By Joseph Horch,
Stillman News Contributor
Over this past winter break, while a majority of Seton Hall University students were spending time with family and friends ringing in the new year, a class of 13 students and two family members were making last minute preparations for a week-long trip to the fascinating country of Chile.
Over the next week, the group would meet with executives from market leaders such as Deloitte and Codelco, as well as nonprofits and startups.
They also had multiple opportunities to experience the rich and diverse culture of Chile first hand.
Doing Business in Chile substituted two courses for students; their core three courses Engaging the World and International Business.
All students in the business school must take Global Business to fulfill their “Engaging the World” graduation requirement.
The trip officially started on January 2, when most of the students arrived in Santiago, Chile’s capital. Once everyone had made it safely to the hotel in downtown Santiago, they departed for a bike tour around the city.
Lasting close to three hours, the class biked down the near empty streets of Santiago. There were hardly any vehicles on the streets thanks to a three-day holiday declared by the government to celebrate the New Year.
Over the next three days, the class met with the business community of Santiago. The class met with executives from McCann Erickson, Movistar, Startup Chile, and Compania Cervecerias Unidas (a brewery).
Most, if not all, of the meetings, were group discussions centered on the firm’s particular industry
Before writing this, I had the opportunity to talk to Dr. Laurence McCarthy, the professor for the course(s). I asked him: Why students should be interested in “Doing Business Abroad” trips?
In summary, he said that students should sign up for the trip because not only do they get to interact with business executives from different countries with different world views, but they also get to experience cultures that they otherwise would not have had the opportunity to interact with.
He also mentioned that students could complete two classes in about week with a few papers afterward.
The business professionals that the group met with had some fantastic insights and having the opportunity to speak with them gave the class a wealth of knowledge that could only be attained through immersion in the culture.
On their last day, the class ventured to Valparaiso, a port city on Chile’s coast. Valparaiso was once a booming port town that served ships from all around the world.
However, when the Panama Canal opened in 1914, Valparaiso saw much of its industry disappear. The city has yet to capture its former glory, but it is trying to.
More impressive than the hillside views overlooking the Pacific was some of the incredible street art.
Blocks of stairways and alleys vibrating with original works of art that told a unique story of the city and its people.
After exploring the streets of Valparaiso, they boarded a bus to the Kingston Winery in the Casablanca Valley.
Upon their arrival, two graduate students from Princeton University met the class.
They gave them a tour of the vineyards and winery before the group sat down for their last meal as a class.
The meal was fantastic and was only outdone by the magnificent view of the valley they had.
Participating in the trip myself, I encourage any student interested in traveling to reach out to Dr. McCarthy or any of the other program directors.
Next year Dr. McCarthy hopes to travel to Brazil with a group of around 20 students.
A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, January 24th print edition.
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