Business majors given alternative to study abroad

Credit options include foreign language and international classes

In the past, business majors have had the choice between meeting one of two requirements to graduate: they could study abroad or complete a modern foreign language course up to 2302 or its equivalent.

However, according to Charlene Davis, Marketing Professor and Chair of the Department of Business Administration, the study abroad requirement for the School of Business has changed due to COVID-19.

There are now multiple accommodations students can choose from, depending mainly on their experience with a foriegn language.

“For some students, [the accommodation] is to take the intermediate language class and you’re done. For some students, they haven’t taken a language class since freshman year, so in some cases, it was take a language class, fulfilling the spirit of requirement if not letter of it. For other students, we have them take an international class to learn more about what goes on outside the U.S. border,” said Davis.

While some business students have no choice but to take one of the accommodations, for business majors who still have at least another year, studying abroad is still possible.

And for those who want to experience other cultures, participating in a study abroad course is a great option.

There are two types of study abroad opportunities available to Trinity students. The first is the traditional study abroad program in which the Trinity student will go off on their own to another country and take classes with another university for a semester.

The second type of study abroad opportunity is a faculty-led study program. Mario Gonazales-Fuentes, Associate Professor of Marketing, has led multiple study abroad programs, so he is very familiar with the process and the requirements for business majors.

“One of the requirements for a faculty led study abroad trip [to meet the business major requirement] is that it has to be six weeks or longer,” said Gonzales-Fuentes.

Whatever study abroad option business students choose, the School of Business will provide a lot of support, and they work closely with the Center for International Engagement to do so. Dante Suarez, Associate Professor in the Finance and Decision Sciences Department, is a member of the School of Business faculty that is active in study abroad programs.

“[The Center for International Engagement] and the faculty in the school of business are very well connected, so immediately we would look at a case and see it from both ends… as you’re zooming in one or another [study abroad program], they will send you back to your advisor in the School of Business to see how your particular situation combines with study abroad,” said Suarez.

One of the more complicated, but also one of the most important, aspects of studying abroad is making sure the credits will transfer back to Trinity. “The more advanced you are in your degree the more you want to make sure that the classes you take meet a requirement. If you go on your own, pretty much 80-90 percent of classes are transferred back,” said Gonzales-Fuentes.

The faculty in the School of Business also encourage students to study abroad because they place a lot of value on international engagement.

“On a professional level, the intercultural capacities of being able to communicate with people that are different from you are essential, and there is no better way to obtain this than studying abroad. It makes you a much better candidate for business. Pretty much all business is international,” said Suarez.

With that being said, the Trinity School of Business would not encourage anyone to do something that doesn’t make them feel safe.

“I would be a little more circumspect in my advocacy [for study abroad], even though it appears we are getting on the right side of this pandemic, people are still going to have anxiety about traveling. [I’m] currently letting the students talk [about whether] this [study abroad] is something they and their parents feel safe about,” said Davis.