By UW-L student intern Heidi Gempeler
Two College of Business Administration professors are turning business students at UW-La Crosse into international travelers this summer as they lead business programs in England and Slovakia.
Nicole Gullekson, UW-L assistant professor of Management, recently returned from a three-week trip to Bratislava, Slovakia, on June 7 with nine UW-L students through the Global Consulting Program (GCP). Students worked on consulting projects for the U.S. Embassy, Dell, the British Council, a universal Czech bank and other organizations abroad. As a management professor at UW-L, this is Gullekson’s fifth time organizing this program since she began teaching in fall 2010.
“Seeing the personal and professional development in the students is the most rewarding part,” Gullekson says. “Studying abroad is life changing for most students and it is great to be part of a program that contributes to that growth.”
Kristy McManus, assistant professor of marketing, leads a month-long stay in Kingston Upon Thames, England, which started Wednesday, July 1. Seven UW-L students are studying Comparative Marketing Systems (MKT 440) as well as a Financial Markets course through Kingston University. This summer program is McManus’s fourth trip abroad with UW-L, including Bratislava, Slovakia in 2012 and 2013, and another program to New Zealand and Australia over winter break 2014-2015 to study Sustainability in Business.
Students studying abroad also get several opportunities to sightsee and travel. Students traveling with McManus will have the opportunity throughout their month in England to take day trips to places such as Stonehenge, as well as take a weekend trip to Paris, France.
“The Kingston summer program is designed with rotating weekly schedule to encourage students to participate in these extra activities,” McManus says.
Gullekson’s students visited the Volkswagen automanufacting plant, took a cultural tour through the town of Bratislava, saw the ruins of a medieval castle, and took a weekend trip to Banska Stiavnica, a UNESCO “World Heritage List” town.
According to the 2014 Open Doors Report, only 9 percent of U.S. undergraduates study abroad before graduation. Taking these trips abroad sets a student apart from the others, looks great on a resume, improves overall communication skills and allows for greater independence and self-confidence, according to UW-L International Education and Engagement (IEE).
“I feel that study abroad is a very important part of our students’ overall college experience,” McManus says. “I really love seeing the students open their eyes to different cultures and experiences. I get to see these students mature and grow on each of these trips, which is an amazing experience for the students and the faculty as well.”