Oxygen may be in short supply in parts of Peru, but enthusiasm among those who participated in the recent study abroad program to the country was abundant.
“I saw one of the Seven Wonders of the World, Machu Picchu; I got to see how different companies work; and I got to take two classes that I needed for my major,” said finance major Nicholas Aldrich.
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Randall Martin (BA ’76), Department of Management and International Business, and faculty director of the study abroad programs, leads the trips, which are designed to give students the chance to study international business in a different country. The Center for International Business Education and Research (CIBER) handles logistics. While each location offers unique attractions, the intense short-term format always includes three elements: course work, visits to companies, and time for sight-seeing.
This year’s company visits took place at a Coca-Cola plant, a brewery, and a plastics factory. As often happens for Martin, serendipity played a role along with his careful planning: the father of a student who signed on to the study abroad program just three days before the departure date helped secure the appointment at the plastics factory.
And, as often happens, it was the company visits that drove home the point about doing business internationally to the students.
Going to the companies was one of the best parts of the trip. We got a lot of practical experience, seeing how a business runs from the inside and from behind the scenes.”
—Nicholas Aldrich, finance major
Peru provides study in contrasts.
The contrast between east and west struck Martin the most.
“We saw the culture of the Conquistadors melding with the traditional cultures of the Incans and indigenous peoples,” he said. “In Cusco, a city at 11,000 feet, we saw the indigenous peoples’ side: mostly farmers who live off the land and who seem well off. In Lima, we saw a more business-like and familiar atmosphere.”
Aldrich, who was on a study abroad program in Spain when he found out about the Peru offering, would tell other students that, “The opportunity is the best thing you could ever do. I loved it. I think it’s something everyone should do because it makes you a more well-rounded person.”
Twelve students participated in the trip, which took place from August 11-22, 2008.