Regional Campus Students Gain Global Perspective on European Study Abroad Program

For the first time ever, Southeast Missouri State University’s regional campuses in Kennett, Malden and Sikeston, Missouri, sent students on a Harrison College of Business short-term study abroad trip in Belgium, Germany, Netherlands and France May 15-25.

The students joined 23 students from the main campus who explored European business and cultural sites.

Regional campus students joining in the experience were Kennett Campus students Grace McCaig, an early childhood education major, and Caitlin Woods, a middle and secondary education major with a minor in English, both from Kennett, Missouri; Malden Campus student Brandon Quertermous, a business management major from Dexter, Missouri; and Sikeston Campus students Katie Brewer, an early childhood and elementary education major from Jackson, Missouri, and Phoenix Horrell, a nursing major from Puxico, Missouri.

The participating students received credit for UI 343 “Transcultural Experience.”

“This trip was one of the best experiences of my life,” Quertermous said.  “I am so grateful to SEMO for granting me the opportunity to go.”

Rain fell as the group toured Aachen, Germany.

Faculty leading the trip were Dr. James Caldwell, director of Graduate Business Programs and associate professor of management; Dr. Peter Gordon, director of international programs and professor of marketing; and Dr. Kenneth Heischmidt, professor of management and marketing.

“The students gained a global view and built the confidence in their ability to travel anywhere,” said Gordon. “They are as capable of a career in the global workplace as are people in New York or Los Angeles. Coming from a small town is no barrier to globalization.

“I hope more regional campus students choose to participate in future programs, including semester abroad programs,” he said.

Students traveled to the cities of Brussels, Leuven, Aachen, Margraten and Paris, visiting corporate sites and national landmarks, including the world headquarters for Anheuser-Busch InBev and Materialise, a major 3D Printing facility, both in Leuven, Belgium; Netherlands American Cemetery in Margraten, Netherlands; and the Eiffel Tower, the Bastille, Du Louvre and Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, France.

Laura (Grace) McCaig and Caitlin Woods at the AB/Inbev world headquarters in Leuven, Belgium, where students participated in an internship presentation and tour.

“My favorite landmark by far was the Eiffel Tower at night,” said Horrell, who aspires to be a nurse practitioner in geriatrics, a medical military officer or an overseas medical missionary. “Being able to lie underneath it and watch it light up every hour was something I can’t express in words.

“This trip has broadened my horizons as to what I have the potential to do in life,” she said. “This was a trip of a lifetime.”

Woods says she aspires to earn her master’s degree in school administration after completing her Bachelor of Science in Education, middle school education.  She wants to go on to teach college English.

“Once I traveled, I feel that other parts of the world are more culturally aware,” she said. “I want to be able to speak more languages so I can not only help my students transition better, but also be able to communicate with all walks of life.”

Dr. Ken Heischmidt, center, and Southeast students at the Labyrinth Drielandenpunt, located where the Netherlands, Germany and Belgium meet. It is also the largest outdoor shrub maze.

She said that in her first week after returning home, she already had begun learning French

“The experience in itself was amazing,” she added. “I have never been outside of the U.S. before this, so I am very grateful for this experience. This trip was so enlightening and was able to literally broaden my horizons.”

Woods said the instructors who guided the students on the trip “are a blessing to our institution as well as to this program. I could never thank everyone enough for allowing me to see the world and be more culturally aware.”

The study abroad program was a new cultural experience for many of the students, who returned home with a new global perspective.

“My favorite experience was living the lifestyle of the Europeans,” Brewer said.  “This trip showed me that I need to get out of my box a little more and try new things. I would like to thank SEMO for this amazing opportunity and allowing me to travel internationally for the first time. A special thank you to Dr. Borgsmiller from the Sikeston campus and to the Cape campus professors that traveled with us.”

Students visited the Atomium in Brussels.

Quertermous, who hopes to own his own business someday, said the experience was helpful for his future business goals and also allowed him to network.

“My favorite experience on this trip was getting to meet all of the new people,” he said. “Just from going on this trip, I now have friends all over the world. I made friends not only from the countries we visited, but from Poland, Japan and China. It was very interesting comparing our cultures.

“I hope the school continues giving students at the regional campuses these opportunities. I would recommend this trip to anyone!” he said.

Horrell added, “I would absolutely love to go on another adventure like this. I hope that SEMO offers more experiences and opportunities like this for future students because the change that it made in my life was unexplainable. I am so thankful and so blessed.”

 

Photo Caption: Top photo taken at Versailles, just outside of Paris, France.