Asia (Virtual) | Final Thoughts and Goodbye

By Julia Andborn

This is my last post about my experience attending the Asia Travel Study during Summer 2021. In this post I will summarize the entire experience of my Travel Study in Asia, especially the actual course work. I hope that the things I have mentioned about Travel Study have already convinced people to enroll in future travel studies at UCLA. But, if that wasn’t enough for you, I will also highlight why the course work shouldn’t intimidate you. 

The first two weeks we had the Business Leadership course where we had a lot of lectures on the material. However, we also had a lot of discussions regarding the material and to get to know each other better. If you are a person that is stressed about public speaking and discussions you shouldn’t be anxious about this course as it is a tight knit group that is also very nice. You will become comfortable with your classmates almost right away and the professor also made the classroom environment feel very safe. I, myself, am not the most comfortable with public speaking, but I felt very safe and comfortable. The classes were not stressful at all and I feel like this came from the professor being so understanding and friendly. Professor McCann really wanted his students to improve their communication and leadership skills and I think he did a great job by creating a safe environment for us to do so. 

The same thing goes for the last two weeks of this Travel Study, which was the Business Communication course. I definitely believe that it was a smart move to have the Business Leadership class the first week and then the Business Communication course the last two weeks because, at that point, we all already knew each other and were even more comfortable in each other’s company. I know that this class might sound terrifying to some people, but it was honestly one of the most fun and informative classes I have ever taken. We learned so much about public speaking techniques and how to structure presentations, which I believe is a really important tool to have. 

Overall, don’t let the name of these courses scare you away. Even if there are some public speaking elements the classes are not at all anxiety inducing. On the contrary, you will meet many new friends and gather information that will be useful in your future university or work career. I am so grateful that I signed up for this Travel Study because it was truly one of the best experiences I have ever had in university. I can’t even imagine how amazing it will be when it is in-person again! 

Thank you for reading my blog posts and please reach out to me if you want further information! 

Julia Andborn participated in our virtual study abroad in Asia in Summer 2021.

Asia (Virtual) | Activities! Tea Ceremony – Taekwondo – Escape Room

By Julia Andborn

This is my second to last blog post and I just wanted to share a bit more about the actual activities that we had access to and participated in during the Asia Travel Study. The company Worldstrides provided activities and executive sessions like I mentioned previously and they were great! There was a wide variety of cooking classes, an escape room to bond with the class, a virtual tour, a tea ceremony, and a taekwondo lesson. It felt like we got a taste of each country through these interactive sessions and got a glimpse of each country’s culture. I especially found the cooking classes to be super interesting, because I love food! 

To be honest, I wasn’t very knowledgeable in regards to these Asian countries prior to this Travel Study. However, this made the Travel Study even more interesting and important for me. I really learned a lot about the different cuisines of some Asian countries and I was also exposed to some of their historic cultures. 

It was also very interesting to always have the main theme be related to business and to learn how business culture works in each country and then also compare it to the US. I feel like my global mindset has definitely expanded through this knowledge and awareness. My global social capital has also expanded since I have made new friends and contacts both with fellow students, our professor, and business leaders.   

If any one of you who reads these blog posts are thinking about doing a Travel Study at UCLA, I would highly recommend it! It is so much fun to learn about different cultures, while at the same time meeting people with different backgrounds that have similar interests as you. UCLA provides a lot of Travel Study programs and if I were you, I would go check them out and plan to take one in the future. I promise, you will not regret it! 

I hope you have an awesome day and that these blog posts may have intrigued some of you to enroll in the upcoming Travel Studies provided by UCLA. 

Julia Andborn participated in our virtual study abroad in Asia in Summer 2021.

Asia (Virtual) | Business Communication

By Julia Andborn

For our Business Communication course we emphasized the importance of persuasion and how to make a speech as persuasive and clear as possible. Our final assignment was to give a persuasive speech about something. I decided to do it on why everyone should go vegan at least once a week. Building up to the day of the presentations we learned about different strategies and ways to improve our speeches. One important thing to do is explain so a child can understand. This means that we should expect the audience to have little to no knowledge regarding our topic and therefore explain it clearly. Another thing was to show confidence and try to connect with the audience and persuade them that you are in fact confident. This is through the way you speak, move, and structure your speech. The third thing was to practice, practice, practice. The better you know your presentation the more comfortable you will be with unexpected situations. 

These were just a few of the tips and tricks we learned in the Business Communications class. It was such an interesting class and I really feel more comfortable with public speaking after these past few weeks. There were only 15 people in class which made it feel safer. We also got to know each other and became more and more comfortable in front of each other, which helped a lot too. If you are a person that looks to improve your public speaking skills with a focus on the business world, I definitely recommend this course! Also, if you are a person who enjoys public speaking, I would also recommend this class since it is challenging and I will guarantee you that you will learn something new you can use when speaking in public. 

Thank you for reading my blog posts about my experience on the Asia Travel Study and if you have any questions about the courses or Travel Study you can reach out to me! This is my Instagram @juliaandborn 

I hope you have a good week and I’ll talk to you soon! 

Julia Andborn participated in our virtual study abroad in Asia in Summer 2021.

