Study Abroad Benefits: Europe and Middle East

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Wednesday, May 13, 2020
Johan Roos, chief academic officer of Hult International Business School, and Sherif Kamel, dean of AUC Business School, share how international experiences provide students with invaluable cultural and business perspectives.
Filmed February 2020 at AACSB's Deans Conference in Nashville, Tennessee, USA.


Johan Roos: [0:05] I think it's extraordinarily valuable for business students to study outside of their home country, even if it's a big market like the U.S. or China. There is something very special to the interaction among people in trade and innovation/entrepreneurship and in business.

[0:32] That it's about the human touch to it. It's about looking people in the eyes, [sniffs] sniffing around—what is the culture here? What are some of the norms and the values in different cultures?

[0:43] That is very, very difficult to learn sitting at your own desk in your own home country. I think, for instance, student exchange—taking time to take a course or even a semester or a module somewhere else is a shortcut to really understanding the differences in some of these values and norms that we see throughout this wonderful world that we have.

[1:04] Studying in Europe is a bit, I think, a special case here, in a positive sense. Because Europe has so many different cultures, so much diversity, in such a reasonably smaller space, if you look at it as a region. There's so many languages, so many ways of working together, so many ways of doing business together.

[1:25] Studying in Europe not only will enable you to learn languages, but also to see these vast differences, even in short space.

Sherif Kamel: [1:34] Studying in the Middle East or any region in the world has its own pluses and minuses. I mean, you get exposed to the culture, to the values, to the beliefs, to the way to do business that—again, there's no one size that fits all.

[1:46] Even if I look at the U.S., doing business in the East Coast is very different than doing business in California and the West Coast. Doing business in the Middle East—some people just look at the Middle East as just one bulk. I can promise you that North Africa is very different than the Levant, very different than the Gulf region.

[2:02] I think for students who want to explore something new, have experience that is different from what they're used to, it's a good place to be maybe for a course, for a semester, for a year. What they learn is definitely a different culture, definitely a different way to do business, different way of thinking.

[2:25] Also, they will find so many similarities. Again, it's not a completely different experience, but usually people who will go and explore experiences on the region, they look at more the general, the local, the cultural aspects of it, not the things that they can find anywhere else in the world.

[2:44] I myself, vice versa—studied in the U.K. It was a different experience. Looking at the amenities, and there are so many opportunities. So many businesses are opening up.

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