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Students explore international marketing, consumer behavior in Spain

Known for bull fighting, fiestas and tapas, Spain ranks globally as a top tourist destination and country for business. Georgia College marketing students will be immersed in the Spanish culture for an entire month.

Their visit begins in Madrid, the capital of Spain, and takes the students on a cross-country learning and cultural experience.

“Students will take two courses—one on marketing in Spain and another in global marketing,” said Dr. Doreen Sams, professor of marketing and program leader.

Sams created this study abroad opportunity in 2012 and has taken students to the country every other year since. The experience is coordinated through International Studies Abroad (ISA).

“While we are there, we will meet with marketing directors, CEOs, CFOs, a small business institution and much more,” said Sams. “We will also visit several businesses including Hacienda Guzman, which is an olive oil producer.”

Once they touch down in Madrid, the group will spend several days exploring cultural icons like El Prado Museum and Palacio Real (Royal Palace). Then they travel to Granada in southern Spain. The city is known for its Alhambra and royal cathedral, which students will visit.

“Throughout the trip, students are required to blog about their experiences. They share what they learn, the business visits and the cultural aspects they are taking part in,” said Sams. “It’s a great way for them to document their experience and reflect on what they learn, and it gives them a way to share it with family and friends back home.”

Eleven students will take part including senior marketing major Jarred Hall.

“Participating in a study abroad trip has always been in the back of my mind, but no previous trips have peaked my interest. With the three years of Spanish I took, I figured Spain would be a great place to visit,” he said.

The hands-on education and experiencing the local vibes top the list of what he’s looking most forward to.

For senior management major Melanie Hicks, this will be her first trip to Europe, but an opportunity she’s looked for her entire life.

“I’ve always known that a study abroad program was something I wanted to do during my college years, and this one just worked out perfectly with the timing and classes offered,” she said. “I’m so excited to visit Europe and be able to compare life there to life here in America. I love traveling and seeing new places and how alive it all makes you feel.”

She calls this opportunity “a huge leap outside of my comfort zone,” but one she knows will leave an impact on her in many ways. 

“I think this experience will help me in the future by standing out on my resume for a long time to come,” said Hicks. “I’m really looking forward to learning more about international business as that’s something I’ve always been interested in but have never fully dived into. Also, it’s important to be able to have a global perspective when it comes to a lot of things, especially in business.” 

Most of the group’s time will be spent in the southwestern city of Seville studying and visiting businesses. As the fourth largest city in Spain, it’s known for its architecture, history and culture, and has been the heart of trading since the height of the Roman Empire. Now considered a major commercial hub of the region, Seville has a plethora of businesses and cultural fare students will experience first-hand.

“By far the best part about this trip is watching how the students develop as people. When they’re taken outside their comfort zone, their country and culture, it can open their eyes where they were narrowly closed before,” said Sams. “They grow up and mature and in many cases develop of love of other cultures and travel in general, which I think is a great thing.” 

Follow their progress on Facebook

Nacho explains the Alhambra landscap

Students stop for a photo op

Rio Grande with Golden Tower on the right side in Seville, Spain.

Roman city of Italica.

The plaza.

The plaza is beautiful at night.

Olive tree.

Twenty-seven percent of Christopher Columbus's
body is in the Sevilla Cathedral.

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