FROSTBURG — Frostburg State University’s College of Business took another step toward globalizing its curriculum when it sent a group of students, alumni and faculty to Peru to experience leadership in an international setting July 24 through Aug. 3.
The trip, part of FSU’s Leadership in Latin America course that combined online coursework and blogging on Tumblr, included meeting local community and government leaders in Cusco and college students studying business in Lima, doing community service in an Andean village and studying Peru’s culture and history in the context of leadership discussions at extraordinary sights such as Machu Picchu. The university teamed up with Reach Out and Learn, a nonprofit organization dedicated to international service learning and cross-cultural community building and dialogue, to organize activities in Peru.
“It was truly a pleasure to work with our colleagues with Reach Out and Learn, the Universidad Pontificia Catolica del Peru, the Universidad San Ignacio de Loyola and Lamanita Travel,” said Jeff McClellan, assistant professor in the Department of Management, who led the trip with Chad Fugate, conference director for Reach Out and Learn, and Carol Gaumer, chair of the Department of Marketing and Finance.
“They went above and beyond to help us create a truly educational international experience. While the focus of this trip was on providing learning experiences for our students, I think I learned as much as they did about leadership in Latin America,” said McClellan. “While all of the students who participated in the experience had already spent time abroad, I am confident this strengthened their global awareness and intercultural leadership skills.”
Dubbed FSU’s Team Peru 2013, Frostburg’s group included senior Tenille Williams, who is majoring in business administration with a concentration in general management; senior Lauren Rich, a business administration major with a concentration in global business who is minoring in Spanish; senior Saul Pena Gamero, a computer science and business administration major; and alumni Donald Ross, a 2012 business administration graduate, and Wayne Keefer, who earned his undergraduate business degree in 2009 and his MBA in 2012.
To connect the trip back to their readings for Leadership in Latin America, group members shared photos and thoughts about leadership on their Tumblr blog. The blog’s theme, “Hoy por ti, mañana por mi,” which translates to “Today for you, tomorrow for me,” reflected Frostburg Team Peru 2013’s goals of sharing knowledge and doing a service project with the Peruvian people, while also learning from them and using those ideas to inspire their futures.
“Leadership and what motivates and inspires followers is a fascinating subject, and to experience leadership in Latin America first-hand was an amazing opportunity,” Keefer said. “Whether it was interviewing a Peruvian politician, or our servant leadership project in a remote Andean village, every step of our journey contributed to a better understanding of leadership. An experience like this goes above and beyond what could ever be learned from a textbook.”
To check out Frostburg Team Peru 2013’s journey, visit its Tumblr blog at frostburgcobperu.tumblr.com and the Facebook Page, facebook.com/fsucobperu. The group also shared pictures and other content with the hashtag #fsucobperu through their Instagram account,
The Peru trip is just the latest in a curricular focus ensuring that College of Business students experience global education as part of their degree programs, said Ahmad Tootoonchi, dean of the college.
“In today’s highly competitive global market, it is essential for our business students to travel overseas, meet people from different cultures, and learn how to communicate and interact with people who have different societal customs, norms and values,” Tootoonchi said. “It is for this important reason that we have established the College of Business Global Experiential Learning Program that facilitates and supports our faculty and students’ travel to selected countries.
Through these international travels, our faculty and students learn lessons that no textbook can furnish. In the College of Business our students come first, and CoB-GEL is an evidence of our commitment to offering them a variety of high quality learning experiences.”