“Singapura” is a Sanskrit word meaning “Lion City,” yet another example of Singapore’s ties with the neighboring South Asian region. My first days spent here in the “Lion City” have been nothing short of incredible, but out of all the places I’ve visited and things I’ve done, three moments in particular stand out in this early courting phase with Singapore.
As I prepare myself to leave for Singapore, I have spent time reflecting on my past trips abroad and why they hold such weight in my memory, why they constitute so much in the construction of my own identity. Beyond seeing new places, being exposed to new cultures and ideas, or learning a new language, traveling for me has always resulted in one essential outcome: a deeper understanding of what it means to be human and how important our connection to others is.
Our goal is to have every student graduate from the McIntire School of Commerce having had some kind of significant international experience. One very attractive option for students in recent years is to enroll in one of our Global Commerce Immersion (GCI) courses during a January term, May Term, or over Spring Break. View full course descriptions here.
Announcing the 2013 line-up for GCI courses at McIntire:
I touched down in Delhi, late Sunday evening, meeting up with Professor Cheema. Except for the masses of Indian people waiting the arrival of other passengers, there were no immediate signs indicating that we were actually 14 hours across the globe in Asia. The terminal was modern and clean, unlike many foreign airports I had previously visited. Professor Cheema and I sat at a café drinking coffee and tea as we anxiously awaited the arrival of our travel buddies. Moreover, English was spoken in abundance. We finally left the airport after each member of our party arrived separately and darted through the night to our hotel, the Taj Ambassador, our new makeshift home for the next week. Barely tired because of the radical time difference, I managed to get a few hours of sleep.
Connaught Place and Chandni Chowk in New and Old Delhi Uniquely thriving shopping centers and multiple modes of transportation
Our first day out in New Delhi we visited Connaught Place, a vibrant shopping center in the heart of New Delhi’s business district. As a first impression, Connaught Place was quite the eye opener with its abundance of people, cars and businesses, but as we quickly learned it was only minor in comparison to the experience we would have the following day in Chandi Chowk market of Old Delhi.
I landed in Delhi on May 15th at 11:30PM. After hours of flight, I was tired and needed transportation from the airport to the Ambassador hotel, where the group was staying. I wandered around the airport for a while and found a prepaid taxi deal for 400 rupees. I was relieved and thought I was going to be able sleep on the way to the hotel. In no way was I prepared for the thrill I was about to experience. I immediately realized I was in India as I got into the black, green, and yellow taxi, taking notice of the driver seat right side location and the pictures of Hindu gods in the car, illuminated by alternating green and red lights.
Delhi: A contradictory city with contradictory sentiments
Landed at the Indira Gandhi International Airport at midnight on May 14th, I was attracted by the modern look of the design of the terminal, despite struggling to combat jetlag as a result of my flight from US to Taiwan two days earlier. New Delhi welcomed me with the black-flannel-like night sky and 80-degree breeze, which I would learn to appreciate after the sun came back out in the morning.
It’s crazy to think that I’ve been in Switzerland for over a month now, and I’ve been in my classes for about 4 weeks. The semester here is definitely shorter than at McIntire. We have 6 weeks of class, 2 weeks of spring break, and then a final 6 weeks of class. I am actually in class for a longer period of time per week, however, with over 20 hours of class in a 3-day period. Many of the classes here are long lectures, several which are one day a week for 4 hours. Thankfully they are broken up into two or three sessions divided by “coffee breaks.”
Last week marked the pinnacle of my core business course at DIS – my entire class traveled to London for a week of academic visits, cultural experiences, and social events. I agree with the many DIS students before me who have said that these study tours really set the DIS program apart from other study abroad programs. I feel like I really got to know London in a way that I wouldn’t have been able to do if I visited the city on my own time. It was amazing to get to travel to another European country and look at the European business environment from another angle. We had the opportunity to visit various companies to gain insight into the strategy behind their business models, how they balance UK and EU regulations, as well as how they deal with their changing business environments. Dow Jones Newswires, Danish Chamber of Commerce, Oxford Science Park, LEO Pharmaceuticals, and Wimbledon were among the companies we visited. Each company had a lot to tell us about their respective industries and the challenges and opportunities that face them.
This past week, my international business class took a trip to Berlin and Prague. The main purpose of the visit is to visit businesses in a European setting but it also involved a lot of cultural immersion and gave us a chance to learn about other countries. The first stop was Berlin where we got the chance to visit Bayer Healthcare Pharmaceuticals and Deutsche Bahn. Both were really interesting presentations and described both the business model in Germany as well as abroad. Personally I am very interested by how pharmaceutical companies work so I enjoyed the presentation by Bayer over all the others. In Prague we visited Skanska, Philips and Citibank. Once again it was really cool to hear about these companies in another country especially because Philips and Citi are so well known and promiment in the US. Most of the presentations also did a really good job of addressing the current economic situation in Europe and how it is affecting them as well as how they are responding to it so the presentations were quite relevant. All of the visits really got me to think about working abroad in the future. I love traveling and after visiting so many companies throughout Europe so far, I think it would definitely be a possibility for me to work abroad for a little while after graduation.