Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Traveling the World through GLOBE

Today we welcome Kristine Leary, a business major who has just returned from studying abroad through the GLOBE program. 

In the past year I have traveled to 22 countries. I have made a presentation in front of executives from one of the largest companies in Europe. I have worked on teams comprised of students from three top universities on three different continents. Most importantly, I have built a network of friends and colleagues that spans from the US to Europe to Asia and back again.

While all of this might sound like something from the life of an international businessman, it was all a part of my life as an international business student with Kenan-Flagler’s GLOBE (Global Learning Opportunities in Business Education Program). This collaboration between UNC, Copenhagen Business School, and the Chinese University of Hong Kong is one of a kind in the world of undergraduate business. Lasting three semesters, the program selects 15 students from each university to live and study first in Copenhagen, then in Hong Kong, and finally in Chapel Hill. Over the course of these 18 months, this international cohort of students learns about the unique business environment in the host country and what it is like to work on multicultural teams.

Perhaps even more important than the coursework, however, GLOBE students get the unique possibility to see the world from a new perspective through the friendships built with their international counterparts and through the travel opportunities the program affords. There are few things as transformative to a person’s point of view as international travel, and international travel with international students by your side provides an even more insightful experience.

While GLOBE is a program demanding academic excellence, the students, especially the Americans, come from all walks of life. In my group there some students who had already traveled the world when GLOBE began and for some it was the first time leaving the country. Two are international students. We have double majors ranging from philosophy to religious studies to mathematics. By any definition of the word, we are diverse. But what we have in common is the quality that is most important when applying to the GLOBE program: we all have a genuine curiosity about the world, a desire to better understand what is beyond our borders.

When I started at Carolina three years ago, I knew I wanted to study abroad, but I never dreamed that I would have the opportunity to study in both Europe and Asia. I never imagined that I would call students from Denmark and Hong Kong my best friends. I never could have known how much I would learn and how many places I would visit over the course of a year. And I never thought it would become such an integral part of shaping who I am today. So I urge any business student to whom this sounds appealing to apply for GLOBE, because you never know where it might take you.