Post by MBA student Andres Deza; Pictures by MBA students Emily Lapp, Fangdanyang Huang, Luis Vidaurri Zuniga, Sunita Redfern and Qiaoling Cai.
The study abroad program to Spain and Morocco was an extremely positive and enlightening opportunity that I was lucky to be a part of. The program helped promote education, networking, and cultural awareness through constructive classroom activities, noteworthy company tours, cultural expeditions, and memorable group dinners. Additionally, it provided an ideal atmosphere in which to meet other students, enhance networking skills, learn from professors, and interact with business professionals in an international setting.
From an academic perspective, I really enjoyed interacting and learning from a variety of scholars such as: MBA students from other cohorts at USD, individuals from the MSGL program at USD, and international students from both Spain and Morocco. The diverse array of people provided a unique and constructive classroom environment, which allowed me to maximize my international educational experience. The program also gave me the chance to learn from both international instructors and USD professors about the intricacies of global business. Having such high caliber professionals teach in this type of program was essential for providing a well-rounded education in a global context. Finally, the guest speakers recruited for the program, which ranged from entrepreneurs to working businessmen/women, also enhanced the overall quality of the program. It was inspirational to hear some of the speaker’s first hand experiences in global business and their views on some of the major challenges they encountered during their careers.
There was also a major cultural component that was constantly emphasized throughout the trip. The activities organized by program liasons had cultural depth and exposed the students to some of the cultural differences between the United States and countries such as Spain and Morocco. Major activities included guided walking expeditions, organized bus tours, and planned dinners at some iconic local restaurants. All the activities enhanced the cultural elements of each destination and gave all the students a better understanding about the flow of life in other societies.
Overall this opportunity has really help broaden my global perspective, particularly from a business standpoint. It was interesting to see firsthand the pivotal role cultural differences can play when conducting or developing a business in another country. There are many variables to think about especially when constructing the proper business strategy and dealing with local legal and political constraints. International business is a complex and dynamic environment that requires individuals to have innovative and critical minds such as the ones USD targets to develop.
I was most impressed by the different societies and cultures at each of the destinations we visited on our journey. For example, I was amazed to learn about some of real economic hardships facing the Spanish working population in the current day. It was even more astonishing to feel the people’s resilience, determination, and unity when they spoke about overcoming the difficult economic situation they face. Also, I was shocked to learn how harmonious and connected the people are with one another in an area such as Morocco. In spite of having three very distinct and conflicting religions practiced throughout the country, there is little violence and negativity regarding this topic. These interactions make me feel extremely lucky to participate in a study abroad program such as the recent one to Spain and Morocco. I look forward to sharing my adventures with many others in the future and hope to participate in another study abroad program soon enough.