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SBA Spain Trip

Expanding World View

It was late in the week and Associate Professor of Marketing Brian Larson walked along the café strewn streets of Barcelona with a group of students in tow.

“You going to get one of those when you get back?” Larson joked with one of his students as a moped puttered by.

“I might,” retorted the student as he surveyed the crowded street, soaking in the sights, sounds, and smells around him – all of which up until then were completely foreign having never been on a plane let alone out of the country before this trip.

Looking on, Larson let the street noise fill in the silence between them. The student then turned to him and spoke five words that sum up why study abroad is an important part of college life.

“This trip has changed me.”

Widener is known for these types of moments. The university strives to create an environment that transforms the traditional educational model through a unique blend of classroom and experiential learning.

The weeklong trip to Spain was part of a marketing course in the School of Business Administration. With help from a student travel grant from the Office of Global Engagement, Widener partnered up with the University of Vic to give students insight into the global business world of sports management.

“Everything is going to be global no matter what type of field you are in,” remarked Myles Pressey about the significance of international exposure for college students.

“So it’s important to understand how people from different countries think about things and connect with them.”

Assistant Dean Jessica Hoopes said students heard from numerous speakers during the trip on topics such as fan engagement through the use of streaming VR technologies, and how to manage the legacy of an event like the 1992 Summer Olympic Games.

“It was more like they were telling a story than professing a lesson,” Austin Sosnow, a senior management major, said of the lectures.

Students also had a chance to see the sights and attend a EuroLeague basketball game. Pressey, who graduated in May, added it was interesting to see how sports fans differed from those in the US.

Looking ahead, Larson said the goal is to continue with the trip annually or bi-annually. He hopes to add an exchange element as well and host students from the University of Vic at Widener.

“This is a knock-your-socks-off experience,” said Larson. “It is what a Widener education is all about.”