Reflective Essay on Studying in an International Environment

Paper Type:  Dissertation
Pages:  6
Wordcount:  1446 Words
Date:  2022-07-29


The opportunity to pursue my studies in an international environment and a foreign country, far away from my home, has provided me with a life-changing experience that has so far had a positive impact in my life. This experience has touched so many facets of my life and, thus, has wholesomely built me. Some of the enriching experiences and skills acquired during my six-months study include broadened worldview and way of thinking linked to the firsthand experience of diverse cultures, appreciation of the unique strengths and perspectives of different cultures, improved cultural sensitivity skills, enhanced team building skills, and refined presentation skills. The international experience also shaped my academic and career goals as manifested through my enhanced knowledge in research and my desire to pursue a doctorate degree in International Hospitality Business.

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The opportunity to study in the international environment also had its own unique challenges. The main challenges faced included cultural shock attributable to differences in culture and religion between my home country and Switzerland. These challenges aside, the master's degree program equipped me with industry-relevant leadership and management theories as well as their applications in day to day running of hospitality companies.

The Impact of International Environment on My Experience and Development of Skills

I would like to say that studying in an international environment broadened my worldview and way of thinking by enabling me to experience different cultures firsthand. As an aspiring global leader of a business organization or company, knowledge of different cultures will be helpful in the successful running of the organization. Specifically, learning in an international environment has made me more culturally diverse. By closely working with my colleagues from diverse cultures in completing projects and assignments related to the course, I have come to understand that there are power and strength in cultural diversity. That is, if cultural groups join forces together, there is an increased likelihood of reaching common goals faster and more effectively than when each of the groups works in isolation. Following my engagement with students from diverse cultures, I have also come to the realization that strong and powerful communities that can impart a significant change in their operation can be built by incorporating large numbers of individuals derived from diverse backgrounds.

More important, regarding cultural diversity, the international environment experience enabled me to appreciate the unique strengths and perspectives that individuals from diverse cultures can bring on board. I learned that these unique strengths and perspectives could be harnessed for the overall benefit of the larger community. This is because cultural diversity is associated with a wide range of wisdom, customs, ideas, and opinions that are helpful in solving problems and enriching community life. That is, the opportunity to work with students from different cultural backgrounds enabled me to have a firsthand experience of fresh perspectives and new ways of doing things necessary for solving tough problems.

The opportunity to study with students from diverse cultural backgrounds has also equipped with cultural sensitivity skills, also known as cultural competence. Specifically, understanding different cultures have made me be a more effective communicator in a culturally diverse environment. At first, when I was new in the university, communicating in a diverse multicultural environment was difficult and often ended in awkward experiences. However, this changed with time and I, eventually, became a competent communicator in such settings. For example, I understood that what appears to be normal in one cultural group might be meaningless and offensive in another group. Consequently, I strengthened my interpersonal communication skills over time.

My team building skills were greatly nurtured and built following my studies in an international environment. First, I learnt that to build effective teams, it is mandatory to have effective communication skills. Specifically, I realized that building a united team requires strong verbal and written communication skills needed to explain to members the team's tasks and goals. Through effective communication skills, I came to learn that any problem that arose between and among team members can be easily resolved. Additionally, I came to an understanding that effective problem solving can be attained through each team members ability to feel heard, thus the need for good listening skills. Some of the listening skills learned as a result of by involved in various teams throughout my course include the need to be attentive but relaxed, delegation, and providing feedback. It is also important to point out that my experience with team building a diverse setting provided me with both a challenging and valuable experience. This is because of the need to have a culturally appropriate way of solving any conflicts that may arise in diverse settings.

I also want to state that the opportunity to learn in an international environment gave me a rare chance for leadership development fostered by interactions with different cultures. More specifically, by interacting with students of diverse cultural backgrounds, I realized that cultural diversity could be harnessed for the benefits of a team. The international learning environment was also a perfect opportunity for personal and professional growth. Specifically, by learning in a diverse learning environment with students from across the world, I developed a global outlook on life. Because of this, I strongly believe that I am on a journey towards becoming a globally minded professional.

Opportunities for class demonstrations provided in the master's course enabled me to also hone presentation skills, especially the ability to communicate effectively with colleagues and a wider audience in diverse media. Consequently, I strongly believe that I am in a position to take up any position which requires excellent communication skills during my internship and in the future as well.

How My Academic/Career Goals Developed After Completing the MSc Study

My academic goals were largely shaped through the rich experience provided by the university's highly experienced team of lecturers. I want to admit that through the help of my lecturers, I was able to nurture competence in diverse areas of academics in my during the MSc study. However, I want to emphasize that through the opportunity to conduct research, I became knowledgeable and skilled in empirical research. Following this, my academic goal of pursuing a doctorate degree in International Hospitality Business Management.

My aspiration of pursuing a doctorate degree in International Hospitality Business Management can be attributed to many factors. First, by pursuing a doctoral program, I hope to obtain advanced and industry-relevant knowledge and skills needed to solve contemporary challenges in the hospitality sector. I am particularly interested in examining the challenge of staff retention and recruitment in the hospitality industry with the aim of ensuring that the problem of employee turnover in the industry is reduced. I am particularly interested in looking for solutions for employee turnover because of the adverse impacts it has on the industry, such as decreased profitability and unpredictability of investment.

Upon my graduation, I also hope to continue adding acquiring more industry-relevant skills. I am particularly interested in ensuring that I perfect those skills that I am not currently well-versed in, especially the use of statistical software to solve various problems currently experience in the industry. I am especially interested in learning to use SPSS and Minitab; some of the industry-leading software in statistical data analysis.

Upon completion of the doctorate degree program, I also hope to pursue a career in teaching as a lecturer in my home country. This will enable me to nurture the future leaders of the hospitality industry. I am particularly passionate in ensuring that there is a robust hospitality program in my home country, which currently underdeveloped. Through this, I hope to ensure that the curriculum and content taught is relevant to Saudi Arabia. I believe that my having country-relevant solutions to hospitality industry problems, there will be faster and sustainable growth in the industry. This is primarily because the international solutions to problems in the industry are not always relevant to local contexts.

Apart from my academic goal of pursuing a doctorate degree in hospitality, my current career goal is to seek for an employment opportunity in a reputable hospitality firm where I can utilize my current knowledge and skills to ensure that the objectives and goals of such an organization or firm are realized. I am particularly interested in utilizing my MSc skills to ensure that as a prospective leader or a manager, the decisions that I make are evidence-based and based on the findings of the most recent empirical studies.

Challenges Faced in my International Studies

In spite of the tremendous advantages that a student obtains when completing his studies at an international university, acquiring scientific and practical experience, in addition to the distinguished social center and job opportunities available in distinguishe...

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