KU School of Business student finishes seventh trip studying, interning abroad

Supply chain management senior Garrett Schuman has traveled abroad seven times for academic programs and internship opportunities.

Garrett Schuman on the steps to the iconic Tian Tan Buddha.

Some say that studying abroad is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Garrett Schuman turned that one chance into seven. As a fifth-year senior, he started his literal journey freshman year. Most of his trips have been to Asia, and he’s gone abroad every single year, including some summers.

Schuman is not only a supply chain management major; he also is pursuing a degree in Chinese language and literature. He said that he chose to go to China specifically because of its rich and complex history.

Schuman posing in front of a traditional Chinese gateway in Yuen Long, Hong Kong, with couplets across the top and sides.

Schuman has been to Kunming, which is in Yunnan, the most southern province of China. He’s also studied in Beijing as well as Shenzhen through the Business in China program. After this program, Schuman went to Shanghai in the summer of 2016. The following semester, he studied in Hong Kong. In the summer of 2017, Schuman went all the way to Seoul, South Korea, then made his way to Northern Europe and participated in the Supply Chain Management program. This past summer, he finished his final trip in Hong Kong.

Schuman is a first-generation college student and explained he never thought studying abroad would be possible, due to financial restrictions. Now when he shares his experiences from studying abroad, he stresses the importance of the resources available to KU students.

“I’ve been able to finance almost all of my study abroad, more or less completely, through a mixture of financial aid and scholarships,” Schuman said. “KU has a lot of really good study abroad scholarship opportunities, and I’ve been able to take advantage of them.”

One of the scholarships that allowed Schuman to intern in China was Freeman-ASIA, a need-based funding award to assist the recipient with the cost of a study abroad program and related expenses. He encourages anyone who is interested in studying in East Asia, including Japan, South Korea, Thailand or China, to apply, as he got almost his full trip covered by this award. Schuman has received it twice. (Summer 2019 applications open February 4. For more information about this scholarship, click here.)

Another financial resource Schuman mentioned is the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship. This scholarship, which can only be received once, looks heavily at an applicant’s financial circumstances, and awards are as high as $5,000.

Along with some outside scholarships, Schuman also has received awards based on merit from KU. He was presented with the Honors Opportunity Award, a scholarship that funds students’ trips so they can “take advantage of opportunities for intellectual and academic growth.”

Schuman is a student coordinator at the Center for Global Business Studies. The office helps with study abroad info and applications, scholarships and more.

“I would not be able to study abroad without scholarships, so I’m also a good resource in the office I work at,” Schuman said. “I’m here to tell students that you can finance study abroad.”

A beautiful find strolling the streets in Shanghai in the summer of 2017.

And Schuman isn’t done just yet. Over spring break, he will participate in the Supply Chain Management & Logistics program in Brazil. For his final semester, Schuman also plans to visit Thailand.

All of these trips abroad have allowed Schuman to learn business practices in another country and society. While traveling, he found himself “decoding” all of the cultural and historical tidbits he had no idea about.

Schuman said he noticed different business practices in each country he’s visited. He compared some traditions to those in the United States and said his study of the culture has taught him to respect other’s thought processes and business culture. For example, he says that in the United States the communication style is very direct and sometimes aggressive. It is customary to get straight to the business deal, whereas in Asia, the communication is indirect yet friendly and a way loyalty is formed.

Schuman said knowing any foreign language supplements what you study, which is why his second major, Chinese language, has become something he has used while abroad beyond simply allowing him to have conversations.

“It’s a very invaluable tool when you’re doing cross-cultural communication,” Schuman said. “You’re communicating with someone who might have a different thought process, but since you know the language, you know where they’re coming from and why they think that way.”

By Caitlynn Salazar