This past fall 26 Foster School students studied for a semester at one of the ten undergraduate business school partners across Europe. During a typical semester abroad, undergraduates stay in dorms with local students, take business coursework, and explore. They learn about and engage with the new city, country and culture where they are living.
For the first time this year, the Global Business Center launched a new initiative to enhance students’ exchange experiences, the ‘EU Deep Dive’ program. This four day-program brought Foster School students together in Brussels, Belgium, to learn about the European Union. Students arrived from Denmark, Spain, Germany and many other countries for an in-depth exploration into the EU. The program expanded student’s learning with targeted visits and discussion during the middle of their semester abroad.
A goal and highlight of the program was enabling students to learn about the EU government and policy environment that affects business. Students visited the EU Council and the EU Parliament, including a presentation by a Member of Parliament about the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). Esther Lee, a senior at the Foster School majoring in Finance, spent fall semester at the Audencia Business School in Nantes, France. She reflected on her experiences in Brussels:
“I think it was definitely helpful to learn more about the EU while studying abroad in Europe. I was taking a European Business and Culture class here at Audencia Business School, and it was really nice being able to go to the EU Parliament and Council. I think it put things in perspective and helped me better understand this part of the world. I think it’s especially interesting considering everything that has happened just in the last couple of months and it helped me be more aware of my surroundings.”
The ‘EU Deep Dive’ program enabled students to put their study abroad experiences into context. Evan Daus, a Foster School senior majoring in finance that studied abroad in Pamplona, Spain for fall semester, shared:
“My visit to Brussels has made me more interested in matters concerning the EU and help me better understand news articles and class discussions which pertain to the EU. Just yesterday in my International Trade course, we discussed TTIP. During the lecture I felt very prepared due to what we learned in Brussels, and I was more interested in the lecture because I got to speak with so many professionals about TTIP in Brussels and see its real world consequences.”
The program also included several visits to businesses including the Audi Factory in Brussels to see their operations and learn about global supply chains. Students also met with a consulting firm to learn about business regulation and lobbying in the EU. Finally, students also had the chance to engage with one another, sharing their stories and comparing information about their host countries. Overall, the program was a huge success. Grace Hunt, a Foster School student from Auburn, Washington said that “the experience drastically enriched my study abroad experience on both a personal and professional level.”