A 10-day summer trip to Peru yielded new insights and future learning potential for student Pauline Chavez-Hemaidan and faculty member Dr. Amie Dragoo.
Pauline, a Senior Business major from Brownsville, Texas, was invited to travel to Peru with Dr. Dragoo, Chair of the Accounting Department in the School of Business. Pauline was there to translate for Amie, who, on behalf of the School of Business, was looking to develop a business program in Peru.
“It’s really important for our students to gain some cross- cultural skills to be able to interact and understand how business is different in other countries. Even if they don’t take a job outside the U.S. they still may work at a company with subsidiaries and customers in different countries. Having more cultural awareness is going to help them be more successful in their careers.”
The Foreign Language Department has been going to Peru for several years, so it was simple for Amie and Pauline to tag along. They traveled south from the capital city of Lima to the city of Arequipa. There, they met with deans of the Business School at the Universidad Catolica de Santa Maria, a Catholic university. They initiated discussions about student exchanges and further partnership between Edgewood College and Santa Maria. They also met with local entrepreneurs and discovered numerous cultural quirks and curiosities.
“What was cool for me, coming back, was understanding that there is so much I don’t know. Four years of college will teach you that there’s so much you’ll never know, and then you leave the country and you realize, well take that, and expand it to every country you’ve never been to,” Pauline said.
Both Dr. Dragoo and Pauline quickly realized how business operates differently in South America compared with the U.S. In Peru, the initial emphasis was on discovering who the person across the table was, before focusing on the actual business at hand.
“I sat down to translate for Dr. Dragoo and for the first half hour it was questions about who we are, what are our values, what is Edgewood College, where we come from…it was relationship building. Only then once they established that then eventually they got around to business.”
The School of Business is hoping to welcome several faculty members from the Universidad Catolica de Santa Maria at Edgewood College sometime in the next year. Additionally, several School of Business faculty are planning to return to Peru in May of 2016. They hope to set up a student exchange in 2017.
There is more information on the trip, including photographs, on the blog posted Pauline Chavez-Hemaidan.