Finance major Jason Sandry
couldn’t believe his luck. After a morning spent studying international finance, he would hop the train to the ancient Roman Coliseum or stroll along sun-dappled beaches in the afternoon while his peers trudged through snow and ice to get to class.
Sandry, a senior finance major who spent a memorable semester at John Cabot University in Italy, was one of 100 students from the Colorado State University College of Business to study abroad last year. Art and history came to life in courses he couldn’t take on campus. He also passed four business classes for CSU credit – all in English – and remains on track to graduate this spring.
“Besides learning a new meaning for delicious food, I was able to experience international business firsthand,” Sandry says. “I constantly interacted with people from several different countries in class and learned about group dynamics leading student trips on the weekends.”
Valuing Global Perspectives
Jason Sandry (’12) at the Trevi Fountain in Rome
Dean Ajay Menon believes such experiences abroad are vital for students to gain a global perspective and have the confidence to do business anywhere in the world. CSU offers an array of study abroad opportunities all over the globe during breaks, summers, a semester, or academic year. Getting students to see where it fits into their educational goals is the challenge.
“The world is shrinking,” Menon says. “In order to compete effectively, students need an appreciation of global markets, and to be effective in global markets, they require an understanding of other cultures and governments. Global awareness is no longer a differentiator but a need.”
The campaign to internationalize the College curriculum began by hiring Kathy Lynch as the first-ever liaison between international programs and a college at CSU. Lynch, who has studied and worked abroad extensively, began this fall as manager of Study Abroad and International Initiatives for the College with the charge of strengthening and expanding collaborative agreements with schools in such places as the Czech Republic, Germany, Spain, and Vietnam and forging affiliations focused on business students.
Kathy Lynch - Manager of Study Abroad and International Initiatives
“College of Business students are going abroad – around 100 majors each year and dozens of business minors – the most of any CSU college,” Lynch says. “Dean Menon wants to see those numbers doubled. We’re looking at existing programs, promoting and building on them, as well as new exchanges like the one with The Hague University in the Netherlands.”
International business and management studies are the focus of the exchange program at The Hague University of Applied Sciences. Subjects are taught in English, and students are exposed to organizations with global influence, such as the International Criminal Court and Europol and the corporate headquarters of Shell and Siemens.
This spring, the first students also traveled to Vietnam’s Foreign Trade University as part of a partnership with the school’s economics department that began four years ago with College faculty doing research there. One student at a recent Study Abroad fair was elated to discover she could learn a lesser spoken foreign language along with international business in a Southeast Asian country. The program is actually cheaper than a semester’s tuition and fees at the College.
“It’s a myth that it’s more expensive to study abroad,” says Lynch. “It can be cheaper, like the CSU/FTU Vietnam program and when study abroad is supported financially by scholarships and financial aid. Many affiliated programs also offer scholarships.” (See “Scholarships Make It Possible.”)
Bringing Lessons Home
Tapping into the treasure trove of information and experiences that returning students can offer in the classroom is a key component of a Universitywide Study Abroad Curiculum Integration initiative, a collaboration between CSU academic departments and the Study Abroad office.
The idea, according to Lynch, is to link international study to CSU course work and make faculty and student advisers partners in the development and promotion of international programming. Academic cohesion coupled with creating a more efficient process involving all the players is a pathway to increasing student participation abroad, she believes.
“Faculty help us look at what they want in an international curriculum and outcomes, and our professionals help match those for students,” Lynch explains. “We also want to bring more faculty and students from other countries here to enrich classroom learning.”
The end goal is to incorporate global opportunities, create a streamlined application process, and make all the information easily accessible to students. “Curriculum integration helps students realize ‘I can graduate in four years, this will fit my needs, and – oh my goodness – there are scholarships too. Maybe I can do this.’ ”
Another step toward internationalization is the hiring of an assistant director of internships in the Study Abroad office. “It’s pretty valuable to have international work experience on a resume in a tough job market,” Lynch points out.
Austin Leffel, a senior business management major who studied and worked with a local nongovernmental organization in Bilbao, Spain, knows firsthand the advantages of going abroad.
“Learning about business in Spain, which relates to business in Europe as a whole, was a perfect way to increase my understanding of doing business on a global scale,” Leffel says. When not in class or with his host family, Leffel translated project proposals from English to Spanish for Solidaridad Internacional, networking with organizations across northern Spain and gaining practical international experience.
Already a step ahead of many job seekers, he plans to use connections to Spanish business owners, a professor who runs his own marketing firm, and Bilbao program advisers during his job hunt after graduation in the fall.
“Study abroad was honestly the best experience of my college career,” Leffel says. “At times, it was difficult to adjust to new situations, but that is part of the journey. Studying abroad will evoke a strong sense of personal learning that is hard to find elsewhere.”
For more information on College of Business study abroad programs, visit biz.colostate.edu/studyabroad
| Scholarships Make It Possible
Colorado State University’s College of Business is committed to making study abroad more feasible financially for its students by increasing scholarships and getting the word out about financial aid sources.
“We want to create a global culture and awareness in the College of Business where students see from day one that study abroad is valued highly and can be integral to their four year academic degree plan,” says Kathy Lynch, manager of Study Abroad and International Initiatives for the College. “In doing so, we need to help students understand that scholarships, financial aid, or a combination of the two can make study abroad a reality.”
The price tag for study abroad should not scare off families. While some carry a hefty price tag, others are
less expensive than a semester at CSU. Students are encouraged to apply for CSU and other scholarships, such as the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship, to help defray such costs as airfare and accommodations and can receive these monies on top of federal Pell Grants and other aid they already receive, thus making study abroad feasible.
If you are interested in contributing to the College of Business Fund for Study Abroad Scholarships to help us make a quality study abroad experience a reality for more students, please contact Erik Olson in the College of Business Development Office, firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, for information on the College of Business Study Abroad program, visit the website at biz.colostate.edu/studyabroad.