Hull College of Business students recently returned from an eight-day study abroad trip to Chile lead by Dr. Jim Grayson, Associate Professor of Management Science and Operations. This trip, initially established in 2013, is the fourth time a group of 10-12 undergraduate and MBA Hull College students have engaged in a study abroad experience to Chile. Every year students return with great memories, experiences and “life lessons” they will carry with them not only in their careers but throughout their life.
“One of the major life lessons that I learned by traveling to Chile is adaptability. For the first few days of the trip I felt as if I was not prepared at all to be in a foreign country because of the difficulty that I was having with the language barrier. As the trip progressed I found myself knowing how to better communicate with the people there in order to get what I needed. This proved to me that when you are put into another culture you have the ability to adapt to your surrounding in order to function appropriately.”
“The universal language remains ‘a smile’.”
The trip is structured to provide business and cultural experiences but also to intentionally challenge students to engage in diverse cultures and experience unfamiliar environments.
“I can’t express enough the importance of this trip to the MBA and undergraduate programs, as well as the Office of Study Abroad. Each experience we had was directly related to business. From the tours, to the relationships, and even meeting new friends and networking amongst peers, each experience was valuable. I must admit that looking back, the pre-trip meetings provided valuable knowledge that was evident in our excursions. During the trip, each of the book reports and industry reports was presented in some form.”
“The study abroad trip to Chile far exceeded my expectations. I was overly impressed with … the organization and details of our trip. The trip was organized in a manner that kept the group extremely busy throughout the day with little downtime (meaning we definitely got our money’s worth!). Each site visit, event, and excursion was directly related to business or Chilean culture and everyday life.”
The trip begins with a ten hour overnight flight from Atlanta, GA to Santiago, Chile and as students arrive early morning, they immediately begin their experience with a four hour city tour of Santiago and end their first day with a welcoming Chilean dinner.
After the initial orientation day, the remaining seven days are packed with company visits and cultural experiences within multiple Chilean cities including Santiago, Valparaiso, and Vena Del Mar. For example, students visited with Novo Nordisk, a worldwide producer of pharmaceuticals based in Denmark with an office in Santiago, and “Start-up Chile”, a startup community sponsored and supported initiative founded by the Chilean government to position Chile as the innovation and entrepreneurship hub of Latin America. Additionally students visited cultural and governmental sites such as La Moneda, the seat of the President of the Republic of Chile, for students to better understand the similarities and differences of government structures compared to U.S. government and how the structures can impact business practices. Each visit is chosen to provide an opportunity for the student to understand Chilean businesses and culture with many opportunities to directly interact with industry and governmental leaders.
“Based on my Chilean experience, three broader global insights or perspectives I will take into my professional career are similar to my life lessons. I will always take on challenges that at first I may not be comfortable with. I also won’t allow certain barriers that seem beyond my control to stop me from succeeding. Lastly, I am taking with that the world is bigger than the United States, and it is important to be able to throw yourself into something unfamiliar.”
“Three global insights that I will take with me back into my professional career are the importance of adaptability and flexibility, being a team player and following your passion. Things will not always go as planned, but you must continue and move forward the best way that you know how. It is also important to realize that your way is not always the best way but a team environment is necessary to produce the best approach. Lastly, following your passion will have a two-fold effect. You will be happy in your daily life and companies will acknowledge and value your presence as an asset to their company.”