Last June, 27 students took part in Davenport University’s EuroBiz study abroad experience. The students traveled to various European countries including Italy, France, Germany, Switzerland and the Netherlands. They learned the ins and outs of how various organizations conducted their operations and the different tactics they used to market their products. They also got a glimpse into how their production processes worked.
Mercedes-Benz, a Swiss chocolate and cheese factory, a silk shop and a motorcycle production plant were just a few of the businesses that were on tap for students during the trip. MarJolijn van der Velde, a Davenport management professor and lead faculty member of the trip, described her outlook on the experience.
“There are three different perspectives as it relates to this trip – personal, professional and academic,” said van der Velde.
“You learn by actually seeing and doing in person. Instead of learning about logistics at Mercedes-Benz from a textbook, we go to Manheim, Germany to walk through their factory and hear from employees about how they make it work.”
When asked what she took away from the trip, van der Velde said she now has more real-world business cases she can use to teach her classes.
Team building was one core activity the students focused on during the trip. They took part in various activities and educational simulations to decide on the best outcomes together — just as many business professionals do in the real world.
Between team building activities, eating great food and learning how businesses operate abroad, students got a wide variety of experience and culture throughout the EuroBiz trip.
Hannah Cederquist, a senior legal studies major at Davenport, shared her thoughts about the trip.
“The experience was life-changing. I learned so much about myself, new countries and cultures, businesses, and legal institutes. I made so many new friends and loved every second,” she said
Cederquist also expressed that what she learned at Davenport before heading to Europe helped her throughout the trip. Her advice to students who are considering participating in study abroad?
“I took an intercultural communications class the winter semester before I left, which helped me prepare to handle casual and business settings abroad. Even if you are nervous [to take part in study abroad], just jump all in and commit because it was the best thing I have ever done.”
We also talked to Keith Goodrich, a business and management studies major, about his EuroBiz 2019 experience.
“This was an experience of a lifetime,” he said. “In general, it was the moment of stepping out of one’s comfort zone and grasping the concept of how different cultures vary from country to country.”
Goodrich went on to explain that the trip helped him gain respect for the various European countries they visited.
“The European adventure has given me the confidence to travel to other countries and experience the magnificent wonders the world has to offer.”
Goodrich also touched on how his experience at Davenport helped him during this trip.
“Davenport provided the business concepts that helped me prepare for what to look for while visiting the companies abroad, such as what their business model is, how it applies to their focus in business success and how their strategy helps them succeed.”
The 2019 EuroBiz study abroad trip provided an opportunity for students to grow as individuals, students, and professionals. For many who participated, it was a once in a lifetime experience they’ll never forget.
To learn more about Davenport University’s study abroad programs, visit https://www.davenport.edu/study-abroad.