Lifetime learnings gained during South African marketing study abroad trip.

 Former South African president and humanitarian Nelson Mandela once said: “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”

Led by Elisabeth Beristain, program director for marketing study abroad programs, eight students who recently traveled to South Africa now have a much deeper understanding of the power of those words.

“Being exposed to different cultures gave us a clearer picture of how people live in different countries and how they perceive things differently, which is important to understand in a business setting,” said Gabriel Noboa, marketing student.

The group had a guided tour of Vodacom World and a marketing-oriented presentation of the shopping arcade, which features technologically oriented “boutiques.”

“Observing how the people are hungry to get educated and get caught up with the world was very inspiring,” he said. “We met young adults who, similar to us, are working full time and going to school full time, fueled by the hopes of landing a better job and making a name for themselves.”

Ten days in South Africa add up to vivid memories and marketing insights.

The South African trip included visits to Johannesburg, Soweto, Pretoria, Pilanesberg National Park and Cape Town, offering students the opportunity to experience academic, cultural and business dimensions of the country.

In addition to business visits, the students participated in a game drive viewing lions, rhinoceroses, elephants, zebras, wildebeests, buffaloes, leopards, cheetahs, wild dogs and a variety of antelope species.

For Andres Rivera (BBA ’12), the guided tour of Vodacom World, a unique shopping mall featuring a variety of technologically oriented boutiques, stands out as a trip highlight.

“Learning how fast South Africa advanced in technology over the past ten years was amazing,” he said. “Each South African usually carries more than one cell phone at a time!”

The visit to JWT Johannesburg left a strong impression on Noboa.

“We learned how South Africa is a very diverse nation and how marketers have to use strategic campaigns in order to connect with target markets,” he said. “We also observed what strategies companies were using to appeal to the South African people and engage them with their brands.”

Florida International University Center for International Business Education and Research (FIU-CIBER) provides the organizational and logistical administration support behind the College of Business study abroad programs.


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