SIU students study abroad

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July 29, 2011

Study-abroad trip is an eye-opener for students

by John Schumacher

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- A group of students from Southern Illinois University Carbondale spent a month in Grenoble, France, earlier this summer learning about the worlds of international strategy and marketing.

Suzanne Nasco, associate professor of marketing, and Dennis Nasco, lecturer, both from the College of Business, accompanied six graduate and 18 undergraduate students for four weeks of touring and intense learning.

The idea for a College of Business study-abroad program dates to Suzanne Nasco’s arrival on campus in 2002. She wanted to give students a sense of how businesses operate outside of the United States. She said the trip was initially a two-week experience with students from Southeast Missouri State University. She subsequently decided that the trip needed to be a month long and made the change in 2006.

“When we first began the program, it was a constant process of checking in and out of hotels and never being able to unpack our suitcases,” Nasco said. “I wanted to give our students some time to breathe and put emphasis on the experience.”

Students participated in classes each weekday during the trip, earning ten and a half credit hours if they received a grade of “C” or higher in each course. Since the Grenoble Ecole de Management (School of Management) is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), all of the credits earned by students transfer back to SIUC.

In an effort to stay connected during their trip, students and instructors were part of a Facebook group dedicated to the trip and the curriculum. Students could post photos and ask questions. Instructors could post discussion topics and answer any questions a student may have.

Nasco emphasized that even though the trip is through the College of Business, it is not a requirement as students from outside the college often participate. She believes that the trip is a great experience, no matter age or major.

“It is always an eye-opening trip for SIUC students,” Nasco said. “The classes and workload are a lot to manage for the students, but it is also a lot of fun. I believe that every student should study abroad if they are able to. It truly will allow them to look at the world from a different perspective.”

Justin Arvidson, a senior from Wheeling studying business management, said that the trip in general has been a great learning experience because of the complete change of setting.

“The trip really allowed me to become more curious about international matters that affect my field of study,” Arvidson said. “I was so stuck on everything that was only happening in Carbondale. Studying abroad just really makes you think of the other issues that are happening around the world.”

Brooke Feigenbaum, a senior from Homewood-Flossmor studying hospitality and tourism, said that the entire experience was life changing. She was grateful for the opportunity to go on the trip and began to miss Grenoble immediately after she got home.

“I learned so much about marketing, the French culture and myself,” she said. “Each day was filled with excitement as we visited some of the most beautiful cities in France. Going to Grenoble was one of the best decisions I have ever made, and I would go back in a heartbeat if given the chance.”