Students in field

Student Spotlight: Phil Schader, International Business

April 30, 2021

Phil Schader is a sophomore transfer student from Austria majoring in International Business. Schader left Austria when he was 16 and graduated from a Canadian high school before playing junior hockey. He is a member of the Men’s Hockey team. 

When did you first hear about Finlandia and why did you decide to come here? 

During the end of my junior hockey career playing in Minnesota. I found out about Finlandia through the hockey program. For me as an international, it’s kind of hard to find affordable schools here in the U.S. with the whole tuition system. Our government supports us at home, but since I can go to school for free at home, I don’t really get a whole lot of money to go to school here, so the affordability was huge. I came up here for a visit as well, and just liked the small community. I lived in a small community in Canada as well, so I was familiar with that and that contributed as well. And of course playing hockey in one of the best conferences. It started off being almost like an student exchange here, but I extended it and now I’ve been gone for almost six/seven years now and it’s almost like my second home. 

What made you want to come to the U.S. for schooling? 

In Europe we don’t have a lot of university sports so this gives me a chance to still play sports in a competitive setting while also getting my degree. That’s something that’s not possible at home so that’s one of the reasons why I wanted to go to school here. 

Talk me through your decision to major in International Business. 

Looking at the course list, I’ve taken a lot of political economy and global economy courses at the start of my secondary education, and that’s something I’ve really been interested in. With me speaking two languages, being fluent in German and English at this point, that was a pretty easy decision for me to major in that. So I’m planning on finishing my full four years here at Finlandia. International business stuck out to me right away and it’s not something that every school offers, so I think it will look great on my resume. 

We’re still a few years away, but do you have any plans for after graduation?

I have quite a few connections at home and I’m thinking about getting a masters degree. It kind of depends on the opportunities that arise, because I’m not sure if I”ll stay here in the U.S. or if I can even stay here in the U.S. After I’m done with my student visa, I’m going to need someone to sponsor my visa so I’m not fully decided on that yet. But the way it’s looking right now, my goal is to stay here in the U.S. and maybe in the Midwest. I’m a big fan of the Midwest. 

Who is your favorite professor? 

I’m not sure if I’m going to go into accounting, but I really love our accounting professor, Laura Sieders. She’s great. And then Steve Nordstrom. He’s my academic advisor and he helps me with a lot of things, even outside the classroom. I know in my first year he was really helpful just getting setup.

You made it on the Dean’s and Honors List in the fall. What do you attribute your success to?

I think time management. I had a little bit of a head start just because I took some higher ed classes already, so the adjustment coming over here wasn’t too bad. Technically, I’m an international student, but I graduated from Canada so the language barrier isn’t that big of a deal anymore. A lot of reaching out for help too and, you know, we do study tables and they have some of the tutoring and that’s always available to us. Even if you just use it for one class you’re struggling in that’s really helpful. 

What would you say to other international students who are thinking about coming to Finlandia? 

It’s a great opportunity to come here. Even speaking with my friends and some European people that have since left. It’s a small campus and small community so it’s easier to adjust. People are very helpful. People get you set up and you’ll make friends right away. I think that one of the biggest pros about Finlandia over big schools is that they’re more involved to make that transition easier. I know there are a lot of Finnish exchange students and even the weather is similar to that. Coming here as a European it definitely made it easy to adjust. It’s definitely different but a cool experience. 

How is Hancock different from your hometown in Austria? 

Besides the fact it’s not a big city kind of living like the normal american lifestyle. The weather is different and the way people handle themselves in their everyday life. People are very helpful and nice. It’s more a local feel. Even in Europe, you have all these big chains. Here, it’s locally owned business that gives you that feeling that you’re in a tight small community and I think that’s probably the main difference. 

Is there anything else you’d like to add? 

Athletics helped me a lot. And that’s probably also one of the reason’s I’m on the Dean’s list too. Just coaches being on it and progress reports and study tables and all that stuff. That kind of made the adjustment easier and already having 20-25 friends right from the start made my transition easier. 

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