The worldwide corporation is one of hundreds that seek out highly motivated students, like Lane, who know about international business and relations.
Especially since the technological boom, the job market has become increasingly globalized. To stay competitive in a global labor market, more students find it essential to study abroad to gain cultural prospective, knowledge and language skills.
The amount of students studying abroad has quadrupled since 1975, according to the 2011 Education at a Glance report. In 2009, about 3.7 million students studied in a foreign country compared to 800,000 in 1975.
“This growth has accelerated since the late 1990s, mirroring the processes of economic and social globalization,” the report said.
Students who benefit most from international studies are the ones who immerse in the culture and take advantage of educational opportunities. Lane focused hard on his business education while he lived with a host family and tried to speak Spanish the majority of the time.
Lane, a senior economics major at Santa Clara University in California, went to Madrid during the fall 2010 semester. He arrived at a time when Spain and a handful of other countries were experiencing budget deficit troubles.
Lane saw strikes and demonstrations in response to the country’s economic turmoil. He particularly remembers the Spaniard’s opposition to Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero during the National Day Parade, which is held annually in October. The Spanish whistled when Zapatero came through the procession, which is equivalent to an American booing, Lane said.
“It was interesting to be in class and talk about the economic crisis and then be able to go out and see a parade that weekend where people are demonstrating because they can’t find jobs,” Lane said.
Three weeks before Lane started studying in Madrid, he took a pre-trial seminar across Europe that allowed him to tour large corporations — like Airbus, Heineken and Mercedes — and government institutions — such as the World Trade Organization, the UN and the European Central Bank. Some of the companies were located in France, Germany, Switzerland and Amsterdam.
Lane remembers his experience at a Mercedes truck manufacturing plant in Germany. Lane saw how the vehicles were made and later ate lunch with the plant workers.
“We talked about labor unions and what their working conditions were like,” Lane said. “It fascinated me how much workers said they were taken care of and were paid. Workers seemed satisfied.”
During his interview for a 2011 summer internship with Apple, Lane was able to show the company how he understood the global impacts of a corporation. He landed the internship and has since been invited to join the finance team full-time after he graduates in June 2012.
“I made it a goal to gain a better global understanding of our world problems beyond what we are seeing in the news,” Lane said. “Companies look for applicants who can find solutions to these problems and create change.”
Studying abroad wasn’t the only thing that helped Lane, a Seattle native, land a job with Apple. He is a highly motivated student who earns good grades and is involved with his campus community, said Brenda Versteeg, assistant director of undergraduate business programs at Santa Clara University.
“I think the Madrid program helped Todd to broaden his global prospective on business,” Versteeg said. “Students come back from study abroad with a renewed energy about their education.”
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