***The writer is enrolled in Comm 240 News Reporting.***
Two Fort Hays State University Learning Communities organized by the College of Business and Entrepreneurship, including 26 freshman, five upperclassmen sponsors and four faculty members, traveled to Bridgetown, Barbados from April 8 to 16, to participate in short internships with local entrepreneurs, ranging from website development to marketing plans.
Although this trip was not the first instance of Learning Communities traveling abroad, the trip was the first of its kind to be carried out by the College of Business and Entrepreneurship.
“We wanted to give students an international experience with entrepreneurship and service learning,” said Mark Bannister, dean of the College of Business and Entrepreneurship. “We really hope that they gain a lot of different things from the trip. We hope it helps them understand the world better, we hope it gives them experience in a real world experience, and, most of all, we hope it excites them about their futures and careers.”
Stephen Foster, one of the freshmen who took part, spoke highly of his experience in Barbados.
“It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” Foster said. “I don’t think I will get another opportunity like this outside of Fort Hays.”
He added that the trip really opened his eyes to how much international interaction actually exists, even at the small-business level. He said there was far more common ground to be found with the young business owners he worked with than he originally thought there would be. Foster said he enjoyed the opportunity to experience a different culture with a lot of his good friends.
The two Living and Learning Communities that participated are “Everybody’s Business” and “4 C Innovation.” Accompanying the members of the Living and Learning Communities were the following upperclassman sponsors: graduate students Brandi Obermueller and Trisha Goetz, senior Thomas Moeder, and juniors Cody Killingsworth and Jaycelyn Barton.