Asia (Virtual) | A Global Mindset

By Julia Andborn

In the beginning of the Business Leadership course we discussed the term global mindset. One of the biggest take-aways I have from the Travel Study “in” Asia is strategies to have a more global mindset. This essentially means to be more aware and have more knowledge regarding the world. Some strategies we learned and talked about to have a wider global mindset are global intellectual capital, global psychological capital, and global social capital. 

Global intellectual capital is the easiest to develop. To develop global intellectual capital, you can read books and newspapers from different parts of the world to understand different perspectives and events going on. You can learn about and explore cultures, histories, politics, and economic issues around the world, which improves your cosmopolitan outlook. Within global intellectual capital, you can also improve your business savvy. Meaning that you learn and conduct research on business industries and become a better player within the business world. 

Global psychological capital is the most difficult to change, since it is more about your personality. But, in order to improve and develop your global psychological capital you can travel more and visit local communities to learn about different cultures and peoples. It is about a person’s quest for adventure and willingness to be more open to different perspectives and diversity. It is a super important part of having a more global mindset and I strongly recommend traveling as much as you can because it is so fulfilling! 

Global social capital is also about meeting new and different people from around the world. It is about expanding your social network and gaining more experience with people from different backgrounds. For example, global social capital can help you be a better future leader by being able to understand all the different people in your work-place. But it is also helpful when you just want to gain new experiences and make new friends for life. 

Hopefully, this blog post about global mindset strategies was useful to some of you and that you can use these strategies to have an even wider global mindset in our very globalized world! I hope you have a great rest of your day and I’ll see you soon! 

Julia Andborn participated in our virtual study abroad in Asia in Summer 2021.

Asia (Virtual) | NPO Work in Vietnam

By Julia Andborn

During our week in Vietnam we learned about a non-profit organization that does incredibly important work in the country. The Blue Dragon Children’s Foundation works to make sure care is provided to children living in poverty. They also work to end human trafficking. Poverty is a major issue in parts of Vietnam and this impacts many children. Often the kids are forced to sell things or products in the street or at a market. This is to be able to help their parents feed them for the day. Every dollar counts for people living in poverty. Due to Covid-19, the conditions have gotten worse for them. Most locals and tourists believe that giving money to people directly is the best solution. However, this is not the case according to the Blue Dragon Children’s Foundation. This is because it encourages their behavior and incentivizes them to continue to send their kids begging and selling products on the streets. 

Blue Dragon Children’s Foundation instead tries to track and keep an eye on the kids they believe are in danger or in difficult situations, where they are either at risk of being hurt or missing out on school. They try to speak to the parents to reinstate how important school is for their children and that going to school has to be prioritized. Sometimes they also take the kids to their center where they can shower, have a snack, and perform activities with other kids. 

In terms of their human trafficking work, they have helped many girls and women in Vietnam that were trafficked to China. However, every case is different and they need to approach each situation with completely different strategies. Most of the human trafficking to China is a consequence of the one-child policy, where there is a preference for boys over girls which has caused a decline in the female population in China. The need for wives has therefore increased the numbers of women abducted and trafficked to China. Blue Dragon Children’s Foundation works with specific cases to get trafficked girls back home and hold awareness events where they teach people about the warning signs in order to prevent human trafficking. 

I hope you found this blog post interesting and if you are interested in knowing more about Blue Dragon Children’s Foundation, this is their Instagram @bluedragonchildren

Julia Andborn participated in our virtual study abroad in Asia in Summer 2021.

Asia (Virtual) | Cooking Time! Bulgogi and Bun Bo Xao

By Julia Andborn

One of my favorite things about the Asia Travel Study was that we got to experience so many different cuisines and learn how to cook some of the most known dishes for some of the countries! During our week in South Korea, we were taught to make Bulgogi. Bulgogi is a famous dish in South Korea and the word translates to “fire meat”. It contains thin slices of meat, chicken, or a vegetarian option and is often stir fried. The chef who showed us how to cook a perfect dish of bulgogi was really talented and genuine. It was so cool to see and learn what ingredients that are common to cook with in South Korea. We were also given the recipe that she followed so that we could cook it at home in the future. 

Another dish that we were taught how to cook was Bun Bo Xao during our week in Vietnam. This is a noodle salad dish that is very common in Vietnam. The cook showed us a video of her getting all the ingredients at a food market. She said that the prices compared to the US are really good, but at the same time the quality of food is superb. This is because the market wants its customers to return and buy more so it is essential for them to sell quality ingredients. It looked amazing when she cooked this dish and it also didn’t take too much time. I therefore decided to follow the same recipe as her and cook the dish the day after. It turned out so good and I strongly recommend to either cook Bun Bo Xao or look into other Vietnamese food! 

I am really grateful for the Asia Travel Study because without it I wouldn’t have learned about some of the cultures of the countries we went into depth with. I also want to take this opportunity to thank all the people who cooked, performed ceremonies, and presented information to us in the class. They were all very knowledgeable and enthusiastic about their subjects, which made me even more intrigued to learn! 

Julia Andborn participated in our virtual study abroad in Asia in Summer 2021.

