Business Students Embark on J-Term Trip to Netherlands

01-10-2020


by Audrey Wierenga (B.A. ’18)

Returning to class after the holidays can be difficult for some students; what makes it easier is if your first class is in Europe.

This January, 15 business students had the opportunity to travel overseas to the Netherlands to learn more about international business. They will take classes at Christelijke Hogeschool Ede (CHE) and also experience the cultural and economic climate of Europe. While there, students will engage with local businesses, government headquarters and other historically significant places, including the European Union headquarters in Brussels.

Dr. Rachel Hammond, associate professor of business and business division chair, will join the students on this trip for the first time, alongside Dr. Shawn Newhouse, who has led the trip for several years.

"We have a strong connection with CHE University," Dr. Hammond said. "We have sort of a back-and-forth where we will bring students here one year and send Cornerstone students there the next."

Last January, Cornerstone welcomed students from CHE University to its campus. They stayed with host families, took classes and explored Grand Rapids, including prominent West Michigan businesses like Our Daily Bread Ministries and the Gerald R. Ford Museum. This year, Cornerstone students will do something similar—they will live and learn in an unfamiliar culture.

"Before the trip, we had the students take a CQ, or Cultural Intelligence, test," Hammond said. "They each developed an action plan to reflect on when they returned. When they come back, they will take the CQ test again."

Students will also be housed with host families, which according to Hammond helps them become "embedded in the culture" for an extended period of time.

What is also unique about this program is Cornerstone students are interacting with students who attend CHE University. "They get to see how students learn in other parts of the world," Hammond added. They will also be joined by students from Messiah College in Mechanicsburg, Pa.

"There is a lot of value in having a partnership with the university," Hammond said. "We have contacts there who can coordinate things so we can drop right into the experience. It takes out some of the stress of international logistics."

Through the two-week class, students can fulfill course requirements as well as their international studies requirement. To learn more about both short- and long-term international trips, visit the Off-Campus Study Programs webpage.