Students from the College’s School of Business and Management had an opportunity to build their global competencies on an International Field Studies trip to Ireland during mid-term break.
“I have always wanted to go to Ireland, but when I found out I could go with the school and I would be able to gain transferable skills for my schooling or my career, it meant the world to me,” said Morgan MacLeod, a third-year student in the Business Administration – Human Resources (Co-op) program. “I never realized how similar Ireland and Canada really were.”
MacLeod was one of 18 students who traveled to Ireland October 20 to 28.
“I learned so much from this trip and could not have asked for a better international experience,” said third-year Business Administration – Human Resources student Mackenzie Kett. “The part of the educational experience I enjoyed the most was seeing how other countries view the very same issues we face here in Canada.”
Students visited two cities in Ireland: Dublin and Cork. Highlights of the trip included tours of Rock of Cashel, the quaint city of Kilkenny, Blarney Castle, and a walking tour of the Jameson’s Distillery. In addition to exploring Irish culture, students engaged in a learning opportunity with Cork Institute of Technology students, on-campus, while participating in their Global Leadership Development program.
“The Global Leadership Development program immerses students into a new environment with a different culture and nuances, which forces them to adapt and think differently; it allows them to learn from local global leaders and organizations and it empowers them to become global citizens,” said CIT’s head of faculty for Business and Humanities, Gerard O’Donovan.
He emphasized how the global perspective and international experience gained from this integrated program will be a useful experience for the students to reference in future job interviews and assist in differentiating them from other applicants.
The mornings were spent on workshops that exposed the students to new concepts and perspectives, learning from CIT’s industry partners from Fortune 500 companies as they spoke to their experiences in global leadership and business.
“The lectures at CIT gave me a new outlook on learning and growing, and I plan to take that with me to the classroom and outside of it as well,” said MacLeod.
The afternoons featured industry site visits to top organizations such as Dell-EMC, Teamwork, and Boston Scientific. Students interacted with industry professionals, expanding their knowledge and perspective of global business opportunities.
“The most rewarding part about this trip was definitely the lectures and site visits provided by CIT,” said MacLeod. “All of the lectures taught us so much, but my favourites were about the development of global leadership skills through globalization, and workplace diversity and inclusion.
“These are skills that I will carry forward throughout my whole career.”
MacLeod shared that her most memorable moment in Ireland was their site visit to a company in Cork called Teamwork.
“It was truly inspiring to see how well their company is growing and still maintaining their core values,” said MacLeod. “From an HR perspective, it was outstanding to see all of the things they offer their employees.”
Another highlight in Ireland was the opportunity for students to attend a luncheon with the Canadian ambassador to Ireland, the honourable Kevin Vickers.
“Ambassador Vickers modeled a life lesson in global leadership that will be remembered by each and every one of our students,” said NC’s Human Resources program coordinator and professor Holly Catalfamo, who was one of two trip leads.
Engaging one-on-one with each of the students during the luncheon, Ambassador Vickers presented each student with a certificate of participation in CIT’s Global Leadership Development program.
“CIT values its ongoing relationship with Niagara College and we look forward to bringing CIT students to Canada for a similar global leadership development program,” said O’Donovan. “There are also synergies in staff teaching and research areas which will result in staff exchange and future collaborative research between both colleges.”
The Be World Ready program continuously strives to create diverse learning environments that foster intercultural competencies in students as well as staff and faculty. Catalfamo expressed that as an educator, she is committed to continuing to embrace global competency development in her classes and share what she has learned throughout her journey with her peers and her students.
“I have come to really understand the critical importance of preparing our students for a global world,” said Catalfamo. “I have stretched my scope of understanding of global leadership through this experience, particularly by observing the CIT leadership team, including Gerard O’Donovan and Don Crowley, and their willingness to grow our students through this IFS experience.”
The trip to Ireland was one of four IFS trips available to students during the fall term. For more information on upcoming IFS trips and the Be World Ready program, please visit beworldready.ca.