Students from Lenoir-Rhyne University recently had the opportunity to travel to Germany as part of a social entrepreneurship course led by Ralph Griffith, D.B.A., assistant professor of entrepreneurship and director of the Center for Commercial and Social Entrepreneurship (CCSE).
The 10-day trip overseas was the culminating aspect of a Social Entrepreneurship in Germany course, aimed at examining the difference between economies and social welfare systems in America and Germany. LR students spent a week in Nuremberg where they studied at the Evangelische Hochschule Nürnberg (EVHN), or the University of Applied Sciences. They also explored the city of Munich and toured historical sites such as the Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial, and the site where the Nuremberg Trials were held.
"This particular course allowed students to see something they know and have a passion for in an entirely different context," said Mary H. Lesser, Ph.D., dean of professional and mathematical studies at LR. "Study abroad programs open windows to the world for our students. It's hard to overstate the value of such a broadening experience."
Griffith began offering the Social Entrepreneurship in Germany course in 2016, after meeting Uwe Kaspers, Ph.D., a professor at EVHN while he was vacationing in the United States. As part of the course, Kaspers' students interact with Griffith's throughout the semester via online streaming. Kaspers also traveled with students to LR's campus last November during Global Entrepreneurship Week, a trip he has been making for the past three years.
"While we get news about American culture, politics, or new products almost every day, we barely get in touch with the grassroots of innovation and economic growth," Kaspers said. "A visit to LR's CCSE during Global Entrepreneurship Week provides a great opportunity to fill that gap."
Griffith believes the course is mutually beneficial for LR and EVHN students, as it helps them all understand entrepreneurship from a global perspective. "We can learn from them and they can learn from us which I believe creates a strong partnership," he said. "Exchange opportunities open a number of doors for our students."
LR's William and Robert Shuford Center for International Education helped organize and fund the trip, which was one of nine short-term study abroad opportunities provided to LR students during the spring and summer. According to Laura Dobson, Ph.D., director of the William and Robert Shuford Center for International Education, study abroad experiences at LR are economically priced, allowing students from all socioeconomic backgrounds an opportunity to experience international travel. "Student participation in international travel during spring break, a two week mini term in May called Maymester, and summer has more than doubled since last year," Dobson said. "There are significant, meaningful benefits from studying abroad, including career readiness, and increasing numbers of students across the United States take advantage of study abroad opportunities each year."
To learn more about international education opportunities at Lenoir-Rhyne visit lr.edu/SCIE.