Faculty trip to Africa serves as catalyst for new international business insights.

“I was looking to improve the relevancy and quality of my online course material on international business and international human resource topics.”

This was the primary reason Clifford Perry, who teaches management and international business in the College of Business, joined the recent Faculty Development in International Business (FDIB) trip to South Africa, sponsored by the Center for International Business Education and Research (CIBER) at the University of South Carolina and at Florida International University (FIU). Joel R. Barber, a member of the college’s Department of Finance and Real Estate, also went on the trip.

“The learning and professional development opportunities provided by the trip enabled and facilitated my first-hand immersion in a multicultural societal and business environment,” Perry said. “This in turn will help me design and develop more relevant and specific online student learning experiences and help me sharpen the relevancy and currency of my online courses and curriculum learning objectives.”

Clifford Perry
Clifford Perry

The trip to this economically emerging country included meetings and lectures with African business development leaders, university professors and program directors, with discussions focusing on the challenges of doing business within constrained political-economic systems. Conversations also centered on corporate and governmental economic development progress within a third-world country with a large informal economy, as well as significant human resource management issues in a post-apartheid country.

Itinerary focuses on business and cultural experiences.

The trip schedule was divided between time spent in Cape Town and Johannesburg, South Africa, plus journeys to Botswana and Zambia.

Perry, a seasoned world traveler, found the trip at times quite adventuresome.

“Going to Victoria Falls was a trip highlight,” he said. “So much is written and photographed about the falls but actually being there . . . it was quite fabulous.”

Returning to a more serious note, Perry commented on the disparity between wealth and poverty in Africa.

“I was quite struck by the differentials in the quality of living,” he said. “Yet I see vast opportunity there for investments, as Africa is right now a business frontier.”


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