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One Week, Two Trips Abroad

What if you could get course credit for visiting your dream destination? Over spring break, Bryan School students traveled to Europe as part of two global business courses to learn more about international business, collaborate with local students, and develop a global worldview.

International Business in Belgium

students in BelgiumThroughout the spring semester, UNCG Bryan School students collaborated on virtual teams with students from the Louvain School of Management at the Université Catholique de Louvain to develop business proposals. Over spring break, the class of 21 graduate and undergraduate students finally met face-to-face in Louvain-la-neuve, Belgium, to work on their proposals and explore the cities of Brussels, Antwerp, and Namur.

“Our days in Belgium were packed with interesting discussions and events,” said junior Linsey Wade. We went on a company visit at Isohemp, which is one of Belgium’s newer, innovative companies. We also went to the Center for Creative Leadership to help build our skills and recognize our weaknesses in group work. Lastly, we visited the European Parliament, where we participated in a role play game. The game put us in charge of some real-life problems, and we had to find develop solutions.”

“This trip helped me learn more about working with an international team,” said Bryan School junior Hayden Thomas. “It also taught me a lot about entrepreneurship and if I ever decide to begin my own business venture, this course has prepared me for that journey. Also, I would love to work for an international company, and I have international experience thanks to this course.”

In early April, the students from Belgium will visit Greensboro to complete their group projects and present their final proposals. Bryan School students will take the lead showing students the area and teaching them about life in the United States.

Journey to Prague

Nearly 600 miles east of Belgium, Bryan School graduate students had the unique opportunity to visit Prague as part of the course Doing Business Abroad. This one-week course provided students with on-site experiences to lean about business in the Czech Republic as well as the opportunity to meet public officials, business leaders, and Czech students.

Jness Ogarro, a first-year MBA candidate, took advantage of this opportunity as she did not travel abroad during her undergraduate years.

“Once I heard about this spring break opportunity, I knew I wouldn’t be away from home for too long. Also, some of my classmates I knew were going, so it made it easier. After the trip was said and done, I wish I would have studied abroad sooner, especially as an undergrad.”

The students visited several companies across diverse industries in both the public and private sector including Czech Invest, a financial investment firm; Manufaktura, a skincare company; McCann, a marketing company; Green Fox Academy, a coding company; and People in Need, a nonprofit organization.

One of the primary goals of the trip was to allow students to experience Czech culture and history while learning how to interact with people different than themselves.

“Going on this trip helped me to open up more and not be afraid to explore and ask questions,” said Jness. “I can apply this to my future career by being open-minded, inquisitive, and understanding – especially when dealing with people from other countries.”

Whether traveling for pleasure or course credit, studying abroad short-term is a great option for students who can’t spend an entire semester abroad. Nir Kshetri, the faculty leader on the trip to Prague, said, “This program is the best way to gain international experience for students if time and money constraints do not allow them to be in a foreign country for a full semester.”