By the end of her sophomore year Rebecca Evridge had never been on an airplane. Now, after a summer study tour, she has lived in Paris for a month and traveled to Ireland and England as well.
Evridge was one of five McColl School of Business students invited to attend the École Supérieure des Sciences Commerciales d'Angers (ESSCA) in France over the summer. As part of the program, students live on their own in Paris, navigating the public transportation system each day, eating in unfamiliar restaurants, and becoming acclimated to Paris while also taking classes at an elite international business school.
She may have started out nervous about traveling, but isn't anymore. "One of the best things about this trip was being given the opportunity to travel to places I've always dreamed about," said the accounting major from Knoxville, Tenn. "Overall we had the best of both worlds, as we had the experience of European learning while living and touring around Europe for a month," Evridge said.
This was the first summer Queens offered the ESSCA opportunity, and Professor Steven Cox wanted this inaugural experience to be immersive for students Evridge, Lainey Coplin, Maggie Hill, Kristin Diemer, and Jonathan Arbogast.
"They had an excellent opportunity to gain an appreciation of how people from other cultures think about things"
- Dr. Steven Cox, McColl School of Business
The trip fostered self-sufficiency and combined cultural exposure with an educational experience idiosyncratic to the region. "They had an excellent opportunity to gain an appreciation of how people from other cultures think about things," said Cox, who serves as the associate dean of the undergraduate business program. "If these students do business overseas they will understand the importance of cultural awareness."
All business majors were eligible, but the applicants had to be highly motivated and prepared to work hard in the available courses in marketing, international finance or organizational behavior. Cox noted that those chosen for the opportunity demonstrated both high grade point averages and strong leadership skills.
Students attended six hours of class each day, all taught in English by European professors, alongside classmates from Russia, Mexico, Australia, and Taiwan among other places. On weekends, and before returning home after the four-week intensive course, the students toured other parts of Europe including Ireland, England, and Italy.
Studying and traveling with classmates from around the world also gave the Queens students a head start on their international business networks. "As a result of the program, I will now be able to call up new friends around the world," Evridge said.
Plus, the five students now have even more competitive resumes, a fact that will help when applying for premiere summer internships after their junior years (such as the one at Ford Motor Company).
Evridge, for one, plans to use her new knowledge of the many differences culturally and in business as a stepping stone, especially when working for an international company. "Overall, I feel we learned how important it is to familiarize oneself in international business as our global economy is constantly changing."