Question and answer with Sammy Miedema
Tell us about the European Business & Culture Program
The European Business and Culture program gives students a chance to understand how many different industries and types of businesses conduct daily operations. During the three week trip, we visited countless businesses and several land marks. Business visits consisted of Mercedes Benz, Gassan Diamonds, Ducati, Coin Department Stores, Taroni Silk, among others. Class met once per country visit and allowed the students and faculty members to discuss how the class content related to the experiences in the trip. There was plenty of free time consisting of evenings, weekend days, and public holidays. Students were able to explore the city or travel outside of the city if time allowed.
What countries are visited during this experience?
The six countries visited are: Italy, Switzerland, France, Belgium, Germany, and The Netherlands.
Is there funding available for this study abroad opportunity?
There are several scholarships available for students both institutionally and externally. Scholarships have different requirements, so it is important to know what kind of scholarships the individual or trip is eligible to receive.
How do you get the most out of the experience?
The cities that we visited are very diverse. We had the opportunity to learn and understand how each culture worked as well as several subcultures within each country. It is important to interact with the city and business guides as these individuals are local and can answer any question. Whether it be about culture, business, or everyday life, these people are excited to help you get the most out of the trip. Also, most evenings and even a couple of the days we had free time to go see and do whatever we wanted. During this time, myself and a couple others on the trip would purchase train tickets to a nearby city or landmark and visit for the day or evening. Doing this, we were able to see five or six other cities.
What courses are offered through the program and how many credits can a student earn?
Generally business classes are offered through the coursework. During my trip students could take a few different management classes and capstone classes for both MBA and undergraduate.
Is the coursework difficult?
The coursework lines up with what class you’re taking. For my specific case, most of the book work was completed prior to leaving, with a reflection paper due after the trip. During our time there, we had class that met on five or six different occasions, allowing us to have round-table discussions about how our experiences lined up with our coursework.
What challenges is a student expected to face?
Students can expect to face being a part of a different culture, experiencing language barriers, and a bit of jet lag at the beginning of the trip.
Why study abroad?
Studying abroad gives you the chance to learn about how business is conducted in another culture, the way people live and work, as well as see what the world is like outside of the United States. It broadens your world view in countless ways that cannot be experienced at home.
What lessons are learned through this experience?
Studying abroad gave me an appreciation not only for the convenience of growing up where I did, but also for the countless differences that make up each unique place in the world. Perhaps the biggest lesson learned would be to try as many new things as possible, both at home and abroad – you never know what you may be missing out on.