This past winter-term, 20 students at the University of Maryland had the opportunity to learn about design and innovation in the Spanish context. While in Spain, students had a full itinerary of company visits, workshops and cultural activities. In Barcelona, they visited the iconic La Sagrada Familia, took a guided tour of the gothic quarter, and even had the opportunity to meet with local business students. In the capital city of Madrid, students took time to reflect in Retiro Park and enjoyed traditional Spanish tapas. Led by QUEST Honors faculty Gerald Suarez and Pamela Armstrong, the program focused on introducing students to design concepts from the perspective of companies in various industries. Company visits included Design Thinkers Group, TransfoLAB and Metropoli Ecosystems.
“As I am nearing my senior year, I thought it was important to immerse myself into a new culture and country to gain the global mindset that is becoming increasingly sought after by employers,” said Chyna Sequeira, a junior marketing major. In addition to the career-related benefits, Sequeira talks about some of the personal benefits as well. “On a personal level, I established meaningful relationships with my classmates and professors. This program also strengthened my ability to adapt to situations that are unfamiliar to me. I learned to be open to new experiences and cultures and accept them instead of trying to control them.”
The program lasted 10 days with five days in Barcelona and five days in Madrid. Though the program was in-country for only 10 days, the overall experience started months before travel. The program first met back in November for the Undergraduate Common Core, a day-long session helping students connect global mindset competencies, dimensions of culture, and international business concepts to what they will learn abroad.
Though the professors and students have since returned to College Park, their program is not yet over. In addition to the reunions that students will have to relive their experiences together, they will also take part in the 2018 Global Showcase, a poster exhibition for all returned short-term study abroad students at the Smith School. Everyone in the Smith community is welcome to attend the Global Showcase. This is the inaugural year of the Leading Innovation and Design in a Cross-Cultural Setting course and the professors look forward to running it again in the future.
- Greg Rafal, Program Manager, Undergraduate Programs, Center for Global Business