Erika McDaniel

erika

 

Name:

Erika McDaniel

 

Majors:

Operations Management and Finance, Minor in Spanish

 

Engagement on campus:

UC Women’s Club Soccer (President), Delta Sigma Pi, Bearcat Buddies, UC Navigators, Circle of Excellence, and University Honors Program

 

Coop Placements:

Castellini Management Company, Interstate Utility Trailer, Cintas Corporation, and Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center

 

Graduation year:

2017

 

Location and type of program where you studied abroad:

Faculty-led program to Chile

 

Describe the location you studied abroad for someone who has never been there.

In Chile, we lodged at a nice hotel in the heart of the capital city of Santiago. While the posh hotel, crowded subway, and bustling streets felt like they could have been transplanted from somewhere else in the world, the ever-present and spectacular mountain views made this city unlike any I had seen before. Each neighborhood had its own vibe, and the large amount of public green space provided ample venues for an afternoon siesta or picnic with friends.

 

Why did you chose your program?

The 7-10 day travel duration aligned perfectly with my breaks between school semesters and co-op rotations; hence, timing was a big draw for me. Furthermore, Spanish is the first language in Chile. I really enjoyed the chance to practice my Spanish language skills outside the classroom. Finally, the Chile program counted as elective course credit for my operations management major.

 

What was your favorite class or academic activity abroad?  Why?

My favorite academic activity abroad was the company visit to General Cable-Chile. The management team gave great presentations, the supervisors facilitated insightful plant tours, and the staff made sure we were comfortable throughout the day. The manufacturing process itself was fairly impressive, but more than that, it was interesting to see how the operations of a multinational organization are similar and different away from its flagship location.

 

Describe interactions you had with locals (students, host families, guides).  What did you learn from these people?

The most meaningful experiences of my study abroad occurred when I interacted with locals. In Chile, my roommate and I got to know our adventure guides pretty well, and they offered up tidbits about everything from their country’s education system to their favorite fútbol team. These experiences taught me that the desire to be heard and understood transcends nationalities and cultures. Furthermore, I learned that people respect those who are unafraid to make fools of themselves for the right reasons.

 

What professional skills did you gain while abroad?

The lectures and site visits we attended abroad proved to be great opportunities for professional skill development. With each visit, my notetaking became more clear and concise and my questions became more thoughtful. Additionally, each student on the trip was required to present a gift to one of our hosts. Standing up in front of a group and offering something to a stranger on behalf of the University of Cincinnati was a little nerve-wracking, but that too was a valuable professional experience.

 

What is something you learned from studying abroad?

Studying abroad gave me a greater understanding of and appreciation for the concept of a “global marketplace.” Sometimes in the U.S. we lose sight of how much our economy influences the economic well-being of other nations, as well as the extent to which domestic businesses rely on favorable international relations.

 

What was your biggest challenge while studying abroad?

My biggest challenge while studying abroad was overcoming my inhibitions and really putting myself out there. Some days it would’ve been easier or more comfortable to spend the evening in the hotel room, but I found that immersing oneself in the culture is how a person makes the most of time abroad. (Lucky for me, I had classmates who made this much easier!)

 

If you had the chance to study abroad again, what would you do differently?

If I had the chance to study abroad again, I would select a longer (maybe semester exchange) program. This type of program would force me to be more independent and would do great things for my Spanish language skills.