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What do you think about international trips?

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Manager
Joined: 06 Feb 2006
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03 May 2007, 04:49
I wanted to make a poll, but I don't know how to make a good one. (so admire johnnyx9, rhyme, and aaudetat of that ability. They can make a good poll about everything ).
Anyways, a majority of schools have some kinds of international study trips. Do you guys think they are any good (or just a way to show off)? Are they really beneficial or just like a official vacation? And are they worth the \$?
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03 May 2007, 06:09
That's an interesting question. I've considered the value of these trips as well. I think the best thing about going on an international trip with your classmates is that it's a great chance to really bond. Of course there are many opportunities to get to know your classmates while you're in school. But travelling together, and exploring a new culture together, will give you a chance go get to know these newfound friends in a completely different way.

So maybe five years down the road you're looking for a new job, and you find out your classmate who you travelled with is now the VP at some bank you're interested in working for. So you call him up and say, "Hey Bob, remember the time in Egypt when we rented the dune-buggy and you were driving and you flipped it over and nearly killed us? Boy, those were some crazy times. Anyways, can you hook me up with a job?"

More interesting meaningful experiences will make your friendships stronger and more meaningful and create a stronger network. I know it seems odd to consider "friendships" in such an analytical way, but in the end I think of "networking" as really just making friends, developing relationships where a person is going to be inclined to help you because they like you and vice versa.
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03 May 2007, 07:45
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I don't think they're the amazing exploratory experiences that the schools make them out to be. Most students say it's just a really great time. I think Johnny's right that it's really about seeing a different part of the world and working more closely with your classmates. They're probably a good idea if you have minimal international experience or need some specific international exposure for your career goals. I am sure these things look good on resumes:

"Yes, I am extremely interested in the burgeoning animal cracker manufacturing industry in Djibouti. In fact, I lead a trip to the area and personally set up a meeting with ___________, the current VP of Salt Acquisition of your company."
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31 Mar 2008, 20:29
reviving this one for togafoot and other international students' input, as well as current students who plan on doing/did a trip.
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31 Mar 2008, 22:20
Ha ha!!!

My input...

More like a bonding experience and a team working experience. I don't think a week or 2 will give enough exposure to the culture and business practises of a country.

However i would say, if you are interested in participating in an international exchange but are not sure where to go, the international trips will be beneficial by giving you a brief exposure to the country. First impressions are important, so if you find that you don't enjoy it, then you probably saved yourself a semester of attending somewhere you don't like.

If someone is serious about international exposure, then the student exchange is important. The International trip is something different.
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31 Mar 2008, 23:11
I say go for it! As an American who has lived/worked/studied in several countries overseas, I can honestly say it has been the greatest educational experience for me. The bonding with fellow classmates will also be huge and genuinely enjoyable. And if you're really serious about doing international business, then it will be a great time to see how you "react" to the new environment. Living overseas vs. traveling overseas are two different things and you will see if it is the right "fit" for you.

Even if you don't have plans to work in that area or whatever, you never know when you'll have the time and opportunity to go on a trip like that again.

Although I've been fortunate to live overseas and my career focus is on China/SE Asia, I will still go on one of these tours. However, I will most likely go to a place that I've never been to before just to see something new.
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01 Apr 2008, 00:12
I will be taking advantage of all the winter and spring break trips, as well as any summer ones...
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01 Apr 2008, 16:40
johnnyx9 wrote:

So maybe five years down the road you're looking for a new job, and you find out your classmate who you travelled with is now the VP at some bank you're interested in working for. So you call him up and say, "Hey Bob, remember the time in Egypt when we rented the dune-buggy and you were driving and you flipped it over and nearly killed us? Boy, those were some crazy times. Anyways, can you hook me up with a job?"

.

More like "Hey Bob, remember that one time in Thailand..." "Did the rash ever clear up?" "Awesome...anyways, think you can hook me up with a job Bobby?"

Honestly though, it seems like these trips last one week or so on average. How much about business are you actually going to learn...nevertheless...you get to see some great things, and have some new experiences WHILE your in school. Seems win win to me...
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01 Apr 2008, 17:10
Kudos for the cracker factory reference. Reminded me of Milhaus' dad (simpsons)

I have lived abroad (3 years japan) and traveled pretty extensively (~20-25 countries?)
I had to wonder about these trips as well. I think they would be great for the "soft" side of things - relationships and how you react personally to a country you might consider living in. I agree that first impressions, while not perfect, can be HUGELY valuable for deciding whether you would consider longer-term stay in a country and how happy you would gnerally be.
On the "hard" side of things (education/cultural/etc), i think these trips are relatively worthless. I doubt you can learn THAT MUCH in 2 weeks that you couldn't have learned from a classmate/friend from that country or a book.

Please note that i didn't say these trips are worthless - I plan to go on every one that I can. I just said they have very little educational/academic value. I think they are well worth it for the "soft" value they have - particularly in networking.
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01 Apr 2008, 17:51
I would think that even in a 1-2 week trip, if the itenary is well planned and if you are meeting the right people, you do learn a lot about the business practices, culture and the business environment of the country. Agreed, you don't learn all that is there to learn but atleast you get a feel of the environment. I will cite an example:
Consider this:
Anytime I walk into a company I get a feel of the organisation culture in the company by just looking around at the people working there. If I talk to a few people in the company, I get a deeper sense of the culture. I think it is the same with any country or any city for that matter.
I think that it is absolutely worthwile to go on an international trip because you do learn quite a bit about the place.
Re: What do you think about international trips?   [#permalink] 01 Apr 2008, 17:51
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