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You are here: Home / News / Study Tours: A New Way for LER Students to Study Abroad

Study Tours: A New Way for LER Students to Study Abroad

In today’s globalized economy, the ability to understand, and function in, different cultural settings is more of an asset than it has ever been. For that reason, in our most recent strategic plan our School made increasing the number of LER majors studying abroad a priority. Towards that end, we have been actively promoting semester-long and year-long study abroad opportunities to our students. This has resulted in a growing number of our students to universities in Spain, Ireland, France, South Africa, and Australia, among other locations. However, some of our students are not able to commit this much time to an international experience. For that reason, our faculty have added another study abroad option for our students. Study tours provide a shorter, more intense, international experience than traditional study abroad programs. In recent years our faculty have organized such tours to China, Sweden, and Ireland.

In today’s globalized economy, the ability to understand, and function in, different cultural settings is more of an asset than it has ever been.  For that reason, in our most recent strategic plan our School made increasing the number of LER majors studying abroad a priority.  Towards that end, we have been actively promoting semester-long and year-long study abroad opportunities to our students.  This has resulted in a growing number of our students to universities in Spain, Ireland, France, South Africa, and Australia, among other locations. However, some of our students are not able to commit this much time to an international experience. For that reason, our faculty have added another study abroad option for our students.  Study tours provide a shorter, more intense, international experience than traditional study abroad programs.  In recent years our faculty have organized such tours to China, Sweden, and Ireland.   

In May 2016, Professor Elaine Farndale took 12 students to a university in Sweden for a ten-day study tour focusing on human resource management practices in that country.  In May 2017, Professor Sumita Raghuram took another group of 12 students to Sweden and this May Professor Farndale will take a new group of students there to study.

The study tours have been based in Jönköping, an attractive city of 130,000 people, located approximately midway between the two major cities of Stockholm and Gothenburg.  Students study Sweden’s culture and history in classes at Jönköping University, gain insight into Swedish human resource management and social welfare practices, and make site visits to Swedish businesses.

In March of 2017, our School broke new ground in online education at Penn State when it organized a study tour to Ireland for students in our World Campus MPS in Human Resources and Employment Relations program.  The trip included time in residence at the University of Limerick, as well as site visits with corporations and unions in Shannon and Dublin.  Organized by Professor Antone Aboud and Assistant Director of Online Programs Trisha Everhart (with assistance from LER Alumni Board Member Jane Moyer who was in residence in Dublin as a HR executive), the program was the first at Penn State to offer an international experience to online students. 

The Ireland study tour was so well-received that the School has organized another one for 2018.  This March our MPS students will have the chance to travel to Scotland to learn about HR practices in that country.  Of special interest will be the opportunity to learn about how Brexit and the movement for Scottish independence will potentially impact business practices there.  Napier University in the capital city of Edinburgh will host students for classes three mornings during the week-long stay.  The other times will be spent on site visits where students will meet with HRER professionals at IBM, the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), Standard Life Aberdeen, Skyscanner, and the Edinburgh City Council. They will also participate in a private dinner at Edinburgh Castle where they will meet with Fiona Watson Braco, a Scottish historian, writer and contributor to the BBC.

The School plans to continue to offer these opportunities to students in 2019.  Australia is one possible destination currently being considered.