By Liz Warren-Pederson
“Studying in Spain not only allowed me to complete my business administration minor in four weeks, but I was also exposed to an entirely different culture and experience that I wouldn’t have found if I had taken these classes in Tucson,” said Natalie Bendroff, a retail and consumer sciences major and newly minted business minor.
2010 marked the second summer UA students were able to complete an entire business administration minor in Spain. Through the program, students are exposed to Spain’s unique culture and economy while completing nine units of general business credits in only four weeks.
“Throughout the session, were we in charge of creating a business that was new to Spain,” said economics major Ryan Ruiz. “Although this program was challenging, it succeeded at what classes sometimes fail to do: it took concepts that were learned in a textbook and made us apply them in real-life situations,” said economics major Ryan Ruiz.
The students studied in Madrid, Seville, and Barcelona, attending daily classes from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Although the program did not require students to learn any Spanish, they participated in pre-trip sessions to learn about Spanish customs, traditions, and basic language skills, all designed to minimize culture shock.
In each city, students were given time for day trips, interaction with local residents, and sightseeing. They went to the beach in Seville, visited the Museo del Prado in Madrid, relaxed in Retiro Park, and celebrated Spain’s World Cup victory.
“The most beneficial part of the trip was becoming so close with the professors,” Bendroff said. “By having a more personal environment on the trip, we all became extremely close, which allowed me to have fun while being in class for long hours. The close relationships drove me to put even more effort into my assignments and projects.”
The courses were intended to encompass global business practices with hands-on experience in a different culture. The professors worked hard to motivate students by incorporating extracurricular activities into the academic material, including a scavenger hunt through one of the cities, a canoe race down the lake for extra credit, and Flamenco dance lessons.
The program, offered in partnership with CEA Global Education, continues to expand to provide a rich experience for non-Eller students seeking a business minor.