The University of Iowa

Jason Yu on his recent (virtual) study abroad experience

July 13th, 2021

University of Iowa student Changhyuk (“Jason”) Yu hoped to incorporate a study abroad experience before his intended graduation in December 2021. COVID-19 travel restrictions led Yu to explore virtual study abroad options and the Summer 2021 course offering titled Virtual International Business in Italy caught his eye. The course offered a chance to learn more about the European Union and it also fulfilled two Tippie graduation requirements: an elective for his finance major and a Tippie RISE component. Read below for Yu’s reflections on the course.

How did you decide to enroll in the virtual study abroad course International Business in Italy?

It seemed like an affordable option to gain a study abroad experience. I liked the flexibility and also the course topics—including the focus on the European Union and Italy in particular. I am so glad I took the course.

Screenshot from a live tour of Venice, Italy

Screenshot from a live tour of Venice, Italy

What were some highlights for you from the course?

I learned a lot about the culture of Italy—things that you can’t get from a textbook alone. We had a lot of Italian guest speakers and also learned about Italy’s political system, which was interesting. One of the speakers talked about the wine industry in Italy and how it developed.

We were able to take virtual/live tours of Venice and Rome. The tour guides were amazing and incorporated a tool called Oculus 2 which made the tours incredibly vivid—almost like you were there in person.

An amazing chef led a virtual cooking class. Nearly all of the ingredients were provided for students to make risotto at home, following the chef’s instructions. I’m pretty bad at cooking and I messed it up, but I really enjoyed the experience to learn about authentic Italian cooking.

Lastly, Professor Kline was very informative and helped us learn about the structure of the EU and economics concepts. For my final project, I wrote a paper that compared and contrasted how the U.S. and Germany responded to the COVID-19 pandemic—specifically focused on the automobile industry. I looked at the impact from an economic perspective of financial relief provided to the automobile industry in both countries.

Would you recommend this virtual study abroad course to others?

Yes, I would definitely recommend that students consider the course! It was a great opportunity to learn about another area of the world. This global perspective and increased knowledge about other regions of the world gives you an advantage as you apply for jobs after graduation. I think learning about global trade helps you to be successful in our global economy.

What are your post-graduation plans?

After graduation I plan to move to Texas. I hope to work for Samsung—they are planning to open a semi-conductor factory in Austin, Texas, and I would like to be a part of that.

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