Student view:

Valerie McNamara: Embracing new opportunities

Valerie McNamara is a freshman studying international relations with plans to also pursue a business degree. She hopes to make an impact on international business and has already gained a unique experience by studying abroad during her first year. Valerie was recently featured on the globalEDGE Business Beat podcast to talk about her time abroad and her future plans.

When I visited MSU as a junior in high school, I fell in love with it. The campus was sprawling and beautiful; it seemed like wherever we went, we were always taking the scenic route. I knew then that MSU was where I wanted to be for the next four years.

As I start my second semester here, I have already embraced many new opportunities. This past summer — prior to starting my first semester — I attended a freshman seminar abroad in Ireland to study globalization and business. I played around with the idea of going abroad and even joked about how awesome it would be with friends before applying to the program. Before I knew it, I was on a plane going to a new country with 29 strangers that I had just met two days earlier.

The journey itself was exciting and new. While in Ireland, I was able to learn about globalization — how the world is interconnected through global business — while also experiencing a new culture and meeting friends that I’ve kept well into the school year. I was able to learn time management, creating fast relationships while balancing school and the excitement of learning about a new culture. All of these things have helped me transition into life as a Spartan, especially with the work I am currently doing through the International Business Center.

Through the Broad Scholars Program, I work on the globalEDGE website for the International Business Center at MSU. The website provides information for businesses that want to expand into international markets. I do research on different countries and the latest business news. I also contribute to the website’s blog each week, writing about international market news. This opportunity has helped me gain a larger perspective of the world and gain a deeper understanding of the global market.

Both my study abroad experience and my role at the International Business Center are helping me move toward my goals for after college. I am planning to go to law school and to practice business law with a focus on international business. I hope, someday, to help companies expand further into international markets and assist on the legal sides of that expansion.

My first semester of school has taught me to embrace new opportunities and change. The lessons that I’ve learned in just a few short months are things that I’m going to use for the rest of my life. I’m thankful for everything I’ve been able to do at Michigan State, and I’m looking forward to seeing what comes next.