Sophomore International Experience celebrates 10 years
To prepare students to confidently adapt to an interconnected world, Bryant incorporates a global mindset and global experiences throughout its curriculum. This year the University’s Sophomore International Experience (SIE) marks an enormously successful first decade.
"There is absolutely no replacement for exposing students to intercultural dynamics and global connections."
Since its inception, more than 2,500 sophomores have taken part in the intensive three-credit course. Both current students and alumni often cite their SIE trip as a profoundly transformative element of their education that built cultural competency, provided impressive experiential credentials, and inspired a desire to continue exploring the world.
SIE begins the semester before departure with an introduction to cultural norms, historical reading and analysis, language study, and art appreciation. The course culminates with a two-week trip led by faculty and staff, during which students experience another country’s culture and learn how businesses operate globally. Professor of Economics Ramesh Mohan, Ph.D., has led an SIE trip each year since the program began.
“There is absolutely no replacement for exposing students to intercultural dynamics and global connections,” he says. “It is crucial for them to capitalize on cultural intelligence in a wide range of global career options. SIE provides the platform to nurture this ability.”
“With a world that’s becoming more globalized, it is important to get out there and actually see that world,” says Chris Polis ’19, who traveled to China with SIE in winter 2017. “Climbing to the top of a section of the Great Wall in Beijing, exploring caves in Yangshuo, and standing in the Pearl Tower of Shanghai are experiences I will keep with me forever.”
Thriving in the global arena
Communication major Meaghan Johnson ’10 traveled to Italy with one of the inaugural SIE trips in 2007. Three visas and two passport books later, she is the global business development director for Publicis Media in London. The perspective she gained “helps me do what I do today,” says Johnson.
For marketing major Hannah Jorgensen ’09, who now lives in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, her SIE China experience in 2007 was revelatory.
“It was my first time experiencing a culture that is significantly different from mine,” says Jorgensen. “The entire trip was really amazing and made me realize that the world is a lot smaller than it seems.
“In today’s world, many companies operate internationally, and the workforce itself has become so much more diverse, with people from many different backgrounds,” she notes. “Employers want to make sure that their employees will assimilate well into this global environment.”