I loved the opening ceremony. With 427 students from 34 different countries in the room, the university's representative welcomed everybody and proceeded to call out every country, asking people to stand up when their country was called. It was interesting to see the different types of people stand up, both in terms of how they looked but also how they reacted to their country being called out. Let's just say the Moroccans were a little bit louder than the Chinese!
Everything in the summer school was just as diverse. On the very first day, we had the 'International Evening' where everyone was asked to bring a selection of items and foods from their country. God.. some of the food was terrible! I'm pretty sure the toothpick that the German sausage was on would have tasted better. But, some things were nice. I'd probably buy the biscuits that were at the Kazakhstan table if they were available in SuperValu.. and on offer.
The next day, lectures started. I chose two courses. In the morning, I did 'Interactive International Marketing Strategy' and after lunch, 'How Behavioural Economics Can Explain Soccer'. Both courses were very interesting. In the marketing course for example, groups of mixed nationality were formed and asked to identify a successful product or service that was available in one of our countries and not available in another.
In our group, we had one person from Mexico, Morocco, the United States and Ireland (me)! It really opened my eyes to the benefits of having different perspectives and backgrounds working together to solve problems. Not only did each group member have a completely different background in terms of upbringing, we also had different educational backgrounds, including Finance, E-commerce, General Business and Marketing. The combination of our different 'ways of thinking' made the project move in a very interesting direction.