July 31, 2014
Students who travel abroad through Foster College of Business’s Global Scholars Program return to campus with more than adventurous tales of international travel. They return with life-changing insights that enable them to build bridges in a global economy.
The GSP, open to all business majors, sends students to India or China each spring break as part of international business courses built around the trips. Students explore the host country’s business models, culture, history and religions. After spring break, students spend the balance of correlated courses processing the lessons they learned.
Global Scholars Program - China & India
Internship Abroad - Sydney, Australia
“Once you put yourself out there, you realize how small the world can be,” said Alyssa Fara ’14. “The classes that Global Scholars offer give you lessons that can apply to your everyday life. Knowing how to communicate and do business in other countries and cultures is something that not everyone has a privilege to do.”
Fara, an international business graduate, traveled to India in 2013 as one of three overseas experiences. Though she also spent a semester in London and a January interim in Paris, insights she gained in India set the Global Scholars experience apart. Differences in socioeconomics and culture made India a life-changing trip.
“I was introduced to a beauty of life that made me see more beauty in the world,” she said. “Many of the people we met hardly had what I have back home, and yet they were happy with their lives. We were treated like celebrities there, but they were just as amazing to me.”
Global Scholars receive formal recognition through Foster College of Business and on their transcripts. Because businesses want students who understand globalization, this designation “is a great talking point with potential employers,” noted Jim Foley, director of international programs for Foster College of Business.
“Students who understand and appreciate cultural differences have a stronger appreciation for diversity in general,” Foley said. “It makes them more independent because they realize they can experience something different, enjoy it and appreciate it.”
Another international business alumna, Allison Burtoft ’14, took the China trip. Like Fara, she also studied abroad in Europe. These trips added international context to many of her courses on campus, which included the awkward French translation of the American movie “The Hangover III” to “Very Bad Trip III.”
“In supply chain courses, I understood the logistics of how product moves because I had seen it,” Burtoft said. “When I sat in marketing or English classes, I could see how a name or phrasing wouldn’t work around the world. ‘Very Bad Trip III’ doesn’t have the same ring, does it?”
As is the goal with Global Scholars travel, cross-cultural interactions enabled Burtoft to rethink the way she viewed the world. Exposure to people with different desires, schedules and worldviews led her to conclude, “your firmest beliefs may not always be as black and white as you think they are.”