Asia (Virtual) | Leadership and Entrepreneurship

By Julia Andborn

For the Leadership course we emphasized persuasion strategies that are very useful in business. To become a good leader and persuade others you should show expertise and knowledge, find a common ground and create likeability, put in a lot of effort and time into tasks, and be friendly yet assertive. We learned more about these strategies during the executive sessions. For example, during one executive session Ben Foden from Nota Inc. talked about the company and how they managed to grow. Nota Inc. is a start-up tech company located in Japan and started in Silicon Valley. They focus on making it easier and faster to share ideas via their apps. Another speaker was Thomas Sommer from Sparkgate Entertainment, which is located in South Korea. They are a human-focused agency for performers. They have, for example, created a music video for BlackPink. Another executive session where we learned more about how to grow as a company and how to make it as a start-up was Michael Cluzel from Eatigo, which is an app for restaurant reservations throughout Asia. It was really fascinating to hear all their stories and to actually hear about success stories in the business and leadership world. I am really interested in entrepreneurship so these executive sessions really made the entire study abroad experience even better! 

It was also fun to see the differences between these companies and how they had to adapt to the business culture of the different countries they operated in. For example, Sparkgate Entertainment tried to combine the music industry of the West with South Korea. The music industry in the West, or the US, is more individual in general. Meaning that artists are allowed to do what they want outside of their music career and be freer with their image. While in South Korea it is more common for artists to be formed by their agencies and stick to that image throughout their career. Sparkgate Entertainment is then trying to bring these two strategies together and create a middle ground for their artists. I found this really interesting since that might make their music and artists reach out to a bigger and more varied crowd around the world. 

Hope you found this interesting to read. Talk to you next time! 

Julia Andborn participated in our virtual study abroad in Asia in Summer 2021.

Asia (Virtual) | South Korea and K-Pop

By Julia Andborn

The first week of the IAS-Asia Travel Study was enriching, informative, and interesting! We learned a lot about South Korea and especially about the culture of how to conduct business in the country. We discussed the differences between the US and South Korea and how the countries do business differently, but also the similarities between the two nations. A major difference is the way South Korea in general focuses a lot on business relationships. The people invest time and want to build trust. For example, they often go to multiple lunches prior to deciding if they want to conduct business together. Americans are often more focused on the actual business straight away. 

It was really fascinating to learn more about how South Korea does business and we even had the incredible opportunity to hear about it from a person that works with a South Korean company. The first executive session was with Thomas Sommer, CFO and co-founder of Sparkgate Entertainment. Sparkgate Entertainment is a production agency that works with artists. This company combines the South Korean and American way of shaping artists in the music industry. The South Korean music industry is more focused on forming artists, while the American one allows the artists to be more independent. Sparkgate Entertainment is using both frameworks to get the best of both worlds. For example, Thomas Sommer and Sparkgate Entertainment were part of creating the music video for “Ice Cream” by BlackPink which is really cool! 

It was very interesting and fun to learn more about K-pop since it is such a big phenomenon nowadays. The focus on how the culture in South Korea differs from the US shows how it is important to have different business models for the artists to break through. It was also educational to hear how Sommer and Sparkgate Entertainment have combined the two models to reach even more people around the globe. I had not really listened to K-pop before this travel study, but I have now started to listen more to bands like BTS and BlackPink. I hope you enjoyed some of the things we did throughout the first week! Talk to you soon! 

Julia Andborn participated in our virtual study abroad in Asia in Summer 2021.

Asia (Virtual) | Starting My Journey

By Julia Andborn

Hi everyone! My name is Julia Andborn and I am a rising senior. My major is Global Studies and my minor is Global Health. I am also both an international student from Sweden and a transfer student. I am one of the ambassadors for the travel study programs this summer! I attended the IAS-Asia Travel Study. The program lasted for 4 weeks and contained 2 classes; a Business Leadership course and a Business Communications class. Robert (Bob) McCann was our professor and really taught and inspired us with his knowledge through his lectures. There were 14 students in this online travel study so we really got to know each other which made the entire experience so much fun. We “traveled” to South Korea, Japan, Vietnam, and Thailand. In addition to our lectures, the company Worldstrides also prepared fun, engaging, and interesting activities in the different countries throughout the week. I will explain the different activities in more depth in future blog posts, but some of them were tours, tea ceremonies, taekwondo, and cooking lessons. 

We started the week by having a 3-hour lecture where we introduced each other, went over the logistics, and started our journey in South Korea. Later that same day we did a virtual escape room to further get to know each other. This was so much fun and helped us to learn more about each other. Even though everything obviously was online due to Covid-19, Professor McCann and the wonderful people at Worldstrides really made the entire experience awesome. It almost felt as if we were together, even though everyone attended from the comfort of their own homes.  

I hope these blog posts inspire some people to attend future travel studies as it was one of the best experiences I have had. It was really great to do it online, but I am sure it will be even better when it’s conducted in-person in the future. I hope everyone has had an amazing summer just like I have and I look forward to sharing my experiences and new found love for these countries. See you! 

Julia Andborn participated in our virtual study abroad in Asia in Summer 2021.