“You can talk about a place and see pictures of it, but you can’t truly get a sense of it until you walk the streets and feel the climate,” said Dr. Sandra Rahman, chair of the economics department. “We were so thrilled to offer this. It started as just a kernel of an idea a number of years ago.”
The group spent 12 days in China this month traveling to major business destinations such as Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong. They also visited historic sites, such as the Great Wall of China.
A tour guide spent the entire trip with the group, providing information on the history of the country and the current business climate.
Students were transformed by the experience, according to business Professor Mary Rogers, who had spent a sabbatical living in China. “It’s like landing on another planet. None of the signs are in English. The cities are absolutely enormous and incredibly dense.”
Joining Rahman and Rogers on the trip was accounting Professor Beverly Soriano and merchandising Professor Virginia Noon.
The group also included nine undergraduate students, two graduate students and three alumni.
For the undergraduate students, the trip is part of a hybrid course on doing business in China that will continue throughout the spring semester. For graduate students the trip constituted an independent study.
Rahman said she is thrilled with the amount of interest there was in the trip.
“Bigger schools than Framingham State often try to plan trips like this and end up canceling because they can’t get six people to go,” she said. “We had 18. I think it speaks to our track record of organizing successful international trips.”
FSU students were not the only ones who benefited from the trip. It also provided a 21st Century learning opportunity for a class of students at Newton North High School who were digitally connected to the group as they traveled throughout the country.
Rahman said it is her hope to continue offering similar travel opportunities to students each year because the educational experience is invaluable.
“So much learning goes on outside the classroom,” Rahman said. “And for students who haven’t traveled much, I think there is a huge comfort gained from traveling to a foreign place with faculty they know.”
Future travel opportunities could include a trip to multiple sites in Southeast Asia, including Malaysia and Indonesia, Rahman said.