Exploring the World Through the Limerick, Ireland Graduate Study Abroad Program

Aerial shot of Limerick, Ireland
By Alisa L. Hunt, PH.D., CPA
Program Chair, Master of Science in Accounting and M.B.A. Entrepreneurship Concentration, Finance Concentration

There is no better way to understand business on a global level than to fully explore a new culture. The Graduate study abroad program to Limerick, Ireland affords students with perhaps one of the best ways to explore the area and engage with people and lifestyles they never could from home. An incredible experience to help students truly immerse themselves in the Irish culture, this study abroad program has grown into one of the most sought-after opportunities.

Group of people posing for photoThe goal of any business program is to understand the workings of the industry. Today, we live in a global economy, one with business growth occurring in various countries. It is incredibly valuable for students to embrace new cultures and glean new ideas from visits to various locations. This trip in particular aims to open the door to such new opportunities.

Here’s a closer look at the program, led by Alisa Hunt, who is the program chair for the Post University Malcolm Baldridge School of Business.

A Scavenger Hunt of Cultural Importance
It is not always easy for graduate students to fully embrace a study abroad program because for various reasons it appears challenging. To acclimate students, who travel to Ireland, Hunt and her team organizes a Scavenger Hunt. Getting a feel for a new culture means stepping outside the box and outside of the traditional tourist areas. To facilitate this idea, this trip starts with a scavenger hunt. Simplistic in form, it opens the door for new insights and opportunities.

 

bridge over river in Limerick

The scavenger hunt allows students to use their free time to explore the city on their own, learning about the culture as they do. The hunt involves a list of questions each student needs to find answers to. And, while some may be answered through observations, others involve students actually asking locals for information and insight. Of the hunt, Ms. Hunt says, “They are instructed that no “Googling” is allowed. They have to go talk to the people. In Ireland, the people are very outgoing and easy to talk with. This creates an experience that allows the students to become immersed in the culture in a way that would never happen as a tourist.”

It’s a fun and fascinating way to truly explore a culture. It also provides a working knowledge that students need to perform well in this environment.

A Trip Designed to Facilitate Education Through Real World Experience
This particular study abroad program moves the student away from the typical classroom setting to truly experience the world first hand. It wasn’t easy to pull together, according to Ms. Hunt, who had to balance the constraints of student study (especially in an online environment) along with making it affordable and flexible enough. Yet, what came to be was a successful, effective program.

Irish countryside

Designed to take place over the Memorial Day weekend to minimize the number of days people had to take off to attend, the program allows students to bring along a friend, spouse, or sibling to explore the area of Limerick, Ireland. With an established relationship with the Limerick Institute of Technology, and with stays at the Savoy Hotel, the trip became a wonderful experience for all involved. And, it all took place in the middle of Limerick.

Students are able to embrace the entire culture through a variety of planned events including business visits, a trip to Parliament, and visits to areas such as the Cliffs of Moher. Numerous lectures take place regarding the Irish business culture, educational programs, and social service programs. Students learn a great deal throughout this trip. Ms. Hunt says, “Each year we try to tailor the visits and lectures to be in alignment with the needs of the students joining us. All of this helped us to design a great opportunity for students to learn about other cultures and to have a greater awareness of how the US is seen around the world, how business, education and services can vary from country to country and to have a little fun.”

pub with beer kegs on the street

Though the trip has changed and morphed to better meet the needs of students, it has always contributed to creating a memorable and impactful experience. “We do this trip because we realize that we are in a global society and recognize that at times we can become very myopic in our viewpoints. We want to give the students an opportunity to look beyond their borders and see that there are different cultures out there with different ways of doing things. No one right or wrong way,” says Ms. Hunt.

Enjoyable, Engaging, and a Once-in-a-Lifetime Opportunity
While the goal of the trip is always to provide students with first-hand information and insight, it is also a fun and enjoyable experience for all involved. The goal is to help students to become more open-minded about the culture. It also helps to gain awareness of the global business environment. In many ways, this trip changes the worldview of business students, giving them the upper hand in understanding the world around them and beyond.

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