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Sept. 23, 2016
By Lexi Ryan, media relations assistant
Northwest Missouri State University students spent a portion of their summer traveling to Eastern Europe and participating in a 14-day study abroad experience program that broadened their views of international business.
Cindy Kenkel, assistant professor of management, led the group of 24 students, who called themselves “Eurocats,” to cities including Budapest, Hungary; Bratslava, Slovakia; Vienna, Austria; and Prague, Czech Republic to experience academic and professional excursions and local culture.
The student group, which included seven Northwest student-athletes, gained skills in adaptability and flexibility as well as a better understanding of the complexity involved with global communication.
“One of the best things about the trip was that we visited with many different types of businesses,” Hannah Goetz, a senior corporate finance and marketing major from Polk City, Iowa, said. “We visited a marketing firm, a consulting firm, a bank and many more. It gave me better picture of a few things I could be doing after college.”
Students majoring in business and completing at least 30 credit hours were eligible to apply for the program. The trip challenged students’ critical-thinking and problem-solving skills, and they were required to use multiple information sources to understand the implications of business abroad.
The timing of the trip with the European refugee crisis made the experience more unique for the students. Prior to the study abroad experience, Professor of Political Science Dr. Brian Hesse helped prepare the student group by presenting an information session that put issues facing the region into a more personal contest for the students, Kenkel said.
“One of the most powerful experiences came at the end of the trip when we visited a former concentration camp in the Czech Republic,” Kenkel said. “It was an optional excursion, but almost all of the students decided on this experience, and it was very sobering. Because we had been studying the refugee crisis in Europe we were able to make comparisons to having large groups of people living in such cramped conditions.”
The study abroad experience also included business and historical visits to museums and parks, a visit to the Prague Castle and a cruise of the Danube River.
In the weeks since the experience ended, the students have followed Brexit and other current events in Europe closely. Their learning is continuing through a group chat and Facebook page, Kenkel said.
“All of us came home with a much wider view of what is happening in the world,” Kenkel said. “Prior to the trip, most of the students didn’t really consider much of what was happening in Europe as a paramount to their business careers, but they returned realizing it plays a powerful role in the global economy.”
Jeaneth Puriel-Foot, Northwest’s study abroad coordinator, also supported Kenkel and the student experience, working with a European company to arrange presentations from a variety of multinational businesses including Hewlett-Packard, Johnson & Johnson and Cisco.
“I would recommend this trip to future students, because I can honestly say it was one of the best experiences of my life, and I would do it over again in a heartbeat,” Goetz said. “It is perfect for those people who are too busy to take off for an entire trimester or those who think they will get homesick.”
For more information about Northwest study abroad experiences, contact the International Involvement Center at firstname.lastname@example.org or 660.562.1367.
Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager
email@example.com | 660.562.1704 | Fax: 660.562.1900
Northwest Missouri State University
215 Administration Building | 800 University Drive | Maryville, MO 64468