Imagine taking a class that offers a trek through Costa Rican rain forests, a hike through the Swiss Alps, or a zip line ride 300 feet above ground, while gaining a cultural and educational experience. The Anderson University Falls School of Business offers this type of class through its annual Tri-S trip. The FSB has hosted trips to France, Switzerland, and Costa Rica, with a trip to Europe planned for next fall. Students have the opportunity to participate in a global classroom experience by having the option of taking three classes while being immersed into a foreign culture.
The Tri-S office created the trip in coordination with the Falls School of Business by taking a traditional international trip and incorporating a class. Tri-S provides students with low-cost cultural and mission related travel opportunities. Students can gain six credit hours while on the trip by taking business finance, global business, and operations management. [Photo on left: Senior Natalie Nagengast stands in front of a large coffee plantation in Costa Rica. Coffee is one of the top exports and cash crops in the country.]
Mark Motluck, associate professor of accounting and business accompanied the students on the trip to Costa Rica, along with Associate Professor of Management Dr. Frank Pianki and Professor of Finance and Economics Dr. Kent Saunders. These facilitators believe the Tri-S trips create opportunities that break beyond classroom boundaries.
Senior Natalie Nagengast attended the trip to Costa Rica and is no stranger to foreign cultures. Nagengast has been to China, Brazil, and Europe prior to Costa Rica and believes that a global perspective is vital for students.
“Visiting foreign countries gives you an exposure to other cultures and allows you to relate globally to people in a business or everyday setting,” said Nagengast. “You can market yourself internationally, and become relatable to people of other cultures.”
Although Nagengast has been to four countries, she particularly enjoyed her trip to Costa Rica and experienced aspects she can apply to her future career. Nagengast’s ultimate career goal is to own her own business, which specializes in sustainability efforts, impacting the world environmentally. [Photo on right: Natalie Nagengast stands in front of a large plant in a Costa Rican rainforest.]
While on the trip to Costa Rica, the students met with executives at Bridgestone Tire's international headquarters and visited a prominent coffee plantation. Motluck believes students benefit greatly from experiences like these.
“In a short period of time you can see the students impacted,” he said. “I remember the students in the conference room at Bridgestone discussing international business with upper-level executives. They’re able to see what they learn in the classroom internationally.”
Although the trip offers unique educational opportunities, it also offers one-of-a-kind cultural experiences. In Switzerland last year, the students hiked the Swiss Alps. While in Costa Rica, the students climbed two volcanoes and zip-lined 300 feet above the rainforest.
With the growing global economy, the Falls School of Business hopes to continue these trips for years to come.
“To be willing to explore new cultures is admirable in anyone,” said Nagengast. “Adapting to the world and business go hand-in-hand.”
Motluck agreed. “Students cannot get the same experience by reading a text book,” he said. “It is crucial for people to break out of their comfort zone and experience a whole different perspective on the world.” [Photo on left: The group prepares to zip-line 300 feet above the rainforest in Costa Rica on Dec. 30, 2010.]
“It used to be that our competitors were a state over,” said Motluck. “Now we need to think globally to be successful.”
— Joseph Matas is a senior from Anderson, Ind., majoring in communication arts and minoring in marketing. Matas is an associate with Fifth Street Communications™, writing on behalf of the Anderson University Office of University Communications.
Anderson University is a private Christian university of 2,600 undergraduate and graduate students in central Indiana. Anderson continues to be recognized as a top Christian college: in 2010, U.S. News and World Report ranked Anderson University among the best colleges and universities in the Midwest for the seventh consecutive year. Established in 1917 by the Church of God, Anderson University offers more than 65 undergraduate majors and graduate programs in business, education, music, nursing and theology.