Blog

The International Study Trip to Turkey

The GSM has a business class called the International Study Trip (IST). The class is offered twice a year, during the winter and summer quarters. During the quarter, the class studies a country — the culture, the businesses, and the business practices. Each student sets up at least one business meeting abroad. At the end of the quarter, the class culminates in a 2 week trip to the country to visit businesses and learn about the country and its culture (with plenty of time for sightseeing and other fun activities).  This year, the trip was to Turkey!

I was lucky enough to be in the class this past quarter.  And when I say lucky, I really mean it. First, the class is taught by Professor Wil Agatstein, who is not only a superstar in the corporate social responsibility world, but also an amazing professor. (I was also able to take his Corporate Social Responsibility class in the Spring 2009 quarter — if you have the chance to take it, I highly recommend it.)

Second, this is no ordinary trip abroad — being in a group headed by Professor Agatstein, backed by the prestige of UC Davis, you get opportunities that you wouldn’t normally if you were a normal tourist.  We were granted access to so many different organizations, including:

  • Parliament
  • Intel
  • Hewlett-Packard
  • US Consulate
  • US Embassy

And many, many more.  With strong emphasis on “many” — we had at least 2 business visits each day.

I can show you with some pics I took.  For instance, we visited a winery (which included wine-tasting):

International Study Trip to Turkey

Got interviewed by the press and appeared on TV:

International Study Trip to Turkey

Visited the Stock Exchange (these were the old boards they used to use there!):

International Study Trip to Turkey

Busily wrote notes at the Ministry of Trade and Industry:

International Study Trip to Turkey

But also had plenty of time to visit mosques:

International Study Trip to TurkeyInternational Study Trip to Turkey

Partake in local cuisine:

International Study Trip to TurkeyInternational Study Trip to Turkey

 And sight-see:

International Study Trip to TurkeyInternational Study Trip to TurkeyInternational Study Trip to TurkeyInternational Study Trip to Turkey

And, if I could pick one snapshot that epitomized our trip, it’d be this — us in business suits, trying to figure out logistics, and Professor Agatstein in the background taking pics:

International Study Trip to Turkey

Professor Agatstein has created a website with a day-by-day blog of our activities there, his photos of the trip (and seriously, check out his photos, because he’s also an awesome photographer), and links to Sonny Johl and my blogs and Sonny’s photos (another great photographer) from the trip.

An amazing experience.  I loved every minute of it.  Even when the water was turned off in our hotel four times.  Or when the demolition of a building right outside our hotel started precisely at midnight each night.  Or after eating my umpteenth chicken kabob.  Because the people, the businesses, and the whole experience made for a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.