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Male Students in Study Abroad - Alumni Ambassador Jordan Kohl Speaks Out

We are down to our final two ambassadors in our Male Students in Study Abroad blog Series! This week our Alumni Ambassador and senior at the University of Wisconsin La Crosse, Jordan Kohl, shares his experience learning to adjust to new cultures and his personal transformations during his five months in Prague, Czech Republic.

CEA: Why did you choose to study abroad?

Jordan: I decided to study abroad to expand my global knowledge and gain a new perspective on a completely foreign culture and society. I wanted to live in a country that I had never been exposed to and also be able to travel around Europe, so studying abroad during college was the perfect opportunity. I wanted to take a break from the standard college routine I had done for three years and have a life-changing experience.

  CEA: What skills did you learn or improve on during your time abroad?

Jordan: I was able to learn how to adapt to new situations and be much more culturally sensitive to new societies. I improved my ability to be self-sufficient and live independently while navigating unfamiliar cities. I also learned how to relate to and appreciate cultures outside of my comfort zone.

  CEA: How have you changed because of your abroad experience?

Jordan: I now have the desire to travel everywhere and as often as possible. I really enjoy seeing new places and meeting new people because there is something to learn everywhere you go. I have also gained a great appreciation for other cultures and recognized how important it is to be respectful and understanding of the fact that people everywhere in the world are not much different from us.

CEA: What classes did you find useful or applicable to your field of study or career interest?

  Jordan: I am a business major and while I was abroad I took a marketing class and a corporate finance class. It was extremely interesting learning different techniques from the European business world. It gave me a new outlook on business, helping me to understand different practices across various countries. Also, my classes had many different nationalities represented amongst the students, which allowed for many diverse discussions and ideas. It definitely expanded my business knowledge, especially from a global perspective.

  CEA: How has your study abroad experience impacted your life, academics, and/or future career goals?

Jordan: Studying abroad has impacted my life because it is an experience that I will never forget, but it has also fueled my enthusiasm in learning about other countries and cultures different from my own. It has raised my interests to learn new practices other than what I am familiar with. Also, it has made me appreciate my everyday experiences much more because any new situation could be something that will have lasting effects. Studying abroad has made me extremely interested in global markets and expanding my knowledge of international business. I would love to work for a multinational corporation and manage the expansion process to different countries.

  CEA: How has the ambassador experience helped you since returning, and with your future career goals?

Jordan: The ambassador program has helped me relate my experience to future study abroad students and really keep my experience alive. I felt like when I returned home from Prague, I had this amazing experience but was not able to fully share it with anyone because no one could relate. Through the ambassador program I have been able to talk with other past study abroad students about their experiences, as well as help new students get excited about the opportunity. Also, it has helped me gain valuable marketing and interpersonal skills that will benefit me in any career I pursue.

CEA: In your opinion, why don't more male students study abroad?

  Jordan: Through my experience with the ambassador program and talking with male students, the main response to why they haven't thought about studying abroad is because they didn't have a language background. This is a common misconception and a falsity, as I did not have a language background and lived in the Czech Republic for five months with no communication problems. CEA does a great job of ensuring its students are taken care of in situations where communication may be an issue.

CEA: Why do you think it's important for male students/all students to study abroad?

Jordan: I think studying abroad is a great experience to broaden your knowledge and learn about different cultures.  You also are able to learn so much more about yourself and life in general while living in a different country. It is an experience that can never be matched or compared to any college classroom.

Jordan Kohl is a CEA Alumni Ambassador and senior at the University of Wisconsin La Crosse. He studied abroad with CEA in Prague, Czech Republic, during the Spring 2012 Semester.

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