SEMESTER SERIES: KIRK SMITH – I Am A Citizen of The World
I am not Athenian or Greek, but a citizen of the world – Socrates
What does it mean to be a citizen of the world? As business leaders, we can no longer operate with a focus on what is currently affecting our own countries. Globalization is nothing new. But how often do you leave your home for an extended period of time to experience different cultures? At Goizueta, every spring we have the chance to fulfill our international requirement by participating in a variety of Mid-Semester Modules (MSMs). Many students choose to travel to one of five trips planned by a combination of faculty, administration, and in some cases, students. This year, I was lucky enough to participate in the Southeast Asia module, where we traveled to Thailand, Myanmar, and Cambodia. Additionally, students frequently take the opportunity to explore the region they are in during their respective spring breaks. In my case, I decided to participate in the extension trip to Vietnam that was organized by the school and included trips to Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon), and Ha Long Bay.
One of the perks of being a student again is the ability to set your own schedule. There are sometimes tradeoffs you make to experience life opportunities that may never happen again. For me, this involved flying out early to Hong Kong to be in China for Chinese New Year.
And I wasn’t alone. Traveling with your classmates provides insights on who they are outside of the classroom. As I’ve never been to Southeast Asia before, I have to admit that I was nervous with the prospect of going to multiple developing countries where there was limited infrastructure, I didn’t understand the language, and I had little knowledge on the cultural differences compared to the United States. The great part is that Goizueta is full of people who are willing to jump in the adventure with you and four of us continued our journey by heading to Kuala Lampur in Malaysia for a few days.
For many of us, it was the first time really having a chance to get to know the One Years and Second Years because our schedule in the fall is driven by the barrage of recruiting and academics. When we joined up with the actual MSM crew in Bangkok, Thailand, however, there were plenty of times to get to know each other.
On top of all the fun events, immense cultural learning, and getting to know people you see in the hall every day, there were also amazing sites. At one point, Angkor Wat, located in Cambodia, had a greater population living around it than London. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is frequently seen in films. The immensity of the structure serves as the largest religious site in the world.
If you ever get the chance to go on an MSM, GO! You won’t regret the relationships you build, nor the experiences you’ll obtain over your two to three weeks abroad. With over 40% of GBS no participating in international travel, you shouldn’t struggle to find someone who hasn’t been involved in a life changing experience!