Selisha Paul had never traveled to Europe before. In fact, her recent trip to Austria and the Czech Republic as part of the College of Business Administration’s study abroad program marked the first time any member of her family had touched down on European soil.
“I saw this program as an opportunity to broaden my perspectives and see how business is conducted in other countries,” she said. “I can now bring the experiences home to my human resource management major and continue to build on the firsthand exposure I’ve received in hiring, staffing and union-relations challenges.”
For Doreen Gooden—the faculty member who accompanied the ten students on the trip, organized by Florida International University’s Center for International Business Education and Research (FIU-CIBER)—this beautifully sums up the value of study abroad opportunities.
“The students ‘see the light,’’’ she said. “They develop a greater appreciation of what they are learning in school. They see concepts in action in the real world.”
Travel experience helps students deepen insights.
From a business point of view, the visit to the Skoda Car parts manufacturing and car assembly plants was a highlight of the trip for Paul.
“It was amazing to see theories of value chain analysis and the science of operations management pull together,” she said.
The trip was an eye-opening cultural experience as well.
“We were able to interact with the people and learn about their values and way of life,” Paul said. “It was enlightening to interact with individuals who seemed unfriendly to some of my classmates, and then realize that our reaction to them was all based on our perception of ‘friendliness.’ To really understand and immerse oneself in another culture, one has to able to see things from a different perspective. Ethnocentric approaches will not get a company or individuals very far.”
Paul highly recommends this kind of study abroad trip to her fellow students.
“We need a global view of business to be truly ‘Worlds Ahead,’” she said.