One study abroad was not enough for Gloria Leon, a senior majoring in international business and marketing, in the College of Business Administration at Florida International University (FIU).
After her “amazing experiences” on a study abroad to Dubai, she became one of thirty students from across the business school to participate in a 12-day study abroad program to Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong. This time, Leon–who plans to get a master’s degree in international relations—was interested to see the contrast between mainland China and Hong Kong.
That contrast was built into the itinerary by Doreen Gooden, faculty leader of the trip—her second study abroad to China—and the Center for International Business Education and Research (CIBER), which handles logistics for all the college’s study abroad programs. Peng Lu, director of China projects for FIU, and Angela Bullard (MA ’08), FIU Business undergraduate advisor, also were part of the group.
“Through business and government visits, we saw how one country with two different systems, one still based on the British system, influence how companies do business,” Gooden said.
“Being there was quite different from reading about the country,” according to Leon. “We interacted with the locals and saw how they lived.”
“Students get to see and apply what they are learning in textbooks and learn things that textbooks just can’t teach,” she said. “The experience is tangible and unpredictable, helps cancel cultural assumptions and gets students to analyze their differences and possible inequities. Because I believe that business is driven by culture, I think it’s imperative for a potential global leader to have as many cultural experiences globally as possible.”
Array of business visits complement cultural excursions.
The students, who continue coursework throughout the program and who have ample time to explore each location, went to the Shougang Group, a large-scale enterprise group; the Shanghai Institute of Foreign Trade; and the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, among others.