The program I am enrolled in is called “International Business in Lugano: Combining Practice and Theory”. It is a 16 week program which satisfies 18 credit hours.
It consists of all Virginia Tech students, but is not limited to any certain major.
This program is designed to combine classroom instructions with real-world projects such as internship work with Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to meet the 3 credit field practicum course credit which students receive.
For this internship-like work, students work in groups to help develop social marketing campaigns that could be applied to various NGOs.
The other classes students take while studying in Lugano include
- Introduction to Italian
- Marketing Research
- Consumer Behavior
- Marketing Society and the Public Interest.
These classes incorporate information about global social issues that are very applicable to international business practices and are taught by Virginia Tech professors.
The one class which is not taught by a Virginia Tech professor was Italian, which was taught by an Italian-speaking teacher from Lugano.
Italian is helpful to learn because Lugano is located in the Italian-speaking area of Switzerland.
Additionally, many of these are classes which are required of marketing majors to take whether or not they are taking them abroad or at Virginia Tech.
Students in this program take classes at the local university, Universita della Svizzera Italiana (USI), and interact with local students on occasion.
In addition to studying in Switzerland, a major component of this program is the traveling opportunities students have.
Each weekend students are given the chance to leave Lugano and travel to another city throughout Europe.
Not only do the students get the opportunity to take weekend trips but there are 3 10-day breaks included in the program which gives students the chance to visit more than one city during that time period.
Part of the fees for this program includes the students purchasing a Global Eurorail train pass to help them transport between cities.
While living in Lugano, students stay in The Hotel Montarina which is conveniently located right next to the train station in Lugano and is only a 20 or so minute walk away from USI. There are 4 meals per week provided by the hotel for students, dinner Monday through Thursday.
These meals are a great time for students to get to know each other and share the stories and experiences from their travels.
The meals are very healthy and reasonably portioned. In addition, the hotel offers to do students’ laundry twice per week and cleans the students’ rooms, towels, and bed linens twice per week as well.
This program, coordinated by marketing professor Dr. David Brinberg, had been put together extremely well and is run very smoothly. Not all study abroad programs are run in this same manner—some are not taught by English-speaking professors and require students to be fluent in the language of the countries in which they are studying in, some are shorter or longer than 16 weeks, some do not allow for as much traveling—the list goes on. It is up to students to research a program that works best for their schedules and course needs.
Next – Finances: Costs of the Program Itself