There’s nothing quite like a firsthand experience to help international business students gain perspective and better understand the diverse economic, political, and cultural environments in other countries and on other continents. In a collaboration between UNCG and the Université Catholique de Louvain (UCL) in Belgium, Bryan School students in the International Business program spend a week in Europe working in collaboration with UCL students on projects related to international business.
“The trip itself may only last a week, but students who participate gain a great deal of experience in the challenges of working as part of a cross-cultural team,” says Dr. Nir Kshetri, professor in the Department of Management who facilitated the Spring 2018 program. “They gain valuable experience in research and planning, and many end up developing lifelong friendships.”
During the trip, students take in the local landmarks, experience local cuisine, learn local customs, and participate in joint learning exercises, such as a simulation game in the European Parliament to help them understand how EU lawmaking works.
The UCL students also visit Greensboro for a week as part of the program. In both cases, the students are mostly hosted by their counterparts, which helps immerse them in the local culture and keeps costs much lower than most study abroad programs. This also gives students more time to work together on their projects.
This past spring, a team of students that included India Johnson ’18 decided to design a mobile app that creates travel challenges for users to complete when they visit new places. “We placed a huge emphasis on creating the most authentic travel experience for tourists by providing them with fun local activities,” says Johnson.
Her classmate Yalaina Brown ’18 also participated in the program and described the trip to Belgium as a transformative experience. “It ignited a spark in me to continuously step outside my comfort zone,” she says. “My view of the world has drastically changed since experiencing another culture firsthand.”
Applications are now being accepted for the Spring 2019 program. Students can register for MGT 303/HSS 300/MBA 745 to participate in this semester-long course and the Spring Break trip to Belgium. Find complete details at go.uncg.edu/belgium and apply by October 22!