Business students increase global perspective during trip to London, Paris.

When Florida International University (FIU) student Joseph Iglesias was atop the London Eye, the largest Ferris wheel in Europe, he got quite a different view of the city.

When he participated in the business learning opportunities during the trip abroad, Iglesias benefited from yet another new perspective.

“I learned so much about international business, with unique experiences I never could have had on my own,” he said.

Iglesias was one of 38 undergraduate students from FIU’s College of Business Administration who traveled to London and Paris through the study abroad program organized by the FIU-Center for International Business Education and Research (CIBER).

The 10-day trip in March 2010 let the students enjoy traditional sightseeing venues such as Windsor Castle, the Tower of London, the Louvre and the palace at Versailles. But their unique peek into international business equally impressed them.

Grant Thornton International in London, one of the companies visited by participants in the college’s most recent study abroad program.

“I learned so much from the visit to Grant Thornton International in London,” said international business major Viviana Rivera, who traveled to Europe for the first time.

At Grant Thornton, one of the world’s leading organizations of independently owned and managed accounting and consulting firms, the students increased their knowledge of international finance by meeting with Jatin Radia, director of the UK International Business Center.

“We heard about the UK’s experience in converting to the International Finance Reporting System (IFRS),” Rivera said.

Enriching business experiences help in global understanding.

While abroad, the participants attended business classes, including guest lectures by British and French professors. Business-oriented trips also included presentations and tours at the Bank of England and ExxonMobil.

In addition to company visits and coursework, the study aboard program included opportunities to view famous landmarks, such as Paris’s Eiffel Tower.

Since Iglesias wants to run his own business someday, he especially appreciated the visit to the showroom of Paris designer Gaspard Yurkievich.

“We learned how difficult yet critical it is to get exposure for your name, and how this small firm was able to achieve that in the highly competitive European market,” he said.

“Our objective in designing the experience was to increase the students’ global perspective, to make them better world citizens,” said Doreen J. Gooden, faculty leader of this trip.

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