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Neeley Experience: Student Study Abroad Expands Exposure to Authenticity, Culture

To gain a global perspective of the professional business world, TCU Neeley students have an opportunity to travel to Asia, Europe, South America and more through study abroad programs in short- and long-term commitments. Learn about Matt Fitzgerald’s experience in Spain this summer.

June 22, 2023

Matt Fitzgerald headshotMatt Fitzgerald, senior majoring in Business Information Systems from Queens, New York

Where did you travel for this study abroad opportunity?
We travelled to Madrid, Spain, and were there for approximately 2 weeks, from May 15-29.

What made you decide to participate in this study abroad opportunity this summer?
I wanted to experience a new country, while also getting credit for a class. I have heard great things about all the study abroad opportunities that TCU has, but the financial aid provided by TCU was what really enabled me to actually go. I also didn’t want to do an entire semester, and this was the perfect length to get the experience but also not be gone for too long.

How did you learn that TCU Neeley offers study abroad experiences?
I was told about the opportunity multiple times throughout my tenure at Neeley, whether it be from classes or professors mentioning it or students talking about their experiences. There is also a lot of media shown throughout Neeley that promote it.

Matt and fellow TCU student at Mercado San Miguel in MadridHave you ever traveled out of the country?
Yes, I have traveled multiple times out of the country, some for leisure and some for work. I have been to Canada, Ireland, England, and Japan before this trip to Spain.

How has studying abroad influenced your professional goals or personal aspirations?
Studying abroad has helped me to gain further insight into different cultures and how they all work together internationally, as well as some of the challenges that come with international business and how to go about handling it in the most effective way. I think it did a good job of letting me know what doing business internationally entails and reassured my personal aspirations of wanting to work with international businesses.

Was there a business experience that impressed you?
Overall, the company visits and speakers impressed me. It was very cool to see so many different industries and the different life cycles of the companies. For instance, we got to see large corporations, such as Aena and LG, but also smaller companies that were relatively new, such as Tetuan Valley. We were able to see how they functioned and handled the culture of Spain, which is different from the U.S.

In what ways did you see culture impacting business practices?
Culture greatly impacted business, at least in Spain. Being that they are high context when compared to the United States, which is more low context, the nature of the work that is done there and the priorities regarding business practices are more people-related, as opposed to work-related. Relationships and building trust with others matter much more in Spain than in the U.S., where the work being done is the end goal and relationships aren’t as impactful as long as the work is completed, or the deal is struck.

Matt and two other fellow students in the soccer stadium

Did you see any common themes or trending topics as you visited businesses and corporations in Spain?
Sustainability was a very large trend, so large in fact that every group in our class included it in one way or another into our final presentations. It was very interesting to see that nearly every company we visited had some sort of dedicated objective to make both themselves as a company and the companies they work with more environmentally friendly and sustainable.

Is there anything else you’d like to add about your student abroad experience this summer?
I think that it was a great overall experience, and I would like to thank TCU for giving me the opportunity and ability to go on this trip with the financial support that enabled me to afford it. I would highly recommend for all students to try to get a study abroad experience in one way or another throughout their time in college. It built camaraderie and gave us new perspectives on pertinent subjects related to our degree.