By Elissa Thompson
Zip lining through the jungle, waterfall hikes and observing other businesses are not what most college students do over Christmas holidays, but 11 students from UMHB got to experience a whole different culture in Costa Rica during the break.
Dr. Jim King, dean of the College of Business discussed the main focus of the trip:
“To observe how the aspects of culture impact business practices.”
King and his wife Debbie, another chaperone traveled to Santa Elena/Monteverde, La Fortuna, Puerto Viejo de Talamanca and San Jose, which is the capital city of Costa Rica. The students who made the trip over the break were Stacy Hillin, Jennifer Loyd, Bob Beckworth, Taylor Barnard, Nate Outland, Tobin Davies, Lauren Reider, Emily Holzman, Ryan Castleman, Daniela Loera and Michael Beach.
They worked as a team while observing Costa Rican businesses and their owners.
King said, “The study abroad program for the College of Business seeks to accomplish three things: Support the global engagement component of the UMHB Strategic Plan, expose students to other cultures to enable them to be better global citizens and Christian witnesses, and expose students to business practices foreign to those at home to enable them to be better business professionals.”
The group not only learned about Costa Rican culture and environment, but they experienced it as well with a visit to a working coffee farm, tour of a cacao forest with a chocolate-tasting experience and visit to a cheese factory.
They also talked to local business owners about starting a business in Costa Rica as an American.
Senior international business major Tobin Davies, who went with King last summer to China, loved interacting with the natives.
He said of the recent trip, “The coolest part was talking to two of the locals, Anna and Pablo. They are brother and sister. Anna studies in the U.S. at a university, but she was back home for Christmas.
He further added that communications were easier than he had assumed.
“Just hearing them talk about what it’s like to live in the mountains. It’s just so cool to connect with them. And they knew really good English, so we didn’t have to bridge that language barrier with them.”
The group did not study and observe businesses the entire time.
The students also enjoyed some fun activities like zip lining through the jungle, shopping, waterfall hikes, and a New Year’s Eve celebration with fireworks.
Senior accounting major Bob Beckworth believes every student should travel to gain world perspectives.
He said, “I feel like every student needs to go on a trip. We get wrapped up in the American dream of just go to college, graduate, get out and go into corporate U.S.A. until we can retire. It was really cool going into a different place and realizing that the American dream isn’t the only way.”
So what made the trip successful?
King said, “I deem this a very successful trip. It was a very manageable team. The students got lots of exposure to culture and business. The students also learned how to put team first and self last.”
For more information on trips, contact, King at (254) 295- 4644 or email@example.com.