Better than the Beach
Brittany Torres Dives into Cougar Culture, Study Abroad Opportunities
When California native Brittany Torres chose Washington State University over other beachy colleges located on the shores of her golden state, it confused many of her friends and family. But it was love at first sight when she visited Pullman and experienced firsthand what she describes as a huge cloud of Cougar pride hanging over the campus.
She knew immediately that she wanted to be part of that culture and later found the Carson College of Business accounting program to be a good fit for her strong interest in math, a choice she has never regretted.
As she worked toward her accounting degree and considered how to fulfill the international learning requirement, she jumped at the chance to study abroad.
Scholarships enable study abroad
“When I weighed the options of doing an internship versus study abroad, there was no way I was going to pass up the opportunity to visit another country since I had never been outside of the United States,” she says. “I had to seize the opportunity. Knowing that I could possibly get the help I needed from scholarships and financial aid encouraged my desire to go even more.”
Torres says she felt very comfortable because of the resources provided by the Carson Center for Student Success, from help with the application process to several meetings with fellow students and faculty participants. She also received the Merl M. Mayo Memorial Scholarship, which helped offset her travel costs.
Immersion builds global business knowledge
Torres studied abroad at the Universidad Politècnica de València in Valencia, Spain and says the opportunity taught her more then she could have learned in a Pullman classroom.
“Instead of just hearing about the differences in cultures and customs, studying and living in Spain actually forced me to experience it firsthand,” she says. “This taught me to learn their customs really quickly and, most valuably, to respect them.”
In particular, two projects greatly improved her knowledge of international business.
The first involved bringing to market a product or service from the States to Spain or vice versa. Her group decided on the idea of bringing an American breakfast restaurant to Spain, a challenging venture because breakfast is not very popular in Spain. She says the project brought to light what is involved in convincing consumers to switch their habits, a valuable learning experience for future marketing and business professionals. The second project taught her important differences between European Union and American intellectual property laws. For example, while laws regarding trademark protection are very similar, U.S. copyright laws distinguish between individual and corporate owners, while the European Union’s do not.
“This course wasn’t just for educational purposes but actually provided real-life knowledge that should be known if we should partake in any kind of business,” she says.
Seize the opportunity
Torres believes that all business students should study abroad if they have the opportunity.
“I met so many people from all around the world—Australia, Ireland, England, Canada, Scotland, Italy, and so many other places. It was the most amazing experience I have ever had in college, and I would do it again in a heartbeat. If students even think they want to study abroad, I would say definitely go for it. There are ways to get help, financially, if that is a main factor in deciding on whether or not to go.”
To learn more about Carson College of Business’s study abroad opportunities, contact Jessica Cassleman, assistant dean and director of the Carson College of Business International Business Institute, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 509-335-1246.