At Maryland Smith, global experiences come in many forms.
Last week, the Center for Global Business, in partnership with the Undergraduate Program and corporate sponsors at EY, hosted its second annual Embassy Day. Over the course of two days, students from the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business virtually met with staff members from 19 foreign embassies, gleaning insights about each country’s culture, politics and businesses. As part of Smith Start, a year-long freshmen orientation program, Embassy Day aimed to introduce all freshmen to a global mindset. This year the event was also open to sophomore and transfer students.
Organizer and assistant director for the Center for Global Business, Greg Rafal says this year’s event offered students a new and innovative way to connect with embassies in D.C., right in our backyard.
“While travel is limited this year we are thinking of new ways to expose students to countries and markets even from home,” says Rebecca Bellinger, executive director for the Center for Global Business. “Global mindset is an absolute necessity for students to thrive in the workplace and become global business leaders in the future.”
In its inaugural event last year, students visited, IRL, 19 participating embassies in Washington D.C. This year’s event, however, required creative changes because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“A major advantage of taking this event online was that it allowed for flexibility and the opportunity for more embassies, students, and staff to get involved,” says Rafal. “We were also excited to give students a chance to lead the sessions, developing their leadership and public speaking skills.”
The following 19 embassies returned to participate in this year’s event: Albania, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, France, Germany, Greece, Israel, Jordan, Korea, Mexico, Qatar, Sudan, Switzerland and the United Arab Emirates.
Undergraduate student Alexa White, who served as an attaché during the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany’s presentation, led a group of students through a post-event conversation. White says she would recommend the experience to all Maryland Smith students, especially those seeking to broaden their global perspective.
“This event provides a unique opportunity to enhance skills such as leadership, public speaking and communication while also being able to immerse yourself within the global community and grow your global mindset,” says White, a marketing and supply chain management major. “I encourage everyone to participate.”
This event was supported in part by a Title VI grant program known as CIBE (Centers for International Business Education) administered by the U.S. Department of Education.