For Caitlin Strange, studying abroad was “life-changing.”
“It opened my eyes to how differently people live, not only in Alabama, but in the
United States,” said Strange, who participated in the Harbert College’s Central and Eastern European Study Program (CEESP) in 2013 before completing her finance degree in the 2014. “I left my comfort
zone for three weeks and immediately had to adapt to three foreign countries with
a group of people I did not know.”
Stepping out of her comfort zone prepared Strange for her new career as an account
representative for TTI, Inc., in Fort Worth, Texas, -- a job she began just one week
Chris Shook, Management Department Head and Russell Professor, oversees the CEESP
program and strongly believes studying abroad exposes students to new ideas, while
providing valuable professional development.
“When students go into job interviews, this (international trips) is the No. 1 question
they get,” he said. “It’s not ‘I went to Paris for a week.’ Interviewers are always
impressed that they studied abroad and learned about the inner-workings of international
corporations and business practice. One takeaway is prepping them for the interviews.
These trips make them more adaptable and flexible, and willing to get them out of
their comfort zone.”
This summer’s CEESP program (May 18-June 23) takes students of all majors to Austria,
Slovenia and Croatia, with a one-week residency in Auburn. The program covers three
courses – Principles of Management, Strategic Management, and Management in Global
Business Environment. Through company visits, students will learn the concepts for
management, have discussions with upper-level managers of multi-national firms, and
meet with local government officials.
“They are not just learning from a book,” Shook insisted. “They learn the principles
before they go to Europe, then meet with executives from companies and get to apply
what they have learned.”
After a week of residency on campus, the second week brings students to Austria, where
they will tour innovative companies near Vienna – including OPEC – where they will
get a better understanding of the geo-political aspects of the oil industry.
The third week takes students to Slovenia -- and a one-day espresso excursion to nearby
Trieste, Italy and the famous illycaffe coffee roasting company. In Slovenia, students
will continue company visits and enjoy the local flavors of Ljubljana. The fourth
week, in Croatia, brings students to the Rimac Auto plant in Sveta Nedelja, where
the 190 mph electric supercar is manufactured.
Students must be juniors for the summer semester to be eligible.
Cost for the trip is $6,250, which includes tuition, lodging, breakfast, field trips
and transportation between Austria, Croatia and Slovenia.
“It’s definitely worth the money,” Shook said.
But don’t just take Shook’s word for it.
“Auburn’s Central and Eastern European Studies Program was a tremendous learning experience
that has benefited me numerous times during my career in consulting,” said Jeff Siegel,
a 2009 Harbert graduate in finance who works for Jabian Consulting in Atlanta. “From
initial interviews to working with multicultural teams internally and with clients,
I refer back to my CEESP experiences often. The program is a great opportunity to
get close access to incredible global businesses, increase your network, and provides
great views of multiple industries. I would highly recommend this program to anyone
within the College of Business as the international perspectives gained are priceless!”
For further information about this program, contact Dr. Chris Shook, at
, or visit