For Issam Skalli, a seasoned European traveler, a study abroad program to Munich and Paris was still “eye opening.”
Moroccan-born Skalli, a senior majoring in management and international business in the College of Business Administration at Florida International University (FIU), has already been to Belgium, Italy, France, the Netherlands, Spain and Switzerland with family and friends. Yet, his most recent trip was altogether new.
“We got close with the people living there,” said Skalli, one of 31 students to participate in the nine-day excursion, which was supported by FIU’s Center for International Business Education and Research (CIBER) and led by faculty member Doreen Gooden, assisted by Juan Fernandez, accounting coordinator, CIBER. “We saw everything: history, art, traditions and business.”
In Germany, they made a number of visits, including to the Munich School of Business, which was written up in article by the school. The group also toured a BMW plant, viewing most of the process of car fabrication, bringing to life what they had learned in their operations and supply chain management courses. In Paris, they met with the co-owner of Entrepreneur Resources Group (ERG), an interim executive management company.
“He gave us lots of insights into how to be entrepreneur and how to get financing,” Skalli said. “It was the first time I heard about hiring executives for additional support or in a crisis.”
Reasons abound for doing a study abroad program.
During the college’s study abroad programs, students continue to take one or two courses. That was one of the reasons Skalli opted for the opportunity: it afforded him the chance to take classes he needed at a convenient time in his schedule. But that convenience was greatly enhanced by other aspects of the trip, including meeting many FIU Business students.
“I only knew one person when I left Miami, and I came back being pretty good friends with at least 20,” he said, noting that it also was important to “get out of the classroom and meet people who run businesses, and to overcome stereotypes by seeing things firsthand.”
“I see how the trips change students’ lives,” Gooden said. “They witness opportunities in the global environment and see how they can succeed in it.”