Undergraduates expand their international business acumen on Eastern Mediterranean cruise.

When the subject is “international business,” classroom and textbook learning is greatly enhanced through firsthand knowledge.

That’s why Doreen Gooden, who teaches management and international business in the College of Business Administration at Florida International University (FIU), organized and led an Eastern Mediterranean Cruise study abroad program this summer for undergraduate business majors.

“These students learned about the history, culture and business practices in Italy, Greece and Turkey,” Gooden said. “The trip was filled with amazing opportunities.”

Among the many landmarks the group visited was the Vatican in Rome.

The learning adventure, supported by the Center for International Business Education and Research (FIU-CIBER), started with a June 30, 2011 plane trip to Rome. The group of 39 students toured Vatican City and other points of interest and had a presentation by Marcello Bruni, Boeing’s communication director, about that company’s operations in Southern Europe.

On July 3, the FIU group boarded Royal Caribbean’s Navigator of the Seas for an eight-day cruise in the Eastern Mediterranean.

Eight days of the study abroad program took place on Royal Caribbean’s Navigator of the Seas, touring the Eastern Mediterranean.

Travelers receive an abundance of experiences.  

Participants enjoyed spectacular travel, including seeing the Acropolis, a Greek Roman amphitheater, Mt. Etna, ancient temples and centuries-old cities.

“We continually learned how history shapes cultures and affects business practices,” said senior Carolina Arenas. “For instance, what happened to Italy in World War II still influences how many Italians do business today.”

Gooden arranged for a packed business education agenda that was relevant to the business courses that the students continued to take during the trip. There were sessions such as “Doing Business in Italy” by Marshall Langer, a professor of The American University in Rome and meetings with the ship’s senior officers to learn cruise ship operations.

At the Kusadasi’s port, EGE Ports’ marketing director described the port’s operations and its economic impact.

Visits to companies included one to EGE Ports, where the students learned about the operations of the port and its impact on the economy.

The FIU group’s presence caught the attention of several newspapers in Turkey, which published articles about its EGE Port visit.

Back in Rome, the managing director of Pfizer Pharmaceutical discussed strategies and operations and the group took a plant tour.

“Students saw how the concepts they learn in classes are actually applied,” Gooden said.

For many, it was their first time overseas.

“These experiences gave us a connection with other cultures, which can be extremely valuable in our careers,” Arenas said.

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