Ryan Gaffney




Ryan Gaffney



Marketing & International Business


Engagement on campus:

President of Colleges Against Cancer (Relay For Life), American Marketing Association


Graduation year:



Location and type of program where you studied abroad:

Faculty-led program to China


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

People Everywhere. That is until you reach the vast countryside of China, such as the outskirts of Chengdu. The majority of people who live in China don’t speak a word of English, yet everyone is wearing t-shirts with Obama on them or shirts riddled in English words.

The nature in China is absolutely beautiful. Rolling mountains mixed with foggy valleys creates a surreal atmosphere great for photography. Inside the city watch out for smoggy days, air pollution is very real over there especially in Beijing. When it’s not smoggy, you can see everything moving at a fast pace all throughout the day, and night, truly a city that never sleeps.


Why did you chose your program?

China is essential in the globalization of business, and I wish to be on the front lines of this globalization wave. Learning business techniques, advantages and struggles paints a true picture of how to do business in China.  [I also wanted to travel with Professor] Ruth Seiple, she’s the best professor at the University of Cincinnati.


How did you plan academically to be able to study abroad?

I contacted the study abroad office to see where the study abroad classes could fit into my degree program. After contacting the International Programs Office in the Lindner College of Business, I created a schedule including the classes I needed to graduate. After doing this, I looked up what credits I could satisfy by going abroad. Finally, I rearranged my academic schedule and applied for the programs online.


Prior to travel how did you prepare yourself to experience a new culture?

Be open minded, and just embrace it. We all have cultural bias so before you go on your adventure make sure you try to research your destination as much as possible. Whether that’s scrolling through images online of your destination or if you find someone to talk to that’s originally from your destination, you’ll want to be prepared for the culture shock.


Describe interactions you had with locals.  What did you learn from these people?

They were interested in America just as much as I was interested in China. Trade experiences with some of the locals and you’ll find that many times people will open up more and may help you find some neat gems along the way.


Has study abroad changed who you are as a person?  If so, in what ways?

I’ve used my study abroad experiences in every class I’ve had. It provides you with strategic and critical thinking skills from different aspects of the world. It helps you understand how people think in different parts of the world and how you can apply these thoughts and ways of life to a problem or obstacle in America.


How has study abroad influenced you career path?

Yes! I’m currently attempting to work abroad now to take advantage of the needs companies in other countries have for market research.


What is something you learned from studying abroad?

I learned to be more flexible with my schedule and to take advantage of more experiences in my life. When you’re not out traveling it’s easy to fall into a routine, but the things or activities that you do in between your routines are the things and activities that’ll make memories.


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

Nothing! Half the fun is figuring out things by yourself and making mistakes and learning from them.