Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Undergraduate management student Anna Kroeger recently studied abroad at the University of Cape Town in Cape Town, South Africa. To help fund her study abroad experience, Kroeger applied for and received an IES Abroad Scholarship as well as a scholarship from the Nicole M. Johnston International Fund through the Tippie College of Business. Learn more about Kroeger’s study abroad experience below.

Photo of Anna Kroeger in Cape Town

Hometown:  Earlham, Iowa (in Madison County, Iowa)

Field of study:  Management major (human resource management track); economics major; international business certificate

Campus leadership and involvement:

  • Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Club
  • Alpha Kappa Psi (co-ed business fraternity)
  • Reaching Out in Business (LGBTQ+ business student organization)
  • Peer Mentor in the Tippie College of Business
  • Student Manager through University Housing & Dining at Hancher Auditorium

You studied abroad at the University of Cape Town – what was the campus like?

The campus and surrounding community was beautiful! Cape Town is a coastal city – the second largest city in South Africa. The University of Cape Town is a dynamic, diverse campus where ideas are freely exchanged between students. It is easily the most beautiful campus I’ve ever seen. It’s very easy to get involved on campus, as there are many student societies and activities available. Class sizes are similar to those at Iowa. They range anywhere from about 20 students to over 300.  

What classes did you take there?

I completed four classes:  Gender, Sexuality, and Politics; Organisational Behaviour and Employee Relations; African Instruments; and a service-learning course focused on community development in South Africa. Through the service-learning course, I did 40 hours of service, along with 20 hours of research, working with the Sozo Foundation. I was involved with mentoring and tutoring high school students in a local township. In my classes, the lectures were very research-based—similar to the University of Iowa. We did a lot of reading of past research as well as writing essays. In my business class, group work was a central part of assignments, just like classes at Tippie. 

What has your experience been like outside of the classroom?

I live in what I would call a mix between a dorm room and an apartment…it’s quite modern. My floor in the building consists of America students from my program, but the majority of residents are South African. I’ve joined sports clubs and social clubs to meet people, and I’ve stayed busy enjoying all of the activities Cape Town has to offer!

Why did you want to study abroad?

I’ve wanted to study abroad since childhood. My family hosted exchange students from Brazil, Russia, and Italy in high school, so from that experience I knew that I wanted to enhance my global perspective and gain cultural understanding during my time in college. When I came to the University of Iowa, I spent a lot of time at the Study Abroad office exploring options. I meet with a peer advisor in the Study Abroad office, and she helped me to understand the scope of possibilities, as well as how to think about narrowing down my options based on certain criteria such as location, timeframe, and the availability of courses in my major. I chose Cape Town because I was able to take courses in English and also because I wanted to explore the unique racial and political history there—including the effects of Apartheid.

What advice do you have for other UI students considering studying abroad?

Do it! Don’t be scared, and don’t hold yourself back from what could be a life-changing experience. The UI Study Abroad office will ensure you’re well-equipped for your time abroad.

What do you feel you’ve gained from your study abroad experience?

As a management major it’s important for me to understand people. Especially in a business setting, it’s important to have a global perspective and an understanding of diverse backgrounds. You need to understand where people are coming from and how to reach them where they are. It’s also highly important to be kind and empathetic to people. Study abroad helped me to develop in all of these areas. 

Visit this web page to learn about Kroeger's reflections on Day Zero in Cape Town.

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