When students file in for their Marketing 491 Travel Study class in Hyland Hall on Tuesday evenings, the chairs fill up quickly. Students talk excitedly about their upcoming trip to Belgium and the Netherlands. Instructors Sharon Roy and Curt Weber head to the front of the class to make the necessary arrangements for their student, Caleb, to join the class. A few touches on a keyboard and Caleb appears on screen from 1,500 miles away in Bermuda.
While having an international student in class isn't a novelty, having an international student taking a travel study class online "is rare," Roy said. Caleb Jn. Pierre, a 30-year-old policeman from Bermuda, joins the class through online video conferencing, though it's as if he's sitting right here with the others.
"He's very bright, very funny and has a great rapport with the class. We just love him," said Roy. "His knowledge of the world is different from the others in the class. He talks about his country's poverty or politics and it brings additional insight. He's a great participant in class."
Caleb graduated from Bermuda College with an associate degree in business administration and began to research his options to complete his bachelor's degree.
"Due to my unpredictable schedule as a police officer, I needed a program that would have flexibility," he said. "I also wanted a school that was accredited by the AACSB and was affordable."
John Lowell, a senior majoring in accounting, has had two classes with Caleb and has been impressed with his scope of knowledge. "He's extremely knowledgeable in every topic we have covered in class," Lowell said. "During class discussions, he's able to answer almost all of the questions before the professor can finish asking them."
On May 16, Caleb will join his 18 classmates at Chicago O'Hare International Airport for their journey to Belgium and the Netherlands. In addition to the historic tours of Amsterdam, the students will take classes at the Arnham Business School at HAN University and tour Europe's biggest port at Rotterdam. In Belgium, the class will gain first-hand knowledge of international business when they visit the European Union headquarters, NATO Headquarters and the European office of the International Monetary Fund.
Lowell, who will be Caleb's roommate for the nearly three weeks abroad said his roommate will be making another stop. "He told me he wants to go to Antwerp's famous diamond district and buy his wife a wedding ring."