Innovation Through Studying Abroad

This was post that I posted on my mother's site as a guest post.  

You can visit her site at atozuhak.com

You can also visit her personal blog on uhakmom.com.  Warning, it is mostly written in Korean. 

The mantra in the business world is now, “Innovate or Die!”

The same goes for individuals as well.  We must all constantly innovate by improving ourselves and everything around us.  We must keep pace with the ever-changing global economy.  We are now living in the forefront of a technological revolution.  Although technology is making it easier for us to become more efficient and achieve more than we could have ever imagined, the technological revolution also means disruption to our traditional ways of thinking.  

We can no longer be confined to the comfort of the our own self-made circumstances.  The traditional ways of achievement to success is no longer a viable option for us to get ahead in this world.  This also means that the traditional educational route that everyone else is taking is actually hindering their full potential for creativity, problem-solving skills, and inspiration (the formula that leads towards innovation).  


To solve this conundrum, we need to break out of the mold that restricts us from reaching our fullest potential.  This means taking the necessary risks to explore the worlds unfamiliar to us.  My Alma Mater, NYU, has encouraged global education. From the first year to the last, they encourage their students to study abroad.  They have set up several study abroad locations such as NYU in London, NYU in Shanghai, and most recently, NYU in Abu Dhabi just name a few.  My experience in NYU in Shanghai was the most memorable.  Shanghai is at the forefront of becoming a major city, if it has not already.  It is a city sought after by several global enterprises.  A section of Shanghai, known as Pu-dong, is dominated with multi ethnic people and culture that spurs creativity.  I also had the privilege to work for one of Shanghai’s prestigious venture capital firm specializing in mobile technology, which even enhanced the experience.     

Interestingly enough, for the students living and studying in Shanghai, their spark of creativity are formed by studying in the United States as a foreign student or as an exchange student.  The current phenomena for the Chinese is to study in the United States and take creativity and inspiration back to their country.  Just as Shanghai was an eye opening revelation for me, the United States was also an eye opening revelation for them.  In the end, what eventually sparked creativity, problem-solving skills, and inspiration was in exploring the unknown and breaking out of their current normal.