Opinion: Educational Immersion: Studying Abroad in Asia Post-Covid
By Jackson Dino, Guest Columnist
The approval of a Gettysburg College-sanctioned study abroad program in Singapore is imminent. A new opportunity is presented to the Gettysburg College body; one that I intend to take full advantage of, and one that many other of my peers should strongly contemplate. It serves as both a broadening of academic opportunities in an area lacking on campus and the chance to immerse oneself in a captivating region and culture.
As both the President of the Finance & Investment Club and Chairman of the Economics Department Student Advisory Committee, I have been vocal on campus regarding my distaste for the lack of financial coursework within the Gettysburg curriculum. The College offers two finance classes within the Economics Department: ECON-267, Finance, and ECON-367, Applied Finance, taught by Lecturer Drew Murphy. Though Professor Murphy does a stellar job within the frameworks of the classes, I, and numerous other Gettysburg students, would desire the chance to further specialize in the growing and ever-evolving industry. Standalone Financial Accounting and Investment Management classes offered in the Management Department represent the only alternative opportunities for additional academic immersion. Though I have secured a competitive internship as a Enterprise Credit Summer Analyst at Bank of America’s New York City office, I know that more coursework in the field could only serve to benefit the career prospects of my peers.
Bridging this “knowledge gap” will be the new Singapore study abroad program. Ranked as the freest marketplace in the world by the Heritage Foundation’s 2022 Index of Economic Freedom, and positioned as one of the Four Asian Tiger economies, the island nation may be the best possible study-abroad location for financially and economically minded students. The nation boasts a highly developed free-market underpinned by a lack of tariffs, a transparent legal and governing structure as well as a lax regulatory atmosphere. This environment has spurred tremendous growth in the nation, and they now maintain one of the highest GDP per capita rankings in the world ($97,057). Between the Finance coursework and the internship component of the Singapore program’s curriculum, my knowledge of the industry will undoubtedly be advanced.
Singapore will serve as a tremendous location for studying beyond mere academics. I will be able to immerse myself in Asian culture, which will be an incredibly distinctive experience relative to studying abroad in Europe. Learning Mandarin will further boost my professional credentials. Singapore is also well-positioned as a hub for travel within eastern Asia, with countries like Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia and Vietnam located in close proximity. Though Singapore island itself only occupies 270 square miles, it features a diverse geography, ranging from the downtown, highly-developed and technologically advanced business district to dense tropical forests in the northern region.
Like many other Gettysburg students, my personal study abroad plans have evolved over time. During my sophomore year of College, I had been determined to study abroad in the popular CET Shanghai program. My plans were disrupted, however, by COVID-19-related geopolitical tensions that witnessed the effective cancellation of the opportunity. Serving as Treasurer of my fraternity, Alpha Chi Rho, further delayed my hopes to leave the country, as did an unsuccessful campaign for the chapter’s presidency. These setbacks proved to be valuable lessons in delayed gratification. In retrospect, I am grateful for these delays, as they set me on a path where I am now able to take full advantage of the impending Singapore program.
Now, with my senior fall approaching, I am seizing on the chance to explore one of the world’s most fascinating countries and regions in Singapore. Gettysburg students of all backgrounds should be encouraged to do the same.
This article originally appeared on page 13 of the February 2023 edition of The Gettysburgian’s magazine.