This article originally appeared in The Iowa Ledger, a magazine for friends of the Tippie College of Business Department of Accounting.
In January 2013, the Tippie College of Business launched a new global opportunity for Master of Accountancy (M.Ac.) students—an exchange program with Erasmus University located in Rotterdam.
Kaleb Taylor, M.Ac.13, is the first University of Iowa Master of Accountancy student to participate in the new exchange program. He spent six months enrolled in classes and absorbed the culture of Rotterdam, the second largest city in the Netherlands and home to the largest European port.
“Kaleb had definite advantages for traveling abroad because he had vast experience studying and living in other cultures,” explains Tom Carroll, director of the Master of Accountancy Program.
When Taylor was 18, he lived in China for a year as part of the University of Iowa language exchange program where he developed his Mandarin language skills. He went back a second time when he worked for five months as a student ambassador at the USA Pavilion at the Shanghai World Expo. He also studied abroad in Paderno del Grappa, Italy, through the Consortium Institute of Management and Business Analysis (CIMBA) of which the University of Iowa is one of 36 participating U.S. universities. In every excursion, Taylor has built a network and developed valuable friendships.
“Rotterdam reminded me a lot of Iowa City,” says Taylor, originally from Washington, Iowa. “Although it is a large city, it had a small-town feel and I was very comfortable there.” He says the city and campus is extremely easy to maneuver because the majority of the people there speak English.
Rotterdam was his home base for weekdays when he focused on his studies, but many weekends he left the Netherlands and traveled throughout Europe. He explored eight different countries with Morocco and Prague as highlights.
Carroll traveled to the Netherlands specifically to visit Kaleb and tour Erasmus University’s Rotterdam School of Management (RSM) to become more familiar with the exchange program. “Students come to me to learn more about the program and the overall exchange experience, so I felt I should see it for myself. The timing was right because Kaleb was enrolled in classes, and I was able to learn from his perspective as an international student taking part in the program.”
Carroll describes the campus as urban and just minutes from a train station. The RSM student population is 8,500 students from more than 80 countries. Taylor says he had a class with just one other American; otherwise, he was immersed in a diverse, international student body.
“It was an impressive city with a friendly community, and the staff is well prepared to assist international students while they are there,” Carroll explained.
Taylor encourages any M.Ac. student to strongly consider the Rotterdam Exchange Program. He says, “The Netherlands is a great place to have an international experience. If you have never traveled abroad, this English-speaking country is ideal because it offers a very international experience without the language barrier.”
Last summer Taylor started work at Ernst & Young (EY) in Minneapolis in the financial services taxation division. One of the reasons he selected EY was its opportunities to work internationally. Taylor hopes his passport will not sit idle for long.