GGC Students Embark on First European "Dream Trip"

The first faculty member ever hired at Georgia Gwinnett College has tapped his impressive network of international business connections to create the College’s first-ever study abroad offering, a virtual “dream trip” for business and marketing students.

The first faculty member ever hired at Georgia Gwinnett College has tapped his impressive network of international business connections to create the College’s first-ever study abroad offering, a virtual “dream trip” for business and marketing students.

On May 12, GGC Business Professor Spero Peppas and 14 GGC students who have completed a series of intensive pre-departure classes, will embark on a 10-day whirlwind study tour of Belgium, France and Switzerland. The trip will include VIP visits to the Coca-Cola headquarters in France, the European Parliament and UPS headquarters in Belgium, the Swiss Bankers Association in Switzerland, and more.

“It’s a thrill for me to get to help students experience these things,” says Peppas, who was hired by GGC in July 2006 and previously served as a marketing consultant for the United Nations and as a professor of marketing at the American College of Switzerland. “I really enjoy showing the students around. Some may never have left Georgia before and others definitely have never been out of the country. It’s an eye-opener to get to meet the people they will meet.”

The trip marks the pinnacle of an upper-level business and marketing course at GGC designed to help students enhance their intercultural communication skills while examining the theories, practices, differences, and similarities of a diversity of companies and organizations, and their functional areas of operation.

“We want GGC students to better understand how the world is interconnected, and how people do business differently around the world,” says Peppas. “We plan to do this annually and to expand the internationalization of the campus. There will be more and more opportunities like this for our students.”

While abroad, the GGC group will be lectured by the president and the directors of marketing, communications and nutrition for Coca-Cola France; visit the organization that oversees champagne production in France (Comité Interprofessionnel du Vin de Champagne); receive a presentation on the French fashion industry at the American University in Paris; hear presentations at the headquarters of the International Committee of the Red Cross; and go to Fribourg to visit the corporate headquarters of Vibro-Meter, leading producer of vibration detection equipment for the aerospace and aircraft industry.

Each student will be required to keep a daily journal during the 10-day trek, and do a research paper and presentation as part of the course. “We’ll also do a Swiss Cultural Experience where we drive over the mountains, into the Alps, from the French-speaking part of Switzerland to the German-speaking portion,” says Peppas. The group will also take time to ride the famous bullet trains from Brussels to Paris, and from Paris to Montreux, and see the Louvre Museum, Notre Dame, and Versailles.

On May 12, a blog will be posted on the College’s Web site, www.ggc.edu, that the study abroad students will post to regularly while on the trip in order to keep classmates, faculty, staff, and family updated as they tour Europe.

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