Three semesters abroad and two degrees mark Srishti Srivastava's Loyola experience
Srishti Srivastava (BBA ’21) knew that college would be the best time to live and travel abroad. When she discovered the U.S./Europe Double Degree program through Quinlan, she knew it was the right opportunity for her.
U.S./Europe Double Degree students earn a U.S. BBA and an official European degree, study abroad at the John Felice Rome Center for one semester and at the Universidad Loyola Andalucía in Spain for one academic year, and still graduate in four years.
Below, Srivastava shares why she joined the double degree program and reflects on what she has learned.
Why the U.S./Europe Double Degree program?
I actually decided to go to Loyola because of the program. I had been researching Loyola and found the webpage that said I could earn two degrees during my time at Loyola and study abroad for three semesters. It sounded like a cool program, and as I did more research, I realized it was a very unique opportunity.
I’ve always wanted to travel around Europe, and I know that it gets much harder after college to carve out time for travelling, so this felt like my only real chance to live in Europe.
What have you learned?
I first realized while I was in Rome at JFRC everything I was learning just from travelling. Even while I was living on campus there, there was so much I was learning about myself and about people in general that you just can’t learn in school.
I learned how to be comfortable in uncomfortable situations. It’s scary but fun to be in a country where you don’t know the language even a little bit. Like I know some French and I learned Spanish over the course of the program but when I travelled to Germany, I knew nothing. But you find ways to work around those issues and still meet people and learn things.
I think my situational awareness and critical thinking definitely improved. Once you step out of your bubble, there’s a lot to learn and experience. And I also found that it’s easy to get stuck if you don’t throw yourself into new situations to learn more. A lot of people want to travel and learn about other cultures but never do. You have to have the drive to learn more and push yourself to travel and go for it.
Were there any surprises?
One that caught me off guard was how nice everyone was. I had heard that Europeans didn’t like Americans and I expected people to be kind of indifferent. But everyone was so nice! I think if you’re respectful and curious to actually learn about their culture, people are much more welcoming. Everyone I met was excited to show me more about their culture and share.
How will the program help your career?
I’m planning on going on to my master’s degree in marketing or international business. Through this program, I’ve had the opportunity to learn how business works globally and that sparked my interest. I would like to live and work abroad after school and having degrees from both the U.S. and Europe makes it a bit easier if I were to apply to jobs in Europe. I see the degrees as a stepping-stone to living abroad.
I’m also interested in sustainability in business. I think we’re at a tipping point and climate change needs to be tackled on a global scale. I want to be a part of that change.
Why should students consider the double degree?
I think it’s a conversation starter – with fellow students, professors, and most importantly employers. It shows that you’re adaptable and can collaborate with others and can work well with other cultures. Implicitly, you communicate that you have good soft skills and are good with people. Any time you can show you’re a responsible global citizen is a good thing.
What was your favorite part?
The independent travel was awesome. I was abroad for two and a half semesters before being sent home in March when the pandemic hit.
I spent a lot of time in both Italy and Spain while I lived there but I also went to other countries around Europe. It was incredible to get the tiniest taste of different cultures and it definitely sparked my interests to go back and learn more.
Some of my favorite independent travels I did were paragliding in Interlaken, Switzerland, touring the Scottish Highlands, and hiking in Capri. The climb to the top of the mountain was brutal but so gratifying when I reached the top.