Making business with penguins
Mapping out the boat trail on her computer screen, Professor Katalin Takacs-Haynes talks about the newest study abroad program opening in the winter of 2018 – Antarctica. Starting in Ushuaia, Argentina and crossing over the Drake passage to northern Antarctica, students will travel on a ship to explore one of the coldest places in the world.
Thirty-two students could be exploring in the blustering winds of Antarctica, now that the study abroad program has opened and is currently accepting applications. Two professors from the College of Business and Economics take students to Argentina, then embark on an 11-day trip to Antarctica.
Takacs-Haynes believes that the importance of the trip is not only in the originality of the program, but in the experiences and the opportunity to learn new things first-hand. She says her inspiration came from her own study abroad program in the Himalayas.
“Trekking in Nepal, sleeping on a glacier with wind howling outside our tiny tents, bonding with the other students while overcoming obstacles on the trip, all contributed to a life-changing experience that I will never forget,” Takacs-Haynes says.
Leading the program with Takacs-Haynes is Professor Brianna Newland. Together they offer the opportunity to enroll in one of two business classes and a sports management class. In the barren continent of Antarctica, there’s more business to conduct than expected.
Salma Adlani, a sophomore exercise science major, says the Antarctic program is a unique experience, and thinks it’s probably a different feel from all the other programs.
“It’s just a different environment, you get to see what it’s like when it’s always cold and that’s a pro but as a con, it’s cold,” Adlani says.
That cold is definitely a deciding factor for Adlani, who says she isn’t likely to apply because of it, although the chance to see penguins has her near the verge of applying.
About half of the program is spent in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where the majority of the Argentine portion will take place. Overall, the trip can be broken into rough thirds, with students spending about one third of the total experience in three different locations: on a cruise ship, in Antarctica and in Argentina.
“Basically what we’re going to do on the Antarctic portion is have the students focus on individual, team and organizational issues so the work ties in with the personal experience of this difficult environment,” Takacs-Haynes says.
The program is open to all undergraduate students, ensuring that everybody has an equal opportunity to step foot on the continent. The classes taught on the trip allow students to take courses in the categories they must fulfill in order to graduate from the university: the business courses fulfill the university’s social and behavioral breadth requirements, and the sports management course fulfills the multicultural breadth requirement.
Sophomore Lauren ver Steeg, a marketing major, was curious about the program.
“When people think Antarctica, they think more of a science, rather than business, because I don’t think there are many businesses centered on Antarctica,” ver Steeg says.
Whether or not ver Steeg attends the trip, Takacs-Haynes is determined to go. Her belief that students will gain something special while alone on a boat is backed by her belief that Antarctica is something special.
“Antarctica is a unique environment, it doesn’t belong to any particular country and this makes it a unique institutional context” says Takacs-Haynes. “There is value in this environment.”