what I remember the most about my time abroad were all of the day-to-day activities that seemed insignificant at the time. Picking up my favorite breakfast sandwich on my way to my internship every day. Sitting at the pub with a few friends on a Saturday night. Reading the newspaper on the tube while exploring London. Getting a haircut in Chinatown.

Wherever you end up going will provide you with a few special moments that you'll be certain to remember for the rest of your life. But those everyday tasks are the things that you'll think about the most.

Benefits of Studying Abroad:
Some of the benefits, for me, were meeting new people from all over the world and waking up every day to a new and exciting lifestyle. Here in the States, I found myself getting caught in a routine. Across the sea, I had a new and exciting challenge or opportunity awaiting me everyday.

Surprisingly, it has helped my professional development a ton. I knew that it would contribute to my personal and academic growth. I knew that it would be a life changing experience. But when I decided to take the plunge and study abroad, I didn't realize how much it would help my career development. I am currently working for a Fortune 100 company in the Milwaukee area. The headquarters is in Wisconsin, but the company has plants and offices all over the world. As a result, the headquarters is very international and my co-workers come from various countries. Studying abroad and participating in an internship while in London really improved my ability to work with and understand different cultures and really helped prepare me for the position that I have today.

Advice & Tips:
First piece of advice: Just go, you'll have a blast.

Two other bits worth mentioning: One, assume that you'll have opportunities to travel again in the future. Two, be sure to have an answer to the question, "What did you do while you studied in ____?"

Too often, when students travel to other countries to study, they think about all of the other cities and countries that they will be able to visit while they are abroad. Studying abroad allows you a tremendous opportunity that you wouldn't normally have. There aren't many times in your life when you'll be living in another country for 4 to 6 months. Just don't forget to explore the city that you're studying in! Don't be too busy exploring the rest of the continent to see what life is like in the city you're in! Check out the pubs and restaurants. Tour the museums and art galleries. Do all the touristy things and the local things! When people asked me about my time in London, giving people a list of all the other countries that I visited would not answer their question. The more time you spend in your city, the more you will develop a connection with that city.

Go ahead, travel! Experience other cultures, as well. Have a baguette in Paris. Drink a pint in Dublin. Eat a slice of pizza in Rome. You'll never have an opportunity to travel like that again. Just don't go crazy. Assume that you'll go back some day, you don't need to see everything in one trip. If traveling is a priority, and you make it a priority, you will have no problems seeing the rest of the world someday.

Study Abroad Office

Phone: (920) 403-4068
Fax: (920) 403-4083

St. Norbert College • 100 Grant Street • De Pere, WI 54115-2099 • 920-337-3181