In 1923, the University of Delaware founded the first study abroad program by a U.S. institution. Today, UD is partnered with over 90 institutions around the globe to give students the opportunity to experience the world beyond the classroom. During winter session this January, 21 students in the Alfred Lerner College of Business and Economics participated in a Trade Negotiation Simulation and Cultural Exchange Program between UD’s Lerner College and Sorbonne Nouvelle in Paris, the first place UD’s program visited.
The exchange program combined 40 students from Sorbonne’s International Project Management program and Lerner’s Global Programs and Service course. Managed by Ryan Sanders, an adjunct professor in the department of business administration, the program’s emphasis on international business management allows students to choose and investigate an industry of their interest: technology, labor and human rights, agriculture, manufacturing, and services.
The program was created in partnership with Sorbonne Nouvelle University in Paris, whose students came to visit UD in October. The French-American Chamber of Commerce in Philadelphia hosted the students for a day of discussion about trade and leadership, followed by a professional networking event held at a member’s office, BDP International.
The first round of the trade negotiations took place in October at UD where students participated in their chosen industry discussions and got to know their European counterparts. The visit ended with a reception at Lerner Hall on October 28 hosted by Vincent Michelot, the French Embassy’s representative for higher education.
Serafina Carollo, a sophomore management and communication double major, participated in the exchange with a focus on technology and documented her experiences in Paris.
“There was a heavy emphasis on networking, workshops and really experiencing Paris. We visited the French Embassy and the American Chamber of Commerce in France,” Carollo said.
“We also went to an accounting firm and a global talent agency for female models to see different aspects of a business. It covered a lot of bases for someone like me who wasn’t completely sure of what I wanted to do.”
During the trade simulation, French entrepreneurs shared their experiences regarding the distinctions between the American and French approaches, regulations and outlooks toward starting a business. In addition, students met with representatives from Kering, the parent company of various high-end brands such as Gucci and Balenciaga, to discuss its efforts to become more sustainable. The Paris Basketball Club also gave the group a tour of its state-of-the-art stadium, Adidas Arena, which is currently under construction. The arena will be utilized for hosting some of the Paris 2024 Olympic events.
Outside of class students immersed themselves in the Parisian culture while exploring. From visiting the Louvre, one of the world’s most famous art museums, to eating dinner in the Eiffel Tower, Carollo shared her experience bonding with the Sorbonne students and exploring the city.
“We were so excited to meet each other and they were so kind. I would love to see them again, it was really amazing touring the city with them,” she said.
The program allowed students to have fun while meeting professionals in the fields they aspire to work in someday, which Carollo valued. Participating in the study abroad program left her with a broader global perspective.
“It was the best experience,” she said. “I am so glad that I applied for this program. There were so many events and I met so many people that I never would have met if it were not for this program.”