Imagine yourself soaking in the sights and sounds of winding city streets overlooking the Pacific, admiring handicrafts made by South American artisans and being surrounded by snow-capped mountains – all while earning college credit and learning about business in an international setting.

While it may sound too good to be true, it’s not thanks to the Business and Cultural Experiences in Chile study abroad trip, which will take place May 14 – 22, 2018. Illinois State University students can earn three credit hours while participating in the nine-day program. The experience includes eight nights in Santiago, which serves as both the capital and financial hub of Chile, as well as a day trip to the colorful, coastal cities of Valparaiso and Viña del Mar. Participants will stay in hotels each night and be provided with breakfast each day, as well as group welcome and farewell meals.

“Studying abroad provides new perspectives not only academically, but also personally,” observed Dr. Aysen Bakir, Professor of Marketing and faculty director of the upcoming educational travel opportunity. “A study abroad experience allows students to expand their academic learning outside of the classroom and to enhance their global awareness. Study abroad experiences challenge students’ worldviews and allow them to experience personal growth. It is also a great way for students to set themselves apart from their peers in the eyes of the employers.”

Business and Cultural Experiences in Peru 2017 study abroad trip during company visit.

Business and Cultural Experiences in Peru 2017 study abroad trip during company visit.

Speaking of the program slated for this summer, she added, “Any kind of study abroad experience is a wonderful opportunity, whether it is short-term or long-term. During the process of developing this program, the duration of the program was an important consideration. Summertime is really valuable to our students. They do internships, take summer classes and work. By participating in a short-term program, it allows them to get involved in all of these activities in addition to this kind of experience.”

Students who have gone on this faculty-led study abroad program in the past speak highly of the benefits of such a trip.

After visiting Peru, marketing major Brooklyn observed, “Studying abroad during my time at Illinois State University allowed me to expand my knowledge outside of the classroom and experience what different parts of the world have to offer. Seeing the world through an educational light was an experience I will remember forever.”

Marketing and business administration major Moran added, “The study abroad experience was one of the most rewarding experiences of my collegiate career. I got the chance to study business in another country, experience one of the Seven Wonders of the World and form a bond with some of the greatest people on this campus!”

Dr. Bakir spoke highly of the benefits of Chile specifically as a destination for ISU students to learn about international business.

“South America presents many opportunities with its expanding economies and growing middle class,” noted the trip’s faculty director. “Trade between the U.S. and South America has grown considerably over the years. Chile is one of the most thriving, stable and competitive economies in South America.”

During the course of the trip, students will visit various companies in order to learn about the Chilean economic climate, healthcare and medical product industries, wine country, consumer lending models and energy industry, as well as opportunities for U.S. investments in the country.

They also will see firsthand the nation’s “efforts to be positioned as the innovation and entrepreneurship hub of Latin America,” Dr. Bakir stated before describing the journey as a “great opportunity to gain perspectives in business and culture with a short study abroad experience in a thriving economy and region.”