Five Tusculum College students spent two months in Barcelona, Spain, as part of the school’s Global Studies program, living, working and studying immersed in the culture of their host country.
Participating students included: Andy Goellner, a senior business, accounting and sports management major from Denver, Colo.; David Talley, a senior from Piney Flats enrolled in independent study; Victoria Hill, a junior psychology major from Moorestown, N.J.; Samantha Underwood, a senior business major from Muncie, Ind., and Paige Fultz, a junior political science major from Mascot. The five gave a presentation to other students, faculty and staff about their experiences on Monday, October 22.
As part of their program, the students participated in an international marketing course, earning nine college credit hours during their two month stay this past summer. They lived, studied and worked in Barcelona, Spain, but several were able to travel to other locations in Europe during their time abroad.
“When you stay somewhere for two months, you feel like you live there,” said Talley. “Not everything is planned, and you become part of it.”
Four of the five participated in internships during their visit, working in varied locations such as business offices, hotel operations and tourism. According to Underwood, her experience helped her because of its variety. “I learned a lot about revenue management and marketing of the hospitality industry,” she said.
According to Goellner, while the trip was not inexpensive, it was an investment he feels was well worth it. “The experience was incredible and the connections – we met people from all over the world – can be invaluable later,” he said.
Talley said his internship experience was the hardest thing he had ever done in his life. “It was a huge learning experience. I learned more in those two months than a year of college.”
Additionally, the students talked about their cultural exposure, including dealing with the language barrier, with only Hill speaking Spanish. They also spent a lot of time in independent exploration. Side trips included Rome, London and Carcassonne, France.
“I refuse to believe that anyone could take a trip like this and not come back personally changed. If you do this, you will have a better view of how the world works,” said Talley.
According to Dr. Geir Bergvin, director of the Global Studies program and associate professor of marketing at Tusculum College, several upcoming trips are already planned, including a return trip to Barcelona in the fall and an upcoming trip to Malta over spring break.
Anyone interested in more information on the program or who would like to find out about Tusculum College’s Center for Global Studies should contact Bergvin at 423-636-7300.
The Center for Global Studies was formed in spring 2008 and is located in the Pilloni Office on the ground floor of the Thomas J. Garland Library. The mission is to “enhance the capacity of individuals and organizations to address local and global challenges through building relationships with communities, institutions of higher learning and organizations globally.”
Another trip to Barcelona is scheduled in January, when 12 students in two English courses will accompany their professors to Spain to study.