The world of study abroad is changing. Participants are becoming more diverse and are demanding more major specific options to study away from campus. In addition, they want more opportunities to learn by doing in internships, practicums, site visits, and independent studies. A recent CCCU survey of more than 3,000 students found that the top five things CCCU students look for in an off-campus program are:
- Adventure and fun (70%)
- Beautiful/specific geographical location (63%)
- Travel opportunities (60%)
- Multicultural experiences (59%)
- Academic excellence (54%)
Additionally, data from the Institute for International Education’s 2018 Open Doors Report indicates that over 20% of U.S. students studying abroad are business and management majors.
With this data in hand, the CCCU’s Australia Studies Centre (ASC) has been adapting its program to provide deep, active learning in ways that are both attractive and beneficial to students. Specifically, the ASC’s new program in international business will offer students an adventure-filled travel program that is based in Australia and provides opportunities to travel to other countries around the region. The program will be centered on four core values: faith integrated academic content; rigorous and experientially based practices; skills focused; and rooted and relational experiences.
In the spring of 2020, the ASC will offer its first reimagined semester that allows students to explore the many facets of working internationally in either a for-profit or nonprofit organization. This semester will be a pilot program, offering ASC the time and space to grow into a new program model. Its integrated curriculum will explore such topics as comparative economics, consumer behavior (international marketing), social entrepreneurship, managing a diverse workforce, and sustainability. Specific emphasis will be placed on gaining hands-on business experience through travel, coursework, site visits, and interaction with the people and places of Australia, Indonesia, and other countries in Asia.
Lessons learned from this pilot semester will be used to ensure that ASC’s program best meets the needs of CCCU students and their home institutions in the years to come, says ASC program director Don DeGraaf. “We hope to create an experience that will open students’ eyes to a variety of new and different paths of using business for the common good,” he says. “These experiences will ask students to cut across disciplines and swirl together academics, travels, hands-on experiences, site visits, internships, community living, and digging deeply wherever God places us. What we hope they will get in return is an experience map all their own – one that demonstrates God’s faithfulness and points them to a life of consequence.”
As a part of this process, the ASC is developing an advisory committee to assist in the creation and evaluation of curriculum that will develop the competencies required for international business majors, preparing them to thrive in today’s competitive global economy