Business and communication course takes students abroad – The Rider News
By Tristan Leach
Studying abroad is a popular choice for many students. There’s never a shortage of places to go thanks to Rider’s Office of International Education and teachers who want to take their students on a trip. From now on, students have the choice between a new course: Business tourism and communication.
In this course, students will learn how communication and business make up the majority of the tourism industry. The course is a cross-examination of how tourism works and how it varies from country to country. In this course, students will travel to Italy and Slovenia, a perfect comparison according to the professors teaching the class.
The class was led by three professors from the communication and business departments, Allison Weidhaas, Cynthia Newman and Drew Procaccion. Each professor wanted to lead a study abroad program for their students and found that combining two existing courses at Rider would be a new and exciting study abroad experience.
Newman, a professor of marketing, said, “I’ve been doing student study tours for a very long time; This is my 20th year leading student study tours, and I’ve been friends and colleagues with Drew for more than that. Drew was always like, ‘How can I participate in this’ and finally we were having dinner one night… and I was like, ‘Drew, do you want to do a study tour?’ and Drew said “Yes”. And I said, “Great, let’s do one together.”
This will not only be Procaccion’s first study abroad, but also that of Weidhaas. Both smiled enthusiastically as they talked about the new program they were working on. The two had thought about leading a tour for a while, but felt nervous going on their own while supervising 20 or more students.
One of the most exciting things about this course is that students can take the course regardless of their major. The class is travel-based and students will be able to meet their travel companions beforehand. Most of the assignments will be based on what students see abroad so they can understand why these places are so popular among tourists.
Weidhaas, associate professor in the Department of Communication, Journalism and Media, said: “This class came from two different directions. I’ve wanted to offer a travel course in communication for some time, and have explored it several times. I guess I’ve always been a bit nervous about taking students abroad for the first time.
Weidhaas had planned to visit Italy and was happy to find that Newman and Procaccion had the same thoughts. Students have the advantage of learning about tourism from a communications and business perspective. They can also earn credits in communication, business, or both.
Procaccion, an associate professor of information systems, said, “I’m the spreadsheet guy. I will calculate all the figures and do all the administrative tasks. The goal is to collect data on tourism and how a pre-COVID-19 world compares to a current COVID-19 world in terms of overall business impact.
Several activities are planned for the course. These include a walking tour of Venice, visiting castles in Slovenia, climbing mountains, a boat ride to see a church built in the middle of a lake, and exploring caves. “There’s something for everyone,” Procaccion said with a smile.
While many students are excited about the idea of travel, there is one thing that holds them back: the cost. Fortunately, the Office of International Education offers scholarships and allows students to apply their travel financial aid.
“I know that’s what the students are looking at when I announce this in class. They look at that price and they say ‘well, that sounds like fun, but I don’t have that money,’” Procaccion said.
As the school year draws to a close, it’s time to look forward to the next one. Students are looking for the next fun opportunity, and some may add studying abroad to their list of experiences.