I’ve been home for 5 days now, and in these 5 days, I’ve felt like the MARK 561 course was almost a dream. My personal journey with this course started back in January 2012. I attended an information session for Loyola’s Graduate School of Business. I was particularly interested in the study abroad opportunities, since this was something I had never experienced with my undergraduate program. Professor Clifford Shultz was introduced during the session, and he spoke about his recent return from taking the 2012 class to Southeast Asia. We viewed a quick video clip of the trip, and in that instant I knew. Something inside me said that I would be going on that trip one day.
Fast forward to August 2012. I eagerly awaited the announcement from Loyola on where the Winter Quarter study abroad class would take place. When MARK 561 was announced, I signed up as soon as I could. Having been to S. Korea once in my life, I was eager to return to Asia and learn more from other countries there.
During the trip, each city we visited was a very different experience for me, each one of them priceless. In Vietnam, I was so intrigued by their business community and how almost everyone is a small business owner. I was moved to tears the day we visited the War Remnants Museum and the Cu Chi Tunnels. I can’t even fathom what it must have been like to be living in Vietnam during the war. In Cambodia, I had a mix of shock, awe and curiosity. I was shocked when we saw the floating villages and the homes along Tonle Sap lake. I was in awe over the beauty of Angkor Wat and all of the temples we saw. My curiosity stemmed from wondering what the future holds for Cambodia’s people and economy. I cried when I heard Bunthin’s (our guide) story about surviving during the reign of the Khmer Rouge and during the war. Finally, I was only in Bangkok for 36 hours, but during those hours I felt a strong connection to our guide, Tuk. She had a deep pride and love for her country, this was obvious, and she so badly wanted to share it with us.
I was lucky to be able to go on the excursion to Phuket, which was not part of the official class, but it was a wonderful opportunity to further bond with my classmates. Phuket is quite possibly the most beautiful place I’ve ever seen in the world.
My advice to anyone considering taking this course: If you’re even thinking about it, DO IT. Professor Shultz knows each country well (perhaps better than he knows Chicago…his words, not mine), and he will show you a learning experience like no other. When the course is done, you’ll walk away with stories that you’ll one day tell your grandchildren. You’ll have more pictures than you know what to do with, and you’ll have 20+ new friends to share the memories with.