Students Gain Insight Into Business Culture During Recent Spain TripFebruary 15, 2013

A group of undergraduate and graduate students began the new year with a completely new experience. Led by Laura Fitzpatrick, Ph.D., professor of economics, and Jeremy O’Connor, Ph.D., assistant professor of business, they boarded a plane to Barcelona, Spain, for a trip focused on exploring business culture in another country.

In partnership with IQS – the Jesuit university in Barcelona –the group spent two weeks comparing American business culture to Spanish business culture through a unique mixture of lectures, real-life experiences in local businesses, and cultural activities.

“This trip offered students the opportunity to test their own self-awareness and how cultural differences truly impact all parts of life, including the way we do business,” said Fitzpatrick. “The most important thing students can do is have an experience abroad. It allows them to learn about themselves while learning about others. This is something they carry with them forever.”

Each week day throughout their two-week trip, students spent the morning in a class led by a Spanish professor, then spent the afternoon at a local business that related to the topics covered in class.

“The experience was absolutely incredible,” said Anna Juenemann, ’14. “Having a chance to combine my business background with my passion for travel only further encouraged my learning across multiple disciplines.”

Juenemann also appreciated the location of the trip.

“The city of Barcelona is beautiful, combining the history and beauty of an old European city with a rare look at Spain in a time of new development.”

In the evenings and on weekends, students were encouraged to explore the city. Each student was required to participate in a minimum of four cultural experiences, including at least one church, one architectural site, one museum and one cultural event.

“Most students ended up exploring much more than four,” said Fitzpatrick. “One evening, we went to watch a flamenco performance and one student jokingly suggested we should take a flamenco class. Fifteen of us ended up taking the class together, and it was one of the most amusing, enlightening moments of the trip.”

Other cultural sites visited were La Sagrada Familia, the FC (Fútbol Club) Barcelona Museum, soccer games, the Roman aqueduct, Roman ruins, Picasso Museum, and more.

“To me, this trip was different from other trips abroad,” said O’Connor. “We were able to study regionally and culturally significant businesses that have strong international presence, and, in the same day, visit the churches, museums, and other sites that deepen one’s understanding of the place where the businesses exist.”

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