A Winter Term course exposed students to economic growth and development in the Middle East.
A group of Elon students spent the month of January traveling throughout the Middle East to learn about traditional and modern business practices across various cultures. Mark Kurt, assistant professor of economics, and Tina Das, professor of economics, facilitated the course to Turkey and Dubai.
Areas of study were chosen because of the unique convergence of historical trade along the Silk Road in Turkey and modern global businesses flourishing in Dubai. Students toured large and small companies, talked with entrepreneurs and visited important historical sites to gain an understanding of global business systems.
“The vast majority of economic growth is occurring in Asia, South America, and Africa. This underscores the necessity for our students to develop a global mindset such that they can successfully navigate an increasing diverse global economy,” Kurt said.
Students traveled to Istanbul, Ephesus and other small cities along the Mediterranean coastline. In Dubai the group toured large multinational firms such as SAP, Anchor Allied Ltd., and small cottage firms such as Ar Leather Factory.
Students visited several mosques throughout the trip, learning about the modern and ancient influences of Islam on Middle Eastern culture. They also rode camels through the Arabian Desert, visited local universities and went to traditional bazaars.
“Through the course students were exposed to a history bridging peoples, cultures, and economies spanning thousands of years,” Kurt said. “This unique history permeates everything: cuisine, art, architecture and culture, including business and social norms.”
During the course students developed the abilities and confidence to continue becoming global citizens and recognizing the rich culture that exists in other parts of the world.
“The biggest lesson that I learned while studying abroad is to take chances: to not be afraid of what you do not know and to welcome change into your life, even if it seems frightening at first,” said Samuel Gertzog ’15, a marketing major who participated in the course.