College of Business and Innovation

Study abroad trip broadens business horizons for COBI students

Study abroad trip broadens business horizons for COBI students

As soon as UT’s Spring, 2017 semester ended and the last graduates walked off the stage with their cherished diplomas, dozens of COBI students embarked on an engaging study abroad program to London and Berlin.

All College of Business and Innovation students - all majors - are strongly encouraged to study abroad during their undergraduate degree program. Study abroad programs can assist students in the development of academic, intellectual, personal, professional and cross-cultural skills.

These two-to-three week study abroad programs are led by College of Business faculty members, with Carol Sullinger and COBI Dean Gary Insch leading this May’s trip.  Examples of College of Business faculty trips include eastern Europe, western Europe, and Asia. Opportunities vary from year to year.

“I teach both marketing and international business classes and have experience in industry international business,” Sullinger said.  “The trip is designed to be an ‘emersion’ into the business culture, which includes the economic, political and cultural environments of a country.  Those are the foundations of the business environment and the trip is an experiential way to learn.  The idea is to experience both the differences and the similarities of the different countries.”

“My role was co-teaching the class with the Dean throughout the semester in preparation for the trip as well as planning the company, educational and cultural visits, everything from picking the hotels and assigning roommates to coordinating travel plans and the itinerary throughout the trip,” she added.  “I think one of the really special parts of the trip was for the students to spend ten days with the Dean of the College of Business and Innovation.  It was a privilege for all of us to learn from his knowledge and experience.”  

“I went on this trip because I thought it was a great opportunity to squeeze in an extra class in while being able to travel abroad and immerse myself into new cultures,” said Alex Odenweller, who majors in finance and accounting. “The biggest thing I learned was that the cultural and language barriers in European countries were more apparent than I thought they were. These barriers sometimes made it difficult to travel around the cities and immerse into the cultures.”

“I would definitely recommend this class to everyone,” observed Natalie Zerucha.  “I believe everyone should experience a culture change to make us as Americans realize how fortunate that we are, as well as to show them that companies overall operate the same as we do and that it would be interesting to work with a business overseas.”

“All businesses have the same sort of cycle no matter where you are in the world,” Zerucha added. “They might operate differently but they get their products from somewhere and someone else packages those products, so that is supply chain. Someone deals with their numbers. They market. I learned if you have an idea, run with it and see where it takes you, like Passle for example; they failed a few times but they got back up and readjusted how they wanted to do things and be an asset to the business world. I also learned that you have to go with the trends to stay in the market, like QVC. “

Odenweller said, “The best experience for me was becoming very good friends with some of the people on the trip. I didn't know anyone before going on the trip, and when I left I had made a whole new group of friends. Being able to experience everything London and Berlin had to offer with a group of friends made the trip an even greater experience. I would say that this trip was one of the best experiences I have ever had, and I would go on it again in a heartbeat.”

“My favorite part of the trip was watching each student grow,” Sullinger said.  “We had a wide variety of travel experience in the group; one student had never been on a plane and another was a graduate student who did international medical device sales for his career.  The group bonded in so many ways.  One of the students who had never run a 10K in his life decided to enter and complete in one in London.  His roommate on the trip went with him to cheer him on. The whole group, after learning of his accomplishment, congratulated him for days.  I have many more of those stories, and each one was really rewarding to see.  Watching each student grow is what I love about teaching.”

The location of next year’s trip will be determined before the fall semester starts.  Anyone interested can contact Ms. Sullinger at carol.sullinger@utoledo.edu. 

“The Dean and I are looking forward to another great trip with up to 20 students in May, 2018,” she said.

 

Last Updated: 6/29/17