Oklahoma State University international business management graduate Abigail Crosby has traveled all over the United States and Europe before turning 18 years old.
Crosby was born in West Virginia and quickly moved to Seattle after about a year and a half. At age 3, her family decided to move back to England, where her mother had been born and raised. At age 6, the family finally settled down with her father’s Northern Ireland roots, where Crosby would stay until she was 18. After that, it was a 40-minute flight to Edinburgh, Scotland, to attend Heriot-Watt University.
“Actually, a year after I moved to Scotland, my parents moved back to England,” Crosby said. “So, when I go ‘home,’ I’m going to England, but that’s not where I grew up. It only takes me about four hours to get home by train.”
Crosby started off studying business management and marketing at Heriot-Watt but knew she wanted to study abroad, so switching to international business management was a perfect transition. Coming back to America was top on her priority list, so through the exchange program at Heriot-Watt, Crosby chose OSU.
“Because I was born [in the United States], I knew I wanted to come to America, just because I left when I was so young and I wanted to see what it might have been like if I would have stayed here the whole time,” Crosby said. “But that’s all I knew. I had seen the east coast before, but I had never seen the middle or the west coast. I had my pick of about three universities in America, and I decided that I wanted to experience the ‘college life,’ so I came to OSU.”
She arrived at OSU in August 2016, a week before classes began. She was able to experience the slow summer of Stillwater before the bustling of the fall semester began. Stillwater wasn’t as close to a big city as she’d thought, but the quirky restaurants and small-town feel more than made up for it. With the excitement and rush of students on campus, Crosby dove in to her American experience head first.
“It was quite overwhelming at the start because there was nobody here at first,” Crosby said. “Slowly, everyone started to trickle in and then all of a sudden it was like, the first week and it was bustling, it was really nice to be a part of something and have a purpose to be here. It was nice to feel like I belonged here.”
The Spears School of Business offered Crosby plenty of avenues to get involved. The international Enactus Club offered by the School of Entrepreneurship was the perfect option for Crosby to practice her international business skills by creating business proposals for Nicaraguan cacao farmers using Kiva, a micro-lending organization. She also interned as a social media wiz with Life Out of the Box, an OSU student startup that donates school supplies to countries in need by selling clothing and accessories.
“I really liked that I was able to choose any subject here,” Crosby said. “I was able to choose stuff like corporate social responsibility, sustainable enterprises, which are a little more niche compared to what I would be studying at home. It really makes a difference in making you want to get up in the morning and actually make that class because it’s nice sitting and listening to something you’re actually interested in.”
The international aspect of Spears Business was Crosby’s favorite part of attending OSU. Entrepreneurship professor Craig Watters and management assistant professor Jose Sagarnaga shared invaluable lessons from their travels across the world with Crosby, which she hopes to do in the future.
In addition to being able to choose the classes she wanted such as sustainable enterprises and social entrepreneurship, the experiences at OSU have helped Crosby build an impressive resume.
“I really like visiting new places and meeting new people, it’s nice to see how different people are all over the world. Just being here has helped me to adapt to my surroundings which will be so beneficial to my future. I’m studying international business, which means I’m likely to work for a company that’s international, so if they can see that I was able to move somewhere by myself for a year and adapt, I think that’s really beneficial.”
“I had two professors who really made an impact on my semesters,” Crosby said. “They traveled so much, one had even been to my hometown, another was going off to Finland a few weeks after, it was just really nice knowing that the professors were traveling and were going through similar stuff that I went through and adapting. It’s nice that business is all over the world, and it’s a nice industry to be going in to.”
Crosby went back to Edinburgh to finish out her final year of college with an expected graduation date of May 2018. Her biggest advice to exchange students: don’t give up.
“Don’t give up on getting to know Americans,” Crosby said. “It’s really easy to stick to hanging out with other exchange students, and at the start it can feel like [you’re] never going to meet loads of Americans, but it does happen, you just have to keep surrounding yourself with people who live here.”