It may seem early for new MIM students to start thinking about the Asia Trip for 2014, but by the time classes start it will seem like a whirlwind until that first plane ride to Japan. Below are some travel tips and things new students should begin to consider during this fall.
First Things First
Late this fall all MIM students will have a meeting with Rachel Foxhoven, our Program Administrator who plans the trip, to receive more details on the overall voyage. Two points of interest must be decided by the students soon after the meeting: roommates and the trip extension. Last year, many students began pairing up immediately following the meeting, so new students may want to start thinking about who to room with during classes this fall. As for the trip extension, there is an optional fourth week of travel for interested students (last year we went to Cambodia and Thailand). For those not taking this extra trip, you can either go home immediately after the three-week tour, or travel on your own until the return flight with the other students. Since tickets must be booked far in advance, all students should begin thinking about which option they wish to pursue.
Nuts and Bolts
There are a million small details that you need to consider before embarking on this trip, but your first priority should be cash. Many students will exchange money as they go, but I find it cheaper to exchange money beforehand, avoiding the bank and credit card fees involved. A few Travelex exchange centers are located around Portland, or if you have a AAA membership you can go to the nearest AAA location and exchange currency there. Make sure you give yourself plenty of time before the trip in case it takes awhile for your currency to arrive. Ordering Vietnamese Dong through AAA took about three weeks for me last year.
Of course, knowing about how much to take with you is another important component of the trip, and one that is quite variable. Attempt to make a rough budget of your expenses before you take off, note that all breakfasts and some lunches are provided for, but the rest is up to you (being resourceful, you can find cheap to fine dining in every city). Also, make sure to allot some cash to any specific purchases you plan on making. As for myself, I put aside some money for a custom tailored suit in Vietnam. All in all, I spent about $2000 during my three-week trip for food, souvenirs, and sight-seeing.
During the trip you will be visiting companies almost everyday in formal suit attire. Most students bring two or three full suits with plenty of shirts to change through, but if you plan on paying for laundry services, you may be able to get away with less clothing. Note that dress shoes and jackets are a standard for everyone, and if women plan on wearing skirts, tights are also required. If you need some of these items, now is the time to go shopping!
Another piece of advice is to plan for your downtime as students have at least one free day in each city, and most nights are free as well. Once you know where you’re staying, check out the surrounding area online and figure out where you might want to go. Trying to plan your free day the night before can be stressful and take up time you could be using to explore the city. Take advantage of where you are and see the sights!
Juli Tejadilla is a full-time student in the Masters of International Management program. She previously graduated with two Bachelor of Arts in Marketing and Studio Art from Linfield College. While her interest in international business began as an undergraduate student, she has been traveling around the world since she was nine months old. Her travels have taken her all across Western Europe, the Caribbean, Australia, New Zealand, Argentina, and most recently to Japan, China, and Vietnam. She hopes through the MIM program to learn key insights to conduct business internationally and to establish herself as a global citizen.