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Study Abroad for Undergraduate and Graduate Students in Business and Economics
Developing a global perspective is an important addition to your academic program. Study abroad provides you with an opportunity to gain in-country international experience that will enhance your academic, cultural and professional development. The skills, experiences and perspectives you develop may provide an advantage in an increasingly competitive job market. The CBA in Brussels study abroad course will focus on globalization and the challenges faced by the EU. . We will use pre-travel seminars, site visits and company tours to explore topics relating to American/European business and economics. You’ll also have time to enjoy the local culture and natural environment..
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We've started our business appointments with two governmental sites--the US Embassy and the Irish Parliament. Neither agency would permit photos so we don't have any to post today. The Embassy visit was actually to an annex two doors down from the actual Embassy building. We met with the Polititical and Economics Attaché and an officer from the Commercial Services division. They told us about their roles in representing the US in Ireland. The Political and Economics Attaché talked about concerns about Ireland's economic situation and the austerity measures that had been imposed by the EU. The officer from Commercial Services talked about the three roles the division played--export and trade promotion, commercial diplomacy and advocacy, and Select USA which was a new initiative designed to encourage foreign direct investment in the US. The two men also talked about their career paths and how to get a diplomatic service position. We then had free time for lunch and site seeing before our 2:15 appointment at Leinster House, the Irish Parliament building. We got a tour of the building. It was a bit quiet as the Representatives and Prime Minister were traveling somewhere outside Ireland to advance Irish interests during the St. Patrick's day celebrations. The Prime Minister was in Washington, D.C. meeting with President Obama on St. Patrick's Day. We saw the chambers where the representatives met. We also saw portraits of past Prime Ministers and the Civil War flag from the New York Irish Brigade that President Kennedy presented to the Irish people in 1963. In another room were pictures of heads of state that had addressed the representatives. US Presidents honored were Presidents Kennedy, Clinton and Reagan. The guide was happy to tell us that these three presidents and President Obama all were of Irish descent. Tony Blair was also honored with a photo. It was good to see the tight connection between Ireland and the US represented throughout the building. We also saw a famous portrait of Michael Collins. Finally we saw an original copy of the Irish Proclamation that was created for the Easter Rising in 1916 when Ireland sought freedom from British rule. The rest of the day was free time. It will be interesting to hear about the new discoveries tomorrow morning!
Weekends are special times on the CBA in Ireland trips--today was very special. We had beautiful warm and sunny weather (not exactly typical of Ireland) and the street near our hotel was blocked by a tax protest march (not sure whether this happens a lot). First, we had a free morning for exploring the city. It was gloriously sunny today--no fog or misty weather. Everyone got out to go to book fairs, to eat some of the best ever fish and chips in the park, to visit St. Patrick's Cathedral or to just walk about and take all the sights of the city in. Our driver was to pick us up at the hotel at 2:00 pm. Unfortunately O'Connell street was mobbed with protestors waving flags and banners, shouting "we won't pay." Our driver couldn't get down the street to get us. Mickey's a clever guy and he found a way to pick us up and get us out of the city. Enroute he explained the economic collapse of the Irish banks, the bailout by the Irish government and the EU, the austerity measures that had been forced on Ireland, the attempt by the Irish government to collect new taxes and the Irish people's frustration with the new water tax. We got an international economics lesson while driving down the M1 roadway! Cool! Our event for the day was a visit to Powerscourt Gardens. After our economics lesson, Mickey explained the history of the families that had lived in the house and what we would be seeing there. We had several hours to explore the huge formal gardens of the estate. Great weather, but a bit too early for many of the flowers. We also shopped a bit in the house--a catastrophic fire in the 1970's had destroyed the interior so it was now a restaurant and shops. The current owners hope to restore the house at some point. So now we had an economic lesson about the lifestyles of the rich and famous--the house and gardens were on 47 acres--how much did it cost to maintain such a place? Our next economic lesson was to see what a real estate bust did to housing prices. Mickey drove us through a Dublin neighborhood where many ambassadorial residents were. He told us that these mansions had sold less than 10 years ago for 40 or 50 million Euro, but today were only worth 3-4 million! Ouch! Finally we got back to the hotel in time to go out for a fun evening. Let's hope that the economic lessons of the day were not wasted and that we all learned something!