In the Classroom by Ruth Yao

How did your study abroad experience enhance your knowledge, skills, and/or understanding of your intended career field?

People study abroad to see the world and to grow as individuals. The less talked-about component is the studying aspect. As my last semester abroad has ended, I would like to focus this blog post on what I’ve learned in the classroom.

While in Hong Kong this past fall, I focused on courses for my business degree. There are many things I could write about concerning my experience at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. I took classes from world renowned and dynamic professors, studied with students from across the world, and learned lessons that left a permanent mark. It was in my entrepreneurship course that I first began to use my business background to work towards furthering social change. As an undergraduate, I have focused on my finance major as the basis of my future career, and I looked mostly to the traditional careers within the industry. However the entrepreneurship course widened my scope to include social enterprises as a realistic option and future career path.

Concerning my spring semester in Cambridge, where I focused on economics, I learned to question what is often told to us as fact. Having mainly taken the basic economics courses at Tulane, such as Intermediate Macroeconomics and Microeconomics, I mainly learned the foundation of the discipline. What I learned in class – specifically all of the models – I absorbed as fact or, at the very least, the agreed-upon model by economists. In Cambridge, I was fortunate enough to have neoclassical and Keynesian economists teach my supervisions (courses). They taught a comprehensive view of economics, from many of the main schools of economic theory. However each had distinct and contrasting economic theories. My first essay prompt was “What is the role of money in neoclassical and Keynesian economics?” This was a great first essay prompt. It forced me to realize how different economic theories are on the same issue. Through studying the contrasting schools of economic thought, I learned to read academic materials critically and that conclusions are often not conclusive. I find this dynamic aspect one of the most enticing characteristics of economics.

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