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Whitman students travel to Kenya for cultural immersion

Whitman students who participated in the 2022 Kenya Cultural Immersion had the opportunity to connect their class lessons to a real world environment.

Eager to experience the global economy, connect with global partners and learn about African customs and culture, 14 Whitman School of Management students were part of the school’s 2022 Kenya Cultural Immersion. The pilot immersion trip allowed students to connect class lessons and apply their knowledge in a real global environment.The travel team was able to navigate how to become a global manager and a better global citizen. rice field.

before immersion

In the 2021 spring semester, Assistant Professor Elizabeth Wimmer G’06 will share with the class her experiences from her travels to South Sudan and Africa, where she consulted and taught at a local elementary school. Wimer found this topic led to her one of the most interactive and dynamic weeks in her management class in a global environment. Through the stories and pictures she presented, students were able to relate what they were learning in class to what the concept of the course might look like in a less familiar part of the world.

“I thought that if there was that much energy in classroom discussions, there would be even more energy, excitement and expansion of learning if we could find a way to ground them in Africa,” says Weimer.

A few months later she was able to do just that. This trip has been approved for her Fall 2021 and the travel team has confirmed that she will arrive in Nairobi, Kenya in May 2022.

All students in Wimer’s class were given the opportunity to sign up for the Kenyan Cultural Immersion Experience at the beginning of the Spring 2022 term. To be selected as a member of the travel team, students had to apply and complete an interview process.

Once selected, the travel team prepared for the trip with a one-credit class at the Whitman School. Weimer had his three main goals for this course. It’s cultural education, team bonding, and logistics preparation.

“Professor Weimer prepared us in a class where we learned a lot about what to expect when we arrived in Kenya. We talked about greetings,” says Jared Dowling ’24. “I also learned a lot about cultural norms within the classroom.”

in the land of kenya

Dowling wanted to go to Kenya because he was interested in building global connections and immersing himself in a different culture. “Going abroad is one thing, but going abroad with a purpose is quite another. I wanted to make a tangible difference with my partner and the people I met on this trip,” he said. say.

While on the ground in Kenya, Dowling and the group were able to do just that: a week-long trip with a packed schedule that ended around 6am to 10pm. It wasn’t a vacation, Mr Wimer stressed. Every day was filled with opportunities to support partner organizations, communities and local refugees.

Most of the student’s time in Africa consisted of meetings with three global partners. Stacia Hiramine, Creative Communications Coordinator at Tirzah Bazaar. An international non-profit organization that works with artisan refugees to sell handmade goods. Child Discovery Center is a refuge and education center for orphaned and abandoned children in Nakuru, Kenya.

By connecting with these global partners, students were able to see first-hand how business works in other countries, especially those with fewer economic opportunities, lower levels of education, and limited infrastructure. rice field.

On a business panel led by Khanbhai, students were given the opportunity to brainstorm and share ideas to bridge the gap between the Global North and Global South relevant to their generation. Through the conversation, students were able to learn more about the entrepreneurial spirit they needed from a woman who shared stories about businesses she set up to feed herself and her family. Additionally, the travel team was able to meet local artisans and see workshops where Tirzah Bazaar products are made. From this visit, the students were inspired by stories of so many entrepreneurial dreams and aspirations that artisans had. I found that I valued learning immensely and used that skill as an entrepreneurial opportunity.

But it wasn’t all business. When not working, the group was able to experience some of Kenya’s sights: going on a safari drive, watching and participating in cultural drumming and dancing, tea tastings and a giraffe center. such as a visit to

return to usa

Offering such global opportunities, the Whitman School gives students the opportunity to understand what it is like to manage business operations across diverse cultures. Through these opportunities, students can use their education and experience to become global managers and change the world.

“What I learned in Whitman’s class was great and very helpful, but you can’t learn as much from textbooks as you can from experience,” says Isabella Simon ’24. “Going on this trip to Kenya and being prepared to understand other ways of life and then gaining first-hand perspective has allowed the world to become our classroom.”

The story of Anna Rooney, a third-year marketing management and finance student at the Whitman School