LU News Archive

facebook twitter Linkedin Email

Business studies in Rennes expand horizons

TurnerKay-Alana Turner, double major in management and Spanish, studied at the ESC Rennes School of Business in France during spring 2017. ESC Rennes is a semester-long exchange program offered through the Lamar University College of Business.

“Eventually, I would like to work abroad with a non-governmental organization, specifically focused on developing sustainable tourism, or in an embassy abroad,” said Turner, “so I saw this program as an opportunity for me to be in another country for a long period and work on my degree at the same time.”

Turner said the exchange program was a unique opportunity for her to make international connections.

“When I got there, I realized that there are people from about 22 different countries in the program,” said Turner, “Walking down the hall I would hear Chinese, French, and all kinds of different languages. I started to see it as more of an opportunity to network and a chance to gain a perspective of how people from different countries work.”

Turner in ParisThe diversity in students allowed her to learn about and adapt to new cultures.

“People from my program lived in the same student housing complex as me, so we could have study parties, and make food from our countries to share,” said Turner, “These small moments of cultural interaction were a part of learning itself.”

“A lot of our classes were group project based so you have to learn the working styles that are most prevalent in each culture,” said Turner, “You have to learn how to negotiate these working styles and cultural boundaries so you can come together and be productive without pulling each other's hair out.”

Turner in ParisCourses at ESC Rennes provided a global view of business and management.

“France has so many major businesses such as LVMH, which owns luxury brands like Louis Vuitton, Sephora and Dior, based in Paris,” said Turner, “It was really eye opening to see how many companies are there, the differences between French and American business people and the cultural context in which they negotiate and operate.”

She attended class five days a week and took advantage of free time exploring France and Spain. During the winter break, Turner traveled to Murcia to attend a World Tourism Organization conference on tech and tourism.

“Getting to go and actually be at a United Nations conference was a dream come true,” said Turner, “I got to learn about a company that’s working on virtual reality for tourism spots. They go to places like the coliseum and create a VR from a 3D map for use in classrooms all over the world.”

Living alone during the four-month trip was a focused time of self-reflection for Turner.

“The opportunity for self-growth isn’t the super advertised part of study abroad, but I feel that was the most important part that I took away from this,” said Turner, “I was really able to evaluate who I am apart from this small space of Southeast Texas, think through what I want to do with my life, and find out the options and capital I can take advantage of at Lamar.”

TurnerShe says that studying abroad is the most valuable experience a student can invest in.

“Understand what’s out there, experiencing independence and trusting yourself as a person and problem solver are what makes studying abroad important,” said Turner, “There’s a special component of learning about things at the location that they happened, rather than in the classroom.”

TurnerTurner is a Mirabeau Scholar and received financial support from the Carter Innovation Fund, which provides money specifically to business students studying abroad. The fund was established recently through the generosity of Nick Carter, chairman of Trecora Resources, to support internationalized education at LU. The fund supports eligible students with 80 percent of their study abroad expense through the Office of Study Abroad. She plans to continue her studies abroad by returning to Guatemala for her honors thesis.

Turner receives full support during her four years of undergraduate studies as a Lamar University Mirabeau Scholar, and credits the Carter Innovation Fund, LU’s Office of Study Abroad and the College of Business for making the semester exchange experience possible.