It’s not every day you get to play golf near the pyramids of Cairo. That’s exactly what Drury golf player and marketing and management major Stephanie Rosetta experienced with nine other Breech students. They had the unique opportunity to study abroad in Egypt during winter break of 2010.
Getting to Egypt
For Stephanie, it was difficult to balance time between playing on the golf team and finding the time to study abroad. However, when a trip to Egypt caught her eye the Breech School of Business was able to help her get there.
Stephanie says, “It kind of worked out really well because like I said--being a golfer--it’s just one of those things where I needed to study abroad for Breech, but trying to do it during the summer or the first semester was going to be nearly impossible for me. So, one of my other teammates saw this [trip] that came up, so we got really excited about it. It sounded really good. I talked to Dr. Robin Sronce and she worked with the instructors to add some business applications into the trip so that it met the requirements of the Breech study abroad experience. It proved to be a great study abroad trip.”
Observing the culture
Another student that came along with Stephanie was Grant Bowden. He graduated from Drury in May of 2011 with a degree in marketing and management. Grant had a goal to observe business practices in Egypt. He says he felt well prepared before the trip and was excited to have the opportunity to go.
“I feel that the courses I took in Breech prior to my trip prepared me extremely well for my study abroad trip to Egypt,” Grant explains. “On top of courses focused on international business, the faculty also did a great job of sharing their personal experiences and insights on things to watch for while in other countries.”
Stephanie also learned a lot along the way, especially about the different ways the people of Egypt conduct business. For example, she found that bartering was quite common and expected.
“If you didn’t barter, they felt like you weren’t doing it right, like that’s how you would conduct business,” Stephanie explains.
Learning about Egypt and seeing the pyramids
Students took away knowledge about the business practices in Egypt, but they also discovered more about the country itself and the cities they visited, like Cairo and Alexandria. “It was kind of like a culture shock right at first because when we got in there were so many people.” Stephanie adds, “As we found out from our tour guide, the city itself was not built for the number of people that now live there.”
Grant explains that he learned a lot from the Drury faculty that accompanied them, but also about current events and Egyptian culture from their tour guide. [He was an] Egyptian guide who masterfully opened our eyes to not only the monumental amount of history in Egypt, but also the current issues his country was facing. The very same issues that have since erupted and forever changed Egypt for the better."
One of Stephanie’s favorite memories of the trip was seeing the pyramids. “It was so funny because when we went around and got up to the pyramids--and they were amazing--it was one of those things that you couldn’t believe you were there and you seeing everything,” Stephanie explains. “But then you look past it and there’s the streets and there’s the McDonald’s, there’s the shops—they were just right across the road.”
The overall experience
Students say their trip was successful overall. They felt privileged to be able to take home valuable knowledge of international business. “This study abroad trip truly helped prepare me for my career, which hopefully will include doing business internationally in the future,” Grant says.
Others took home unforgettable memories. “I liked the trip. I really enjoyed it. It was definitely something I could check off the bucket list type of thing,” Stephanie says. “It was such an experience to be able to say that I did that and to see the things that we saw. Before I came to Drury and saw that the program offered it--I didn’t think I would ever get there.”
Interview and article by Kaitlyn Schwers. Kaitlyn is a sophomore majoring in communication.