North Central College - Naperville, IL

Graduate course offers students chance to study, travel abroad

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North Central College graduate students traveled to Greece during D-Term on a study abroad course dedicated exclusively for them. Thirteen students from various graduate programs embarked on a 3-credit course designed to advance their studies, careers and personal exploration outside the classroom. In particular, they gained an understanding of Greek history, economics, politics and culture as they relate to the region.

Titled the Role of Greece in the Southeast European Union, the course and destination were strategically chosen, says Robert Moussetis, who led the course and is associate professor of international business and graduate coordinator for the M.B.A. and master in international business (M.I.B.A.) programs.

“With its economic, political and cultural struggles at center stage, Greece was an excellent study for all our programs,” says Moussetis. “Students learned firsthand what’s really going on in the private and government sectors, with leadership, education and culture, and could relate their experiences to their specific area of study.”

Moussetis knows Greece very well. Born and raised in Athens, he knows his way around town and has connections with national leaders and teachers who addressed students on site.

Preparation for the nine-day trip started well before D-Term. Students attended classes on campus during fall term and before leaving for Athens. They finished their coursework with a written reflection and major research paper due during winter term. Once in Greece, students stayed in a top-rated hotel, commuted to a graduate university for daytime lectures and seminars, explored the cultural scene in evenings and took a daylong field trip.

At the end of the trip, M.B.A. student Matthew Borchardt ’11/M ’13 admitted he didn’t want to come back home. “I’m already looking for ways to work and live in foreign countries in the future. It’s all about the experience, seeing and learning how people do things differently.”

Lectures by guest speakers were impressive, Borchardt says. “I heard the former deputy finance minister give his perspective of the country’s finances, a former delegate from Greece to the European Union and a local businessman. Their lectures fit right in line with my degree focus and especially the international finance class I’m taking right now. I studied biochemistry as an undergrad, so it was cool to personally see how advanced ancient Greece was for its time.”

Moussetis says, “Ideally, we’d like all graduate and undergraduate students to study abroad at some point during their time at North Central. The experience sensitizes and enriches their lives and studies and it benefits North Central, too.”

Future graduate study abroad trips head to Central America in 2013, China in 2014 and United Arab Emirates in 2015. There are no academic prerequisites, but a two-term enrollment in any of the seven graduate programs is required. The course is required for students in the M.I.B.A. program but is an elective for those in other graduate programs.

01-29-2013