Five Gerstacker students, along with Gerstacker director Mike Frandsen and German professor Perry Myers are in France this week for a unique multinational opportunity.. Albion is one of six schools from four countries participating in "International Week," hosted by Escia, an international business school sponsored by the Versailles Chamber of Commerce.
"We're having a really good time and Escia has been a great opportunity to experience intercultural communication firsthand," said sophomore Jennifer Daly. "I've learned how business can be greatly differ from nation to nation. Altogether, it has been a rewarding and enlightening experience!"
Along with Albion, business schools from Croatia and Hungary are participating Escia's inaugural conference. Albion was paired with a group of Escia students to develop a virtual global business that reflects unique characteristics of the groups' home communities.
"At first, it was extremely difficult to communicate with our French counterparts due to the language barrier," noted Gerstacker student Tom Litzler, '09. "Overcoming this challenge and learning how to share ideas and collaborate with people from different countries will be a valuable asset for our international business relations in the future."
"My French has certainly been revitalized and proven to be in high demand; I have served as translator and even tour guide yesterday for one of the professors from Hungary," Myers noted. "All in all, it's been a fantastic cultural experience for the students. They have had to create a business plan, while at the same time negotiating cultural and language differences. This is an irreplaceable experience for students who are about to enter the global market place in the very near future."
Frandsen explained that the week in France is only the starting point for the exercise. "This trip is for training and preliminary discussion," he noted. "The teams will work on their plans at home and use technology to communicate."
"Most of our students study abroad, but they go to one country; they don't go to a meeting with people from different countries," Frandsen noted.
The eventual outcomes of the program are not yet determined, but Frandsen is looking forward to what happens. "We're kind of making this up as we go along," he admitted. "The idea is to foster some cooperation and see if these bright kids from different places can come up with some interesting business plans."