“A lot of big companies are moving into Asia right now because they realize it’s a huge market, but they aren’t very familiar with the culture or how to be successful,” says the finance and Chinese and Japanese studies major. “I’ll be based in Hong Kong, and travel five or six days a week to China, Australia and other countries in Asia and the Middle East.”
The possibility of an international business career has appealed to Meals for a long time, and the Meguiar’s internship could turn into a full-time position with Meguiar’s after he graduates in December. Long-term, Meals aims to become a leader in helping businesses succeed in the Chinese market.
“I’d like to be the go-to guy for companies that are looking at expanding into China and need someone who can help them understand finance, marketing and other business operations from a Chinese perspective,” Meals said.
Valpo’s combination of international study opportunities, a large population of international students on campus (approximately 400 international students from more than 50 countries), and the integration of global studies throughout the academic program and campus activities prepares many students for an increasingly global work environment.
Several of Valpo’s May graduates will be working and studying overseas.
Luis Sifuentes, an international business and Chinese and Japanese studies major will be working with the Japan Exchange Teachers Program for at least one year.
“This program gives me the chance to learn more about the Japanese culture as I am completely immersed in the culture,” Sifuentes said. “I have always been interested in working internationally but I haven't decided if I would like to spend a large portion of my time directly overseas. I eventually want to study international law or continue with international business so it very well may be the case that I will continue to work internationally in the future. “
Sifuentes says the opportunities Valpo offers to learn about other cultures outside of coursework – such as the annual World Banquet cultural festival, Chinese New Year Dinner, Saudi Festival and International Film Festival – are invaluable.
“Outside of the classroom Valpo did a great job of connecting traditional students with international students,” he said. “There are an array of events that focused on other countries and I learned a lot from those experiences."
Kelsey Howard studied at Valpo’s Cambridge Study Center in England in fall 2008 and will return to Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge to pursue her master’s degree in intercultural communication in September.
I fell in love with Cambridge during my junior year experience,” Howard said. “I would love to work either domestically or abroad in the future, as long as I still have the opportunity to travel and create conversation between cultures for students and educators around the world.”
Meals said his experience at Valpo’s Hangzhou Study Center also was a turning point for him.
“Learning a new language put me out of my comfort zone,” Meals said. “But I pushed on through and gradually became more comfortable with Chinese. Then, during my semester in China, everything snapped into place because we had to speak Chinese to get by.”
Beyond that semester’s classes and field trips, Meals and his fellow students also tutored Chinese children.
“I tutored Dong Dong, a third grader from a tea farming family,” Meals said. “We would study, talk and hang out every week, which was a great way for us to learn from each other.”
Since his fall 2008 semester, Meals has returned to China five times and talks weekly via Skype with his Chinese friends who graduated from Valpo and have since returned.
“The diversity of professors in the College of Business Administration has been great,” Meals said. “I’ve had American, Chinese and Turkish professors and each one of them has a different perspective on business in different cultures. That, combined with the real world experience that they can bring into the classroom, has been incredibly beneficial.”
May 20: Concert - Leipzig, Lutherkirche (7:30 p.m.)
May 23: Service - Seyda (10 a.m.) and Gentha (1 p.m.)
May 24: Concert – Rottenburg am Neckar, Wallfahrtskirche Weggental (7 p.m.)
May 25: Choral Workshop – Rottenburg am Neckar (9:30 a.m.)
May 26: Concert - Bernburg, Schlosskirche (7:30 p.m.)
May 27: Concert - Köthen, St. Agnus kirche (7:30 p.m.)
May 28 - Service - Leipzig, Thomaskirche (5 p.m.)
May 29 - Cantata - Leipzig, Thomaskirche (3 p.m.)
May 30 - Service - Leipzig, Thomaskirche 10 (a.m.)