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Short Term Study Abroad for Graduate Students Q&A

Andrew Zamorski  /  1/16/2019  /   / Twitter / Facebook /  

Sustainability in Scandinavia, innovation in India and Geschäft in Germany. These are just a few of the business concepts DePaul students can learn while participating in one of the short-term study abroad courses offered by the Driehaus College of Business. And it’s not just undergraduates who can take advantage of these opportunities.

We spoke with Melissa Markley, assistant professor of marketing and chair of the Driehaus College of Business International Committee, about the benefits of studying abroad for graduate students. Markley has been interested in studying abroad since her fourth grade French class spent part of the summer participating in a foreign exchange program to Paris. The smells, sights, sounds and food from Paris remain as vivid in her memory today as when she was exploring the foreign city as a neophyte traveler – an experience that convinced her of the importance of education-based travel. Markley leads two short-term study abroad courses a year to Switzerland and Scandinavian countries as well as the committee that reviews and approves study abroad programs for the college.

What is Short-Term Study Abroad?

Short-term study abroad is the opportunity to take a topic and learn it from an experiential and immersed environment. Traveling for seven to 14 days, our students are learning from real business environments. They are not in the classroom; the world is their classroom. Short-term study abroad courses have a mandatory 12 credit hours (of classroom instruction) to complete (at DePaul) before leaving on their trip. There are assignments, learning objectives and a final presentation or term paper. The trips are purely experiential—they are quick, immersive, rigorous and content heavy. Each trip is led by a professor who has meticulously planned each day of the short-term study abroad, including at least five organizational visits that exemplify the course topic. These have included FIFA and UNICEF in Switzerland, BMW and Porsche in Germany, Louis Vuitton in Paris and Carlsberg Beer in Copenhagen, to name a few.

Why is it important that students learn while traveling abroad?

Students need to see that there are different experiences, adventures, languages, food, architecture, people and cultures. If you are not seeing the breadth of what is going on in the world, you are missing out. With globalization, it is hard to find a job that doesn’t have an international component, whether it is dealing with foreign customers, clients, competition and more. International business courses are great for teaching about global issues affecting businesses, but what they don't teach you is what life and culture looks like in these countries. You cannot teach that in a classroom. How can graduate students benefit from short-term study abroad? Networking, networking, networking.

For undergraduate students, short-term study abroad is often more about delivering content and providing them with a lens to view what they can do in their future. However, for graduate students, short-term study abroad is more about networking, connectivity and sharing business knowledge. Graduate students come to the trips with a breadth of work and life experiences in the real world, yet many haven't traveled out of the country. With our organizational visits, short-term study abroad students interact with colleagues and peers in different countries who can become great connections. They learn about concepts and business topics that are universal and can be applied to their own careers. These short-term study abroad trips can be life changing and career enhancing.

Why is short-term study abroad ideal for graduate students?

Most graduate students can’t take a semester off to go study in Europe. Some only get two weeks for paid time off. Short-term study abroad courses are compact trips—most less than two weeks—where almost anyone can fit it into their vacation time. In addition, these trips are financially doable. With flights, hotels, transportation, many meals and incredible activities built into the price, you probably can’t plan a trip for less than the ones we offer. Short-term study abroad courses just fit well for graduate students because they won’t be away from work or their families for too long. An added benefit for graduate students is that, if they wish, they can extend their trips and stay in the same country or visit other nearby countries at the end of the short-term study abroad course. It’s a great way to tag some fun at the end of these work-intensive courses.

Learn more about the upcoming short-term study abroad trips for DePaul students