Carl H. Lindner College of BusinessCarl H. Lindner College of BusinessUniversity of Cincinnati

Carl H. Lindner College of Business

Mark McNall

Mark McNall

Study Abroad Student Profile

Name:
Mark McNall

Majors:
Accounting and International Business

Engagement on campus:
Mentor/Buddy for incoming exchange students

Coop Placements:
Internship with Kroger Manufacturing for three summers

Graduation year:
Spring 2016

Location and type of program where you studied:

Semester exchange to Linz, Austria

Describe the location you studied abroad for someone who has never been there.
Linz is the third-biggest city in Austria, with about 200,000 people in the entire metropolitan
area. It’s the perfect size of town – it has lots of stores, restaurants, bars, and festivals, but it’s
still got the beautiful old-town feel to it. Linz is a couple hours away from popular cities such as Vienna, Munich, Prague, Salzburg, and Budapest, so traveling around Europe is also quite easy.

Why did you choose your program?
I honestly didn’t have any clue where I wanted to study abroad, only that I wanted to do a full semester exchange, so I picked Austria because it was centrally-located in Europe.  I’ve always
wanted to visit Austria since I was a kid, and the program was recommended and seemed like a good fit.

How did you afford an international experience?
I received 3 different grants from UC International and LCB, a scholarship from JKU (the school in Austria I would attend), and then I got some assistance from my parents and grandmothers. The rest was easily affordable.

How did you plan academically to be able to study abroad?
I still needed to take International Business and a foreign language/study abroad, so 9 credit hours directly applied to my major, and then I was able to get my entire International Business minor as well.

What was the biggest academic challenge for while abroad?  
Learning how to adapt to the European teaching style. Classes in Europe focus much more on writing papers, doing group projects, and doing large case studies. The American style of relying more on lectures, homework and exams was a foreign concept abroad. In addition, your class schedule in Europe isn’t rigid like America, so it was confusing at first having a different
schedule each week.

Describe interactions you had with locals.  What did you learn from these people?  
While in Austria I put as much effort into meeting Austrians as I could. The most memorable person that pops into my head, however, was my mentor Bianca. She took me and another
exchange student to her family’s home one weekend to meet her family, have dinner, and see
what the traditional Austrian life was like. It was fascinating to really dive deep into the Austrian culture.

Has study abroad changed who you are as a person?  If so, in what ways?
I could write an entire article on how studying abroad changed me, that’s how much I’ve changed. A few quick things: I’m much more interested in traveling; I’ve become much more independent; I’m more culturally sensitive and I pay more interest to world news; I’ve become a much more relaxed, easy-going person.

How has study abroad influenced you career path?
Studying abroad completely changed my career path, actually. I realized I wanted to work abroad (especially while I’m young) and work with other cultures, although I’m still deciding how I want to accomplish this and in what capacity. 

How have you stayed in contact with your classmates and overseas friends since returning to the US?
I would say when I left Linz I was close with 10-15 students from various countries. Most of them I still talk to a few times a week, texting via WhatsApp/Messenger. I also try to Skype most of them once or a month or so. In addition, I visited my roommate from Austria in his hometown in Mexico last year.

In your opinion, why should every student study abroad?
The best way I can put it is that studying abroad has some attractive aspect for everyone. For some people, that might be improving language skills or delving into a culture their interested in. For some, it’s the educational opportunities. Others, it might be the chance to grow individually as a person and learn more about yourself. The unfortunate and yet beautiful thing is that you don’t know what this will be most of the time when you go into a study abroad, it’s something you learn as you go. As a famous quote says, it’s not about the destination, but rather the journey