Five undergraduate students of the Robert H. Smith School of Business served as communication liaisons on faculty-led short-term study abroad courses during the 2020 winter term. The students created a supportive community and culture of study abroad among Smith undergraduate students. They participated in five winter programs with destinations to Belgium and the United Kingdom, Panama and Peru, Singapore and Taiwan, Spain, and South Africa. The students visited local companies, learned the different business practices within these various countries, and immersed themselves in the local cultures. Here are their reflections about the study abroad experience.
Ayanna Wright, marketing and honors English double major
Course: BMGT469K Social Entrepreneurship and Innovation in the Contemporary South African Context
Location: Cape Town, South Africa
“Students learned from locals in Cape Town, who opened up their homes and businesses to them. One of the most special parts of this study abroad experience was the bond that was formed between students, a bond that has continued since returning to College Park. This bond can best be summed up in the Zulu word ubuntu, meaning ‘I am because we are.’ Seeing how different social innovators and entrepreneurs cared so much for their country and for their people was truly inspiring and is something the students learned that they can apply to their own careers.”
Fanny Wu, marketing major
Course: BMGT428K The Impact of Globalization, Convergence, and Fintech on the Financial Accounting Profession
Locations: Singapore and Taiwan
“While abroad, students tried local foods such as Laksa, chicken satay, and ondeh ondeh in Singapore and stinky tofu in Taiwan. Visiting the night markets in Taiwan was an impactful cultural experience. The Taiwan night markets, such as XiMenDing, are very lively at night and street vendors sell clothes, food, and accessories. In regards to technology, there was a notable difference in infrastructure between Singapore and Taiwan. Overall, the program challenged students’ understanding of culture.”
Goodness Ihekweme, finance and marketing double major
Course: BMGT448W Brexit: The Financial Effects on the EU and Beyond
Location: London, United Kingdom and Brussels, Belgium
“Students traveled to Belgium and England to study the financial effects of Brexit on the European Union and the United Kingdom. While abroad, students heard different perspectives on Brexit and the financial effects it will have on Europe. Students had a great time exploring both countries. One of the most special parts of this study abroad is being able to learn people's culture and also learning from each other. This was a great experience.”
Jamila Spears, supply chain management and information systems double major
Course: BMGT478E Supply Chain Management
Location: Panama City, Panama, and Lima, Peru
“While in Peru, students toured its largest consumer good company, Alicorp, as well as APM Terminals in Callao which is its largest seaport. Student Leigh Murphy stated that her favorite part of the program was “touring the warehouses and actually seeing the whole supply chain come to life.” In Panama, students toured the Panama Canal where 13,000 to 14,000 ships pass through with cargo every year. We saw first hand the importance of the Panama Canal to supply chain, as it connects over 160 countries across the Atlantic to the Pacific oceans. We explored, learned and created life long bonds along the way.”
Vince Natividad, information science major and general business minor
Course: BMGT469O Leading Innovation and Design in a Cross-Cultural Setting
Location: Madrid and Barcelona, Spain
“In Barcelona’s Gothic Quarter and Hospital de Sant Pau, we realized what it takes to create timeless designs and further enhanced this idea through design thinking workshops. In Madrid, we learned about Spanish culture by touring the city marketplaces, Royal Palace and art museums. Company visits while in both cities gave students a contemporary idea of today’s design thinking and innovation, especially in regard to the country’s response to the world’s climate emergency. One of the biggest takeaways from the study abroad course was how we should value the world around us and use it for inspiration.”
Upon returning to the U.S., the students participated in the Smith School’s 5th Annual Global Showcase where they shared what they learned with the Maryland Smith community. Program offerings for winter 2021 will be announced this May. For more information about faculty-led short-term courses or the communication liaison role, visit the Center for Global Business website.
The programs were supported in part by CIBE, a Title VI grant provided by the U.S. Department of Education.