Justin Morgan is in his fourth year of the International Relations program at IE University. During his studies, and due to his love for experiencing new places and meeting new people, Justin took the opportunity to go on exchange for a semester. We spoke to him about his decision to study in Switzerland and how it impacted his future.
I’m Justin Morgan and I grew up in Atlanta, Georgia. I’m currently in my fourth year of the Bachelor in International Relations at IE University. Moving to Spain was a simple choice, especially because I love to experience new places and people, a passion which also led to my decision to study abroad for a semester. I also love being surrounded by nature and anything involving the outdoors, specifically hiking.
Why did you choose to go on exchange and how did IE University help you during the application process?
I chose to go on exchange because if I’m ever given the chance to discover somewhere completely different, I will take it 100% of the time. I studied at the University of St. Gallen in Switzerland and chose here for a few reasons. Internally, I was debating between Santiago de Chile, Istanbul and St. Gallen. Santiago de Chile was eliminated due to timing and my choice between Istanbul and St. Gallen came down to whether I wanted a different cultural experience or an experience centered around my biggest hobby: hiking—well, being outside in general. That said, I ended up choosing St. Gallen for its natural surroundings.
IE University made the exchange application process incredibly easy. I ranked my schools and that’s all the work I had to do! In all honesty, if I had been burdened by paperwork and the task of aligning all of my classes, it’s possible that I would have passed up this incredible opportunity.
More than just the application process, IE University guided me throughout the exchange as a whole. During the summer, I felt somewhat unclear about what I should have been doing to prepare, specifically in terms of signing up for classes and exchange agreements, but uncertainty is just part of the experience and the IE Community is there every step of the way.
What did you miss most about being at IE University during exchange?
IE University offers a learning experience unlike any other school, and while I was abroad, I really missed this unique approach. Classes at IE University are engaging and full of discussions and presentations. However, St. Gallen had a very rigid take on learning that involved lectures, midterms and a final. There weren’t many discussions, and when teachers tried to encourage engagement, only the exchange students would talk. I really missed the IE Community and the IE Experience in general. The program was incredible, but I was glad to get back to IE University and the friends I’ve made here.
How did IE Univeristy’s exchange program help shape you personally and academically?
I think IE University’s exchange program shapes everyone’s personal path—it definitely shaped mine. The program allowed me to focus on classes that were unique to St. Gallen, including development economics. It also gave me the chance to do the things I love, pushing me to rediscover how important they are to me.
For anyone interested in going on exchange, I would tell them that the opportunity to drop everything and move to another country doesn’t come every day—jump on it!