Studying Abroad on BRIC!
Greetings from New Delhi, India! As October comes to a close and Babson students prepare for the second half of their semester, I wanted to share my experiences from the Babson BRIC program. Babson BRIC is a semester-long program that takes a cohort of 20 to 25 students to Russia, India, and China to take an array of courses taught by Babson faculty.
Before getting to Babson, I knew I would want to spend a semester abroad. There are few opportunities like it—getting immersed in a culture, exploring the world, and enjoying experiences that I’d remember forever. Now, I’m lucky enough to be part of this year’s BRIC cohort, and my experience has been incredible.
Our first destination was Russia, where we learned about Russian literature and history, as well as today’s business environment. Seeing the links between the two firsthand was fascinating; we saw firsthand how a country’s past influences its present-day economy. Lectures and class discussion explored the depth of Russian history and the reasons behind the rise of the Soviet Union. Our second course showed us how the legacy of the Soviet Union continues in Russia today, the extent to which geopolitics and sanctions are truly affecting companies there, and what makes doing in business in Russia such a unique challenge. Not only did we see historical sites like the Hermitage and St. Isaac’s Cathedral, but we also got to experience cultural happenings like a night at the ballet and an afternoon at the banya (Russian bath house). After more than three weeks in St. Petersburg, we were off to Moscow, where we saw the Kremlin, Red Square, and took a bus tour of the city. After that, we were off to Shanghai, where we’d spend the next three weeks!
Shanghai was a totally different experience: the differences between China and Russia are vast. Our course was all about entrepreneurship and new ventures, which meant a lot of independent time exploring Shanghai, looking for opportunities that could become business ventures. Outside of class, we were introduced to traditional Chinese cuisine and got a chance to visit a smaller city called Nanchang. Shanghai’s home to some of the tallest buildings in the world—I was able to go to the tallest observatory deck at the Shanghai World Financial Center, and the view was incredible! After three weeks in Shanghai, we were off to Beijing and the Great Wall. The Great Wall was absolutely incredible, and the hike at sunrise was unforgettable!
After Beijing, we flew here to New Delhi, where we’re a week into our final country. From the top of the Great Wall to the front of the Taj Mahal, BRIC has brought me to so many incredible sites; shown me just how different these three BRIC countries are; and allowed me to make long-lasting connections with my peers in the cohort, professors, and alumni across three countries. I’m incredibly lucky to have such an opportunity, and it’s only made possible by the hard work of countless people back at Babson. I’ll be back in a few weeks with how everything finished up here in New Delhi and to share some lessons learned from my semester abroad.