I walked into the well-lit McIntire auditorium room 120 while slowly sipping my coffee. I took a quick look around the room and noticed other slowly waking students chatting in low tones as Professor Harris and Professor Maillet waited for the chime of 8:30 am to begin. As I took in the atmosphere, I thought to myself “It’s almost impossible to believe that we started this program about 9 months ago.” I remember so well walking into the exact same room in much more formal attire sweating from the nerves of the unknown and the August heat for orientation. Now dressed in shorts and a t-shirt it was hard to believe that the same group of people sat in the same chairs in such a different situation than last August. Orientation week feels like eons ago as we are transformed from the nervous, wide-eyed, unsure students we were when we began to the assured, confident, emboldened Masters of Commerce students we are now. The year has been long, challenging, intense, but above all else, rewarding.
Then, Professor Harris began his welcome, snapping me out of my daydream about how far we’ve come as young professionals. We began to walk through the syllabus for the GIE residency week and I quickly realized the hard work wasn’t over. During the course of the week, we would prepare hour and a half long seminars on one of the countries that we were to visit with a team of five or six group members. In addition, we would research and prepare a company brief about one of the companies or industries that our track would meet with. We also had lots of readings to do to prepare for lectures on culture, history and economic background of the region as a whole.
Now at the end of the week, I can report that it was very challenging. The information upload of an entire region of the world is a hard thing to grasp in the period of a week. That being said, I now feel very ready to arrive in the region with a background of information on which I can build by experiencing. The context acquired during this week has allowed us to grasp the large concepts of the area while getting excited to get on the ground. We’ve learned about the people, location, political economy and global presence of the countries that we will be visiting through a series of presentations given by our peers. We’ve also done a deep dive into each company that we will be visiting on GIE as each student prepared a briefing on the background, industry, and relevancy of our visits. Additionally, outside of the classroom, our group of about 25 traveling to South America have met to have dinner and get to know one another better. All in all, the week was long and full of information but every minute was exciting and thrilling as we are now prepared to head off on our adventures!
Stay tuned for upcoming blogs on our time overseas for the next part of GIE!
-Written by Christin Wade-Vulturo