Senior Rachel Richardson doesn’t like to stay put for very long. The consumer economics and finance major has taken advantage of study abroad programs at U of I not once, but three times since her freshman year. That year, she traveled with a group to the Dominican Republic to learn about tropical agriculture through the ACES Discovery program. In her sophomore year, Rachel visited four European countries with fellow students in the College of ACES International Business Immersion Program. For the third trip, she was ready to go it alone. She enrolled in a semester-long study abroad program at the University of Adelaide in Australia.
“Studying abroad was a way for me to experience something on my own without my family’s influence or the formal structure of a faculty-led course,” Rachel says. “I’ve always wanted to go to Australia. Since it’s culturally similar to the U.S. and I didn’t have to learn a new language, I figured it would be a good choice for the first time I went abroad by myself.”
Rachel chose to spend the semester in Adelaide, in the state of South Australia. There, she enrolled in courses on the Australian economy and international finance.
“I had a good foundation from my courses at U of I, but it was interesting learning economics and finance concepts from the Australian perspective,” Rachel says.
While her coursework was useful, Rachel’s most memorable experiences involved the relationships she formed with the people she lived, studied, and traveled with. Her five roommates hailed from Britain, Hong Kong, China, and Jordan, and she formed friendships with local Australians through her classes. Rachel and her friends traveled throughout Australia to the Great Barrier Reef, Uluru (Ayers Rock), Victoria’s Great Ocean Road, Perth, and more.
“I think living abroad and having friends from all over really helps me relate better to people from different communities, cultures, and backgrounds,” Rachel notes.
Undoubtedly, the experience will give her a solid foundation for her future career in international business. “No matter what kind of job I get, I want to keep traveling and meeting people from other places,” she says.