International Educational Tourism: A Market with Huge Prospects

With an increasing number of companies missing out on international business opportunities due to a lack of internationally competent and globally aware personnel, educational tourism just might be the solution.

Business globalization, local culture and specific education fields such as tourism, art, technology and innovation have led to the rise of international education study-abroad programs that can last from one week to several months. These aim to familiarize students with local culture and history while also delivering quality education either through either local academic institutions or in-country action learning projects in the private sector—not an easy task at all.

Recognizing the need for quality programs, Athens native and Senior Lecturer at the Kelley School of Business (KSB) at Indiana University Tatiana Kolovou has designed a course that combines theory and practice in order to familiarize students with the nuances of doing business in her homeland. Titled “The Business Culture of Greece,” the course is offered by KSB and combines eight weeks of classroom-based learning and ten days of hands-on in-country experiences in the Greek capital. The course, which has been running for eight years, has contributed to raising the global awareness of over 200 undergraduate students. Today, KSB offers similar programs in a total of 15 countries for sophomores, and Kolovou also teaches an MBA-level course that sees students work side by side with Greek small business owners, helping them refine their operations and strategies.

In May 2018, Indiana University undergraduates taking the Business Culture of Greece course visited Athens and enjoyed the opportunity to learn from case studies with key companies such as Apivita, Terra Nation and McCann Erickson. The students also attended a presentation by Yannis Michaelides, Director of H&T Tourism and Destination Consulting. Titled “Innovation in Destination Brand and Branding,” the presentation discussed the growing role of education in international tourism. Michaelides pointed out that educational tourism is about more than learning about local history and business culture, and that the onus is on educators to impart important values to the next generation. “We have to do this with honesty and integrity,” Michaelides noted. “Students have an extremely high perception, and they are also eager to listen to real visions.”

International tourism and education play a pivotal role in the development of cross cultural competencies for future professionals. In this increasingly important field, Greece has a lot to offer, and Greeks are doing their part to contribute to this important initiative.